In 1952, a local “Bathing Beauty” competition that was named as “Miss Universe” by the media, was conquered by a Finnish young lady named Armi Helena Kuusela. All this started with a 17 year young lady winning the national beauty contest and was presented a trip to the USA to participate in the first ever Miss Universe pageant. The national contest award also included a box of chocolates and a gold bangle. Well the ticket to USA helped her making history. She grabbed the Miss Universe title defeating other 30 contestants from across the globe.
Soon after her victory, a Finnish movie was made on her; named “Maailman Kaunein Tytto” which means world’s most beautiful girl, where she played her own character. Isn’t it amazing? During her reigning period, in one of her journey round the world she met a Filipino business man, Virginia Hilario. They were strangers, they met through a blind date, became acquaintance, and fell in love. All this happened in Baguio, the summer capital of the Philippines.
She gave up her crown to marry the man and soon after a world tour the couple settled in Manila, Philippines where they had five children. Armi is also known as an adopted daughter of the Philippines. Armi and Hilario love story is immortalised in a movie named ‘Now and Forever’. After the death of Hilario, she remarried to an American diplomat and moved to Barcelona. In 2012 Armi was awarded the order of the white rose of Finland. At the age of 82 she is still active in charities.
Picture Credits: Bohol’s Roving Eye