Miss Universe during Trump Era: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Recalling the moments of Miss Universe during Trump Era

Miss Universe during Trump Era
Miss Universe 2009 Stefania Fernandez (L) of Venezuela stands with Miss Universe organization owner Donald Trump (C) and Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza of Venezuela after winning the crown during the annual pageant at Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas August 23, 2009.

‘No Publicity is negative publicity’

Pretty much this is what must have been the mantra of Donald Trump while he handled Miss Universe, or for the matter any business under him. Trump took over Miss Universe 1996 where it was under extreme trouble of having proper finances, as quoted by Trump once. The fame and the popularity grew for Miss Universe under him thereon, for one or the other reasons. At the same time, Miss Universe was also faced bad limelight for multiple reasons in recent years, especially after 2005. Now that Trump has sold his 100% stake to IMG/WME, our team summarised few points that were worthy noting which happened at Miss Universe during Trump Era. We tried focusing particularly on 3 things:

  • How Trump brought in positive changes to the pageant?
  • How Trump brought in negative changes to the pageant?
  • How Trump ruined the pageant’s reputation?

The Good at ‘Miss Universe during Trump Era’

Miss Universe during Trump Era
Zuleyka Rivera, Miss Universe 2006 of Puerto Rico during Swimsuit round
  • The aggressive competition factor came into the play: Previously, Miss Universe used to be little calm and cool looking from competition point of view. But after Trump took over, it became extremely competitive. The production value of the show went on to the highest levels. The elimination after every round brought in more and more suspense. We loved the fact that they had signature music for every round and activities for many years and now they have new music score since 2012 for all the rounds. We loved the semifinalists announcement and final looks music score used between 2004 to 2010. This brought in the uniformity.
Miss Universe during Trump Era
Miss Universe 2011 Contestants during Fadil Berisha Shoot
  • Perfect Format for Entertainment: Trump introduced various photo-shoots, video interviews and online streaming of preliminary shows. The fans now have more idea about girls and their selection looked more transparent. Previously, we had only random pictures to judge the girls but with photo-shoots like, head shots, Swimsuit shoots, evening gown shoots, we get way more idea about the girls.
Miss Universe during Trump Era
Rathi Menon of Singapore getting her hair done from Farouk Systems during Miss Universe 2014
  • Glamour Factor: As mentioned in previous point, the glamour factor came into play where the competition was not just between the girls but also their trainers, their wardrobe designers, their stylists. This introduced world the famous people like Barazza, Gioni Straccia, Sherri Hill etc. Also, the associations with BSC swimwears, Chinese Laundry shoes, Chi-Farouk System added another level of value altogether to the contest.

The Bad at ‘Miss Universe during Trump Era’

  • Removal of Preliminary Score and Finale Score: Miss Universe was known for its transparency as the scores were openly published during the live telecast for each judge. Even the preliminary scores went away after Trump took over. This used to promote an idea of fair play at Miss Universe where scores were always revealed. However, after scores were gone, it looked more of a fishy business where transparency was only seen in the finale of Miss Universe. Later on, the scores in finale as well went away, with few years being showcased.
Miss Universe during Trump Era
Miss Universe 1994 Top 10 delegates with Little Sisters
  • Removal of Little Sister Concept: It was extremely cute to see little sisters joining the delegates in evening gown round of finale. But it disappeared once the pageant was taken over by Trump. The idea got scrapped forever there on.
  • No more ‘Personality Interview’: This was probably the worst change in the format of the pageant. Personality interview used to give us a fair idea during finale about how calm and composed the girl is in front of the masses. It also gave a chance to the girls to convince judges on why they are the best to win. However, the interview portion was scrapped off since 2001 and only final question was asked for competition there onwards. This made the audience connect less with the girl on the basis of her personality. It became more of a beauty and less of a personality contest.

    The Ugly at ‘Miss Universe during Trump Era’

Miss Universe during Trump Era
Donald Trump meeting the delegates during Miss Universe 2010 for short-listing Trump Picks.
  • Introduction of Trump Picks: Trump meant business with beauty. And there was not much beauty in it. Some of the semifinalists were chosen based on his vested corporate interests, infamously known as the Trump card picks. These trump picks have robbed a gallon of noteworthy candidates who gave their all and were all, when it comes to a beauty pageant. Miss Universe under Trump will forever be notorious for these daylight robberies. We would not have mind if Trump was observing girls through out the pageant and picking up girls, in stead the girl gets to meet for a brief period and then Trump makes his choice. This is what was revealed by few contestants who represented their countries at Miss Universe in past.
Miss Universe during Trump Era
Miss Universe 2010 delegates selling Lemonade in Bikini
  • Degradation of Character of the Pageant: In 2010 the girls were asked to sell lemonade on the road in their bikini and few girls were also asked to pose topless for Fadil Berisha shoot. This could have been the worst nightmare for any pageant girl. Although there was  no compulsion for any girl to pose topless, but there would have been speculation among them that if they don’t pose, they might not place.

In 2002, Oxana Fedorova was sent to a show where she was asked extremely disgusting questions by the host, like does she feels pain while pissing, does she give blowjob to her boy friend, does she remove her pubic hair, when did she have sex last time. Seriously? How can you even allow someone ask such questions to the representative of your brand? No wonder she resigned from the title.

Miss Universe during Trump Era
Trump calling Paulina Vega “a Hypocrite” for criticizing him on comments about Mexican Immigrants
  • Miss Universe cum Miss Controversy:Trump is a smart business man and he knows how to stay in news, but at times it was too much. Trump ruined the legacy of the pageant by turning it into a business prospect. The fact that Trump was clearly inclining towards countries due to his corporate interests is substantiated by the recent scandalous remarks on Latin immigrants during his presidential campaign. If he has so much of venom towards these countries, why he heavily favoured Latin girls in MU, including a Mexican Miss Universe? There is a clear answer: pageant-crazed countries > higher TRPs > more profit. Trump’s corporate interests led to his inconsistent tie-ups with companies. One blot under this area is the changing MU crown. After Trump joined, the iconic, mammoth crown was replaced by new crowns which changed for four times. This is an ugly sign, considering the fact that a pageant is symbolized with its crown. We loved the Mikimoto crown, but after that was chucked, it was all a downhill business.Recent years venue of Miss Universe also proves how hard it became for Trump to get a decent host for the contest. He had to come back to USA again and again and most of the time the host delegate was not finalised or will keep changing till extreme. Trump openly called Paulina Vega, the reigning Miss Universe, as a hypocrite when she disagreed with his comments on Mexico. This shows a short-sighted vision of him as a leader. How can he blame his own winner on an open platform like that? This proves he cared less about Miss Universe when he had a bigger apple in his basket ‘The Presidential Election’.

If you had to rate Donald Trump on the scale of 1-10 as a leader of Miss Universe organisation, what score would you give him? Drop your opinion in comment section..!!!

Article by: Dipak Shahi

Points Input by: Lisbern Shawn, Shobin Krishna, Prathmesh Mrinal Sarkar.

Pictures Courtesy: Miss Universe