The “Pageant For Models” Proclaims Beauty is Back
Promoting an audacious motto such as “Beauty Is Back” can be a daunting job within the Glamour Lifestyle Industry, but the Queen Beauty Universe Pageant not only encourages it, the system incorporated the ideals of its bold proclamation throughout the international pageant finals.
For the first time in history, Queen Beauty Universe, the “Pageant for Models,” was held in the United States, and of all places, in the modeling mecca, Miami, Florida. Before the event could showcase the thirty international models and delegates from around the world, several challenges were quickly addressed in an extremely short time frame.
Queen Beauty Universe has been perennially produced in Spain, but due to unforeseen circumstances, found itself in the unenviable position of postponing or even canceling the event. With many countries having already crowned their respective queens, decisions had to be made quickly and in the best interests of the brand. Due to the passion and belief in the Queen Beauty Universe brand, the United States directorship consisting of Thom and Tavit Brodeur-Kazanjian and team, purchased the company, assumed control of its operations, moved the international finals to the United States, and produced a world class event. This was not a decision for the weak of heart. With travel visa procurements, location confirmation, sponsorship acquisitions, staging, and all the other nuances of production needed, it was an intimidating feat. And this was all accomplished in the mere time frame of only six weeks!
After only six weeks of international preparation, the thirty women vying for the Queen Beauty Universe Pageant crown and the $50,000 in cash and prizes, began to arrive in Miami for a week of competition, beauty, and glamour. With numerous fittings, competitions, and special events, it was the week of a lifetime for many of these international delegates. Notwithstanding the compulsory competitions of Interview, Swimsuit, Runway, and Spokesmodel, everyone enjoyed the hospitality of Miami and its eclectic ambiance. The Queen Beauty Universe contestants and team were treated to a swimwear photo shoot and filming on the Miami River along with special V.I.P. treatment as guests of the ILOV305 Club in South Beach, owned by media mogul Pitbull, where they were treated to a performance by J. Severin Talent Management talent and Queen Beauty Universe finals’ performance artist Estacks.
Although the excitement of Miami and its veritable call to explore the multiculturalism it offers was enticing, the spotlight of the week was Queen Beauty Universe. Throughout the competition, there was a noticeable difference within the judging process. Whereas the majority of competitions isolate the contestants and their judges, Queen Beauty Universe promoted the opportunity for the judges to view the women off-stage as well as on-stage. Thusly, judges attended meals with the delegates, interacted with them during rehearsals, and even attended the special events throughout the week. It was an opportunity not seen often in the Glamour Lifestyle Industry, but one the young women and judges both welcomed.
Following the week of rehearsals, competitions, and special events, the moment everyone traveled to Miami for had arrived, the Queen Beauty Universe finals, streamed live from the Hyatt Regency & James L. Knight Center. As the attending live crowd of friends, family members, country directors, and pageant supporters filled the auditorium, the nervous energy was palpable with the impending arrival to the stage of the Miss Queen Beauty Universe delegates.
As the lights dimmed, the stage came alive with the special opening performance of Puerto Rican Hip Hop artist Estacks and his backup dancers from the award-winning NDC dance company. Estacks performed a remake of his YouTube release “No One” which garnered over 1.5 million views before and another 200,000 views since the pageant. With Estacks and NDC as the backdrop, the stage was set for Queen Beauty Universe and the contestants did not disappoint as they took center stage.
Stage lights flashing and music thumping like the kind you hear in a South Beach club, the Queen Beauty Universe representatives received an appreciative standing ovation as they took to the stage in the Parade of Nations introductions. There was overwhelming appreciation in the knowledge that for the first time in its eight years of existence, Queen Beauty Universe was being held within the United States and had been produced from beginning to finale in only six short weeks. What an accomplishment for both the delegates and the Queen Beauty Universe team.
With the audience still on its feet, the hosts of Queen Beauty Universe were welcomed to the stage, pageant emcees EVTV personality and Telemundo star Willie Martin, and to thunderous applause, Venezuelan model, actress and Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza. Then, on to the judges and who would be making the decisions as to whom would capture the crown of Queen Beauty Universe. An enviable collection of celebrities and pageant royalty consisting of Miss Universe 1992 Michelle McLean-Bailey; Miss USA 1989 and 2nd runner-up to Miss Universe Gretchen Polhemus-Jensen; Miss United States 2014 and 2nd runner-up Miss World Elizabeth Safrit; Venezuelan Brand Builder and Creative Director, Luis Serrano; Bravo TV star Kasey Cohen; Supermodel Kim Alexis, and Celebrity Fitness Expert & Trainer to the NFL’s New England Patriots Cheerleaders, Andy Berler. Which delegate had impressed her abilities to represent Queen Beauty Universe upon the judges? The answer would soon be revealed.
The moment everyone was anticipating had arrived with the announcement of the Top Ten finalists: QBU Guatemala Paulette Samayoa, QBU Spain Mara Rodriguez, QBU Iceland Sunneva Sif, QBU Argentina Brisa Yanet, QBU U.S. Virgin Islands Joane Jeffers, QBU Ukraine Anna Kostenko, QBU USA Alexia Rae Castillo, QBU Canada Kathryn Kohut, QBU Slovakia Katarina Talanova and QBU Czech Republic Lucie Janosova. One of these young ladies would soon be known as Queen Beauty Universe 2019.
The Top Ten, competing in alphabetical order, would complete the quest for the crown. It was only fitting this “Pageant for Models” would begin with Swimsuit. Next, it was time for the Spokesmodel competition with the delegates promoting the virtues of their home countries, replete in their National Costume attire. With these two competitions in the hands of the judges, the Top 10 would now be winnowed to a Top 5.
However, before the announcement of the Top 5, an extremely important and poignant award was bestowed, The Chelsi Smith Kindness Award. Unlike Miss Congeniality, which is voted upon by the winner’s peers, this award is voted upon by everyone: from the hair and makeup team, to chaperones, the pageant staff, the production crew, and by the hospitality teams from the host hotel and venue. Their vote reflects who they believed had the kindest demeanor and was the friendliest of the contestants. In actuality, over 20% of the contestants were within mere points of each other for this award. In honor and remembrance of Miss USA (where she won Miss Congeniality) and Miss Universe 1995 (where she also won Miss Congeniality) Chelsi Smith, her namesake award was presented to Queen Beauty Universe Costa Rica Nadia Flores.
Following this moving moment, the Top 5 finalists of Queen Beauty Universe 2019 were announced; QBU Czech Republic, QBU Iceland, QBU USA, QBU Canada, and QBU Spain. The Top 5 were ready for the final competitions and judges’ decision. The two final competitions consisted of a Q&A regarding the photographs displayed on the stage’s LED screens and an explanation of the accompanying video montage from the finalists’ in-person interviews conducted earlier in the week.
A lot had transpired in only six short weeks. An international pageant had been rebranded, moved to the United States, discovered a venue, gained the trust of the delegates, and produced a glamorous and professional event. All that awaited was the proclamation of the finalists: 4th runner-up Queen Beauty Universe Spain, 3rd runner-up Queen Beauty Universe Canada, and 2nd runner-up Queen Beauty Universe Czech Republic.
Finally, the last two models were standing center stage. With the announcement of the winner, Queen Beauty Universe USA captured 1st runner-up and Queen Beauty Iceland, the first Icelandic woman to capture an international title in over fifteen years, would now be forever recognized as Queen Beauty Universe 2019, Sunneva Sif.
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