And it’s going to be the best “Miss Universe ever.”
Twenty-two years since the last time Miss Universe was staged in the Philippines, the country has officially secured the right to host the world’s most prestigious beauty contest. The three-hour spectacle will be telecast live from the Mall of Asia Arena on Jan. 30 at 8 a.m.
During the press launch of the 65th Miss Universe at Makati Shangri-la, where the official contract signing between the Miss Universe Organization (MUO), Department of Tourism and pageant partners took place, former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis Chavit Singson told the press that the beauty contest is officially happening.
“Miss Universe is home,” Singson, who’s the key personality that made the Philippine hosting of the pageant possible, said after giving the audience a brief history of the country’s involvement in staging the pageant first in 1974 and then in 1994.
“Not only will this bring joy to the Filipinos with its pageantry, but is also expected to deliver incredible economic benefits through tourism, as we are given a platform to showcase our local attractions before half a billion Miss Universe fans worldwide,” he stressed.
Singson and his group, LSC Holdings, is the biggest investor in the event. According to the former governor, his group invested around $12.9 million to make sure Miss Universe in Manila pushes through.
“Our country has been trying very hard, waiting for so long for the chance to win the honor of hosting Miss Universe one more time. I am here to tell you tonight that the long wait is over,” Singson enthused.
But the road to the Philippine hosting of Miss Universe was not an easy one to take. Singson revealed that MUO cancelled the Manila event even if LSC Group has already made the full payment. The cancellation happened when President Rodrigo Duterte made a controversial remark late September that offended the Jewish community. The MUO is owned by WME-IMG, which is co-run by Ari Emanuel, a prominent figure in the Jewish community in America and A-list Hollywood talent agent Patrick Whitesell.
“There was a time that the staging of the pageant in Manila was canceled. I said, this can’t (sic) be since we have paid in full and we have already signed a contract. I just pleaded that they don’t announce it yet,” Singson shared.
And, just like a Steve Harvey brouhaha, the right to host the event is back with the Philippines again. Singson shared that it was actually the Jewish community that convinced the MUO to push through with the Manila hosting after the President apologized and made amends with the offended party.
Shawn McClain, vice president of business development and marketing of the Miss Universe Organization, during his speech, said that the payment has already been made even before the contract was signed thus making the Miss Universe Manila event “official.”
“We will have a team of about 400 people here, and we’re going to be visiting lots of different places, and we’re going to be showing the world what the Philippines has to offer. And we’re going to be helping boost tourism, and putting positive focus on everything that the Philippines is and stands for and will be in the future,” the MUO executive shared.
At the pageant’s official launch, it was announced that more pageant related updates will be made available on www.65thmissuniverse.com and Facebook page @MissUniverse65th, the pageant’s official website and social media account, respectively.
The Philippines is fielding Maxine Medina, a 25-year-old interior designer and model, in the 65th edition of the pageant. She will attempt to do a back-to-back win by succeeding Pia Wurtzbach, the third Filipina to win the Miss Universe crown after Gloria Diaz (1969) and Margie Moran (1973).