Miss Teen USA ditches 'iconic bikini round' after 34 years

Katherine Haik, Miss Teen USA 2015

The Miss Teen USA pageant will no longer feature a swimsuit competition for contestants ‘celebrate women’s strength and confidence’.

From swimwear to athletic wear

 Pageant reveals famous swimsuit round will be removed from competition as of 2016, instead of swimsuit 51 contestants from the 50 states including DC will instead wear athletic attire. Organizers announced the said change on Tuesday, June 28, 2016.

Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe pageant said, “This decision reflects an important cultural shift we’re all celebrating that empowers women who lead active, purposeful lives and encourage those in their communities to do the same. Our hope is that this decision will help all of Miss Teen USA's fans recognize these young women for the strong, inspiring individuals they are.”

Miss Teen USA 2000 contestants during the swimsuit round

The Miss Teen USA pageant which was founded in 1983 and  is run by the Miss Universe organization for girls aged 14-19. Unlike its sister pageants Miss Universe and Miss USA, which are broadcast on Fox, this pageant is webcast on the Miss Teen USA website and simulcast on Microsoft's Xbox Live service.

As reported by USA Today, reigning  Miss Teen USA, 15-year-old Katherine Haik, said that since she's a member of a softball team and a dance team she spend a lot of time wearing an athletic attire.

“This new direction for Miss Teen USA is a great way to celebrate the active lives that so many young women lead and set a strong example for our peers.”

Miss Teen USA 2015 Katherine Haik in her swimsuit during the Miss Teen USA 2015 swimsuit competition

It seems that change is coming with the new owner of the Miss Universe pageant since the organization has shifted to WME-IMG, the talent agency who purchased the pageant from Donald Trump in September last year.

The Miss Teen USA 2016 pageant will be on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Miss World 2016: Debuts and Returns

Miss World 2014 finals night
In 2013, Miss World hosted its record number of nations. 127 countries were on stage to compete in Bali, Megan Young of the Philippines reigned supreme. In the 65 years of its existence Miss World has hosted over 175 nations and territories, but haven’t quote touched every nation yet.

MWO is one step closer this year as two nations will debut at Miss World, and three countries will retun to the competition. So let’s find out about them!



Miss World Bangaldesh 2016

Bangladesh, east of India on the Bay of Bengal, is South Asian country of lush greenery and many waterways. Its Padma (Ganges), Meghna and Jamuna rivers create fertile alluvial plains, and travel by boat is common. On the southern coast, the Sundarbans, an enormous mangrove forest shared with India, are home to the Royal Bengal tiger.

Declaring independence in 1971, Bangladesh is the 8th most populous nation in the world, and a first time entrant into Miss World!

MWO is happy to announce that Miss Bangladesh will be with them this year! They have just launched their official website and content is still being worked on, so check back to it soon for more updates!


Miss World Rwanda 2016, Jolly Mutesi

Rwanda is one of the debutants nation of Miss World! One of the smallest nations in mainland Africa.

Rwanda is a landlocked East African country whose green, mountainous landscape has earned it the nickname “Land of a Thousand Hills.” Its renowned Volcanoes National Park is home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. Bordering Congo and Uganda, the park encompasses 4,507m-tall Mt. Karisimbi and 4 other forested volcanoes. Kigali, the nation's sprawling capital, has a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene.

With their contestant already elected, they are in full preparation mode for this year’s competition.


Cook Islands

Miss World Cook Islands - Natalia Short

It’s been 26 years since the Cook Islands last competed at Miss World, with 23 year old Angela Manarang representing the South Pacific Island chain in London at Miss World 1990. MWO is thrilled to welcome back this tiny nation with a big heart to the Miss World pageant! Natalia Short will represent the Cook Islands, and has been inducted as a “Red Cross Global Ambassador | Oceania Region” as part of her BWAP work.

Miss World Madagascar 2016 - Samantha Todivelou

Madagascar has one of the most unique and diverse ecosystems in the world, and is renowned for its breath taking nature. It’s great to have this ecologically unique nation represented at Miss World once more, returning for the first time since 2001. Samantha Todivelou will represent the island nation, and you can follow her journey to Miss World on her Facebook page.

St. Lucia

Miss World St Lucia 2016 - La Toya Moffat

It’s only been 6 years since St Lucia and last competed at Miss World. This tiny island in the Caribbean may have a population of less than 200,000, but they always produce a great contestant from this magical isle. They have just held their national final, with La Toya Moffat crowned as Miss World St Lucia.

Erin O'Flaherty: First openly gay woman competes for Miss America representing Missouri

"I'm on cloud nine really just to be Miss Missouri. I don't know that I intended to be the first (gay winner), but I am. So I'm very excited about it." Flaherty said.

O'Flaherty is pictured being crowned by 2015's Miss Missouri, McKensie Garber (back), and Miss Missouri's Outstanding Teen 2016, Christina Stratton (left)

23, Erin O'Flaherty, was crowned Miss Missouri on Saturday, June 18, 2016 becoming the first openly gay winner and the first such contestant of Miss America pageant in its 95-year history.

She originated from South Carolina, she was 18 when she came out as a gay. But she's not making her sexuality as the center of her campaign instead she is making a suicide awareness.

"My focus of my year isn't going to be that I'm gay, it's certainly a big part of who I am, and I will be promoting it and raising awareness for the LGBT community. But also there will be many appearances that I do that have nothing to do with that. And so I'm hoping that I can strike a really nice balance of staying true to the values of Miss Missouri and also being able to exercise my personal views."

O'Flaherty (center) is joined by runners-up (l-r) Brittany Sears (third runner-up), Audrain Jennifer Davis (first runner-up), Katie Moeller (second runner-up) and Mikaela Carson (fourth runner-up)

Although O'Flaherty is the first openly lesbian woman to make it into the Miss America pageant, she's not the first to try.

In 2012, Mollie Thomas was the first openly gay Miss California contestant, and in 2013 Analouisa Valencia tried to do the same for South Carolina, neither won their respective pageant.

MollieThomas and Analouisa Valencia 

In 2013, Patricia Yurena Rodriguez, who won the Miss Spain twice, 2008 and 2013 and came as first runner-up in Miss Universe 2013 came out as gay in 2014.

Miss Universe 2013 first runner-up, Patricia Rodriguez and her girlfriend Dj Vanessa Cortes

A spokesperson of the Miss America Organization confirmed that 'the newly crowned Miss Missouri, Erin O’Flaherty, is the first openly LGBTQ contestant to compete in the Miss America Competition.

"While past contestants have later identified as LGBTQ, we would like to honor and respect the privacy of our contestants’ personal lives. As always the Miss America Organization supports all women who are interested in joining the legendary competition."

O'Flaherty (pictured left, and also right with sister Justin) said she's 'on cloud nine' to be declared the winner in her state 

On Wednesday O'Flaherty signed in for the first time to the official Miss Missouri Twitter account. 'Hey there! Erin here, officially signing in as Miss MO 2016. So excited to serve this amazing state,' she enthused, also posting a photograph of her coronation.

Miss Great Britain stripped of her crown

Miss GB, Zara Holland
The reigning Miss Great Britain, Zara Holland, has been stripped of her title after having sex on ITV2 reality show Love Island.

Beauty pageant organisers said they had “no problem with sex” but said they could not condone Holland’s relationship with 24-year-old scaffolder Alex Bowen.

Wednesday’s episode of the show, watched by around a million viewers, featured the two in bed together and what one insider described as a “look of delight” on Bowen’s face.

“We pride ourselves on promoting the positivity of pageants in modern society and this includes the promotion of a strong, positive female role model in our winners,” they said.

“The feedback we have received from pageant insiders and members of the general public is such that we cannot promote Zara as a positive role model moving forward.

“We wholly understand that everyone makes mistakes, but Zara, as an ambassador for Miss Great Britain, simply did not uphold the responsibility expected of the title.” The statement the the organizers released with deep regret.

While Love Island presenter Caroline Flack criticised the decision. "What even is Miss GB? Are we living in the dark ages?”

Zara Holland, Miss GB stripped of her title

Betha Young, Miss New Mexico 1948 Finally Gets Her Crown

Betha Mount, Miss New Mexico 1948, waited nearly seven decades for this moment.

She was 22 when she won the pageant in 1948 -- but never received a crown nor her sash. Finally after almost seven decades she walked away with her crown and sash, but the proud crowning moment never happened.

According to the Miss America Organization Facebook page, it was due to the effects of the post-World War II depression. So, to rectify the situation, the current Miss America, Betty Cantrell, presented Young with her own crown and sash at an event in Albuquerque on Saturday.

Betha Young Miss New Mexico receives crown, sash 68 years later

Young told CNN affiliate KOAT that her sorority sisters at the University of New Mexico convinced her to enter the pageant all those years ago.

"I was sunbathing on top of the sorority house and they said I should do it. And so I said I would." She still remembers the shock she felt when her name was called: "I was quite surprised because I thought some of the other girls really wanted to win."

Betha Young, Miss New Mexico 1948

Thi Dieu Ngoc was crowned Miss World Vietnam

Thi Dieu Ngoc, Miss World Vietnam 2016

Thi Dieu Ngoc was crowned Miss World Vietnam by outgoing queen Trần Ngọc Lan Khuê on June 8, 2016. She will represent her country at the the Miss World 2016 pageant this year. According to the franchise holder, Miss Supranational Vietnam 2016 and Miss Tourism Vietnam 2016 will be announced later.

Miss Vietnam is the first nationwide beauty contest after the unification of Viet Nam. The contest was initiated and organized by Tien Phong newspaper, called “Miss Tien Phong newspaper”, starting from 1988 and is held every 2 years. The first person to hold the title is Bui Bich Phuong.

Thi Dieu Ngoc,, Miss World Vietnam 2016

Karin Alis, Yam Kaspers Ashel; Miss Israel World and Universe

Karin Alia, Miss World Israel 2016

Karin Alia was crowned Miss Israel 2016 on June 6, 2016.  She will be reprsenting Israel at Miss World 2016 pageant. Her first runner-up, Yam Kaspers Ashel, will compete at Miss Universe 2016.

Karin was 18, from Kiryat Gat, is a senior majoring Arts, where she is studying dance and communication.

Yam Kaspers Ashel, Miss Universe Israel 2016

The Miss Israel has handled Miss Universe and Miss World since 1952 and made the International Grand Winners; Rina Messinger (Miss Israel 1976), Miss Universe 1976 and Linor Abargil (Miss Israel 1998), Miss World 1998.

Myat Thiri Lwin crowned Miss World Myanmar

Myat Thiri Lwin, Miss World Myanmar

 17-year old Myat Thiri Lwin was crowned Miss World Myanmar 2016 during the gala event held at the Gandamar Grand Ballroom in Yangon on June 4th, and televised live through Channel 7. Lwin will now represent the Golden Land of Myanmar during the Miss World 2016 finals later this year.

The runner-ups were M Ja Seng, who competed in Miss Grand International 2014 and La Yate Pyar. Poe Sandar Khin and Shwe Eain Si completed the top 5.

The rest of the Top 10 included Htun Pearl Yadanar, Lei Yamin Oo, Shun Yamon, 
Thadar Mariah and Ni Ni Min Thu.

Deshauna Barber: Who is she and what do we know about the 26-year-old beauty-pageant royalty?

First Lieutenant Deshauna Barber, Miss USA 2016

On Sunday night, June 5 District of Columbia's Deshauna Barber was crowned Miss USA 2016 besting 51 other candidates. Her win marks the first time in 14 years and the third that a Miss D.C. has taken home the crown.

She just sealed the deal after nailing the final question, "Define CONFIDENTLY BEAUTIFUL", which she eloquently answered. "To me confidently beautiful means understanding its not always about your appearance. It’s not always about who you are around and how they feel you look, where they feel you come from or your economic background. Serving in the military has taught me that being confidently beautiful is about being able to earn respect from people regardless of what you look like. As a woman in the military, people associate beauty with weakness and they learn very quickly that I’m extremely strong, and though I’m small, I’m powerful. Confidently beautiful is being myself and being very happy with who I’ve become."

Aside from her amazing performance that night, what else do we know about her?

Miss USA Class of 2016

Miss USA 2016 and First Lieutenant Deshauna Barber was born in Columbus, Georgia. And because of her father's military career she relocated multiple times to states including North Carolina, Nebraska, Minnesota and Woodbridge, Virginia where she finished high school.

She grauduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Virginia State University where she received her Reserve Officers' Training Corps  Commision as a 2nd lieutenant in the US Army Quartermaster Corps.

She held a position of Platoon Leader and Executive officer for the 1015th Quartermaster Company prior to her selection as a unit commander for the 988th Quartermaster (Petroleum Lab) Detachment.

She is a graduate of the Quartermaster Basic Officer Leadership Course and Malfunctional Logistics Captains Career Course. Now, she is currently enrolled in the University of Maryland University College where she is pursuing her Masters of Science degree in Information System and Services.

She resides in Washington D.C and is employed by the Department of Commerce as an IT Business Analysts for the Acquisitions Systems Department.

Kayley Mifsud crowned Miss Gibraltar 2016

Miss Gibraltar 2016 winners

Kayley Mifsud, a 23-year old aspiring Health and Safety advisor, was crowned Miss Gibraltar 2016 at the end of the annual gala held at the John Mackintosh Hall.

Mifsud, who bested 8 other contestants for the title, was visibly surprised with her victory, and wants to continue the her work as raising funds for Calpe House, a facility in the United Kingdom where Gibraltar residents can obtain proper medical treatment.

Kayley Mifsud, Miss Gibraltar 2016

She will now represent Gibraltar at the Miss World 2016 finals later this year, where she will try to follow the footsteps of Kaiane Aldorino, Miss World 2009.

The 1st runner-up was Joseanne Barr, 23-year old law student who will travel to Tokyo (Japan) to compete for the Miss International 2016 title in October; and the 2nd runner-up is Aicha Ben Yahya, a 23-year old yoga enthusiast and clerk who will compete in the Miss Supranational 2016 pageant in Poland next December.

Fayetteville Native wins Miss USA 2016

Deshauna Barber of District of Columbia was crowned Miss USA 2016. 

Deshauna Barber, Miss USA 2016

"I guess I like to think of myself as being able to break the mold for pageant girls all around the world and for military soldiers all around the world. I'm being able to say that no one pageant girl does the same thing or has the same background. That we can be feminine,we can be in beauty contests, we can be models. So there's stereotyoes on both sides that I feel like I'm breaking by even being here and being able to compete for Miss USA" Barber, said.

Miss USA 2016, Deshauna Barber

After 14 years, D.C took home the crown. 26-year-old IT analyst and Army Commander for Logistics, Deshauna Barber, bested 51 other contestants on Sunday night. She graduated from Virginia State University, she joined the military when she was 17. The Barber family, both parents and children served in the military too.

She was asked by  Joe Zee, “The Pentagon recently made the decision to open up all combat jobs to women, now, some have questioned whether this has put political correctness over our military’s ability to perform at the highest level. What are your thoughts?” Where Barber responded: "As a woman in the United States Army, I think it was an amazing job by our government to allow women to integrate into every branch of the military. We are just as tough as men. As a commander of my unit, I'm powerful, I am dedicated and it is important that we recognize that gender does not limit us in the United States."

While she is fighting for the crown, her mom is also battling with a lung cancer for the past 2 years but it didn't stop her mum to cheer for her. Now, she will go on to compete for the Miss Universe 2016 pageant later this year.

An emotional Barber being crowned by Miss USA 2015, Olivia Jordan

States of Hawaii and Georgia were the 1st and 2nd runners-up, respectively. Completing the top 5 were; Miss California and Miss Alabama. 

The rest of the Top 10 were Miss Arkansas Abby Floyd, Miss Connecticut Tiffany Teixeira, Miss Missouri Sydnee Stottlemyre, Miss South Dakota Madison McKeown, Miss Virginia Desi Williams.

Miss Arizona Chelsea Myers, Miss Ohio Megan Wise, Miss Oklahoma Taylor Gorton, Miss South Carolina Leah Lawson and Miss West Virginia Nichole Greene completed the Top 15.

Miss USA 2016: Power Rankings

52 beautiful women will battle it all out for the 2016 Miss USA pageant on the 5th of June at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. But only one will walk away with the crown and will have the chance of a lifetime to compete in the Miss Universe pageant representing the US.

You may have all seen these equally gorgeous women walked on stage with elegance during the prelims but for us only 15 of them stood out! So, here's our Miss USA 2016 Power Rankings!

Topping our list is Kate Redeker of Wisconsin. There's something special about this girl and we have seen it through her confidence, the winning aura and elegance! Versatility and variety are important in winning a pageant and we think Kate got a pretty good shot with those two. Following next to her is Miss52 USA, Alexandra Miller. Having been chosen via public votes made her an instant favorite but it doesn't end there because Alex prove her worth as the fifty-second contestant by rocking the stage during the preliminaries. We are supposed to place her on top but we aren't ready to gamble on her.  Should she win,  she deserves it. Placing 3rd is Colorado's Caley-Rae Pavillard,  effortlessly beautiful,  she doesn't need too much make-up to be noticed 'coz she's got the "it" factor. Completing our final 5 are,  Goergia's Emanni Davis and Ohio's Megan Wise. 

Completing our top 15 are the states of; Texas,  Hawaii,  Virginia,  Arizona,  South Dakota,  Iowa,  Kansas,  New York,  Michigan and California. 

Cassandra McDonald wins Mutya ng Australia 2016

Mutya ng Australia 2016, Cassandra McDonald

Cassandra McDonald was crowned Mutya ng Australia 2016 last night. She will represent the overseas community of Australia in Mutya ng Pilipinas 2016 pageant in Manila, Philippines. Last year, she also competed in Miss Pancontinental pageant held in Cagayan de Oro and Manila, Philippines where she finished first runner-up to Maria Ho of Vietnam.

Lynette Bradford was declared as Mutya ng Melbourne. Bradford will also compete in the Mutya ng Pilipinas pageant along with McDonald.

The winners of Mutya ng Australia 2016 pageant

McDonald took the Best in swimsuit, Promotion queen and Online popularity queen awards, while Bradford was awarded best in Ethnic attire, Best in Filipino costume, and Best in Evening gown. 

Vanessa Skrypczak and Chantal Karaliamis were declared as the first and second runners-up, respectively. The two ladies took some special awards as well. Skrypczak hailed as Miss Friendship and Best in Talent. Karaliamis got the Miss Photogenic award.

Last year, Mutya ng Australia Nina Robertson was crowned as Mutya ng Overseas while Mutya ng Melbourne Shannon Bridgman finished as semi finalist during the Mutya ng Pilipinas 2015 pageant held at Resorts World Manila.

Mutya ng Australia is a beauty pageant for young Filipinas in Australia produced by the Face of Australia. 

Lindita Idrizi wins Miss Universe Albania 2016

Lindita Idriz, Miss Universe Albania 2016

Lindita Idrizi was crowned Miss Universe Albania at the end of the pageant on June 2, 2016. This year a total of 28 contestants competed for the title. Lindita Idrizi will have the opportunity to represent her country at Miss Universe 2016 later this year.

Lindita Idriz

Previously Lindita won the Miss Europe Intercontinental Contest in 2015. She stands tall at 180cm and currently works as a professional model.

Lindita Idriz, when she was crowned Miss Europe Intercontinental 2015

Full results: 

Miss Universe Albania 2016 is Linda Idrizi
Miss World Albania 2016 is Endrra Kovaci
Third place: Kosovare Neziri

Miss USA 2016: Meet the Latinas vying for the Miss USA crown

Two Latinas are vying for the Miss USA 2016 crown and representing the states of California and Texas.

The Miss USA 2016 finals will be on Sunday, 5th of June. Out of 52 contestants vying for the crown are 2 latinas in the mix. Nadia Mejia of California and Daniella Rodriguez are all of Hispanic heitage. These two are born and raised in the US.

Let's get to know them.

Miss California, Nadia Grace Mejia

Miss California USA 2016 Nadia Mejia is representing California in the Miss USA 2016 beauty pageant. 

Nadia Grace Mejia is a 20-year-old full time model born and raised in California and currently lives in Huntington Beach. She has traveled the world for her modeling career and has worked for brands such as Nordstrom, Ulta, Reef, PacSun, JC Penny, Asos and many more. She is a worship leader at the Angelus Temple Dream Center in Los Angeles and sings for more than 3,000 people at four services a week. Nadia is a spokesperson for the National Eating Disorder Association, spreading the message to "Love the skin you're in" nationwide, sharing her own personal experience of suffering from Anorexia. Her main goal is to one day open up a Latin American-Mediterranean Fusion restaurant which will enable her to embrace her ethnicity of being Ecuadorean and Lebanese. Nadia's mother was a former Miss USA contestant in 1989 representing the state of West Virginia and her father was a one hit wonder in the 90's, also known as "Rico Suave."

Miss Texas, Daniella Rodriguez

Miss Texas USA 2016 Daniella Rodriguez is representing Texas in the Miss USA 2016 beauty pageant.
Daniella Rodriguez is majoring in Teaching at Texas A&M International University. After earning her bachelors degree, she intends to secure a masters degree in school counseling. Judging from her resume, however, Daniella’s talents could take her in a direction more in keeping with her love of the spotlight. With good reason, she considers acting to be her greatest talent. She began acting as a child, has attended acting camps, and has appeared in independent films for the University of Texas. So it is no surprise that her dream job is to become a successful actress. For now, Daniella’s daily life largely centers on her family. She works with her parents at their family-owned businesses. For recreation, they take trips to their ranch or to the lake, where she enjoys riding four wheelers and jet skiing. Daniella looks forward to one day being in the position to repay her parents for all the sacrifices they have made on her behalf.

The preliminary competition took place on Wednesday, June 1, 52 contestants competed in swimwear and evening gowns. 

The Miss USA 2016 will be hosted by Julianne Hough and Terrence Jenkins. Both will be joined by Ashley Graham from backstage that will have the inside scoop and all the drama from behind the scenes. Musical performances will be made possible by Chris Young and Backstreet Boys. Judges for the telecast are Ali Landry, Crystle Stewart, Joe Zee and Laura Brown. Miss USA 2016 will air live from Las Vegas starting at 7pm ET on the FOX network.

Source: Miss USA

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