Formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union, CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) is an international organization consists of countries which were part of the former Soviet Republics, once competed during the Miss Universe Pageant in 1992. Lidia Kuborskaya is the only known Miss CIS in the Miss Universe Pageant
There were 38 Miss Austrias in Miss Universe and it even sent candidates 32 years straight from 1959 to 1990 with highest placement by Eva Maria Düringer, first runner up to Janelle Commissiong in 1977, Elizabeth Hodacs in 1960 who was 2nd runner up, a Miss Photogenic award with Karin Schmidt in 1965 and 3 finalists. The most famous Miss Austria would probably be Eva Rueber-Staier, who was a finalist in Miss Universe 1969 and was picked among the top 10 best in swimsuit, and was an eventual Miss World later that year. She became a James Bond actress and had appeared in 3 James Bond movies.
As we come to think that Iraq would have never competed at any international beauty pageant, there was indeed the first and only Miss Iraq in Miss Universe and the only Miss Iraq to ever compete at a big 4 pageant. The beautiful Wijdan Burhan El-Deen Sulyman competed in Miss Universe 1972 in Dorado Puerto Rico, the year where there were widespread fear on terrorist attacks that even caused Georgina Rizk, the outgoing Miss Universe, to not attend the pageant along with Miss Lebanon that year.
Dahomey, now known as Benin, was once a colony of France and had its only candidate to Miss Universe in 1962, Gilette Hazoume. However, she was sick during preliminary competition and did not compete in it but was present on stage during the pageant night.
Cuba had 14 Misses in Miss Universe. Marcia Rodríguez placed in the top 15 in 1956 and third runner up the following year with María Rosa Gamio Fernández. It stopped sending girls to beauty pageants in 1967 as it was restricted in communist policy of Cuba.
Six Miss Okinawa once graced the Miss Universe Stage in the 60s (1963 to 1968). Okinawa was under the United States administration from 1945 to 1972 and is now a known prefecture of Japan.
This country in Oceania sent 10 candidates to Miss Universe from 1976 to 1986. Jennifer Abaiyjah, Miss Papua New Guinea in 1981 withdrew from the competition.
Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in the southern part of Africa existed in 1953 to 1963 now split into countries of Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The only Miss Rhodesia to walk the Miss Universe stage is Jonee Sierra in 1961.
There were 38 Miss Hong Kongs at Miss Universe with Virginia Lee as its highest placement in 1954 when she became 2nd runner up and in 1988 with Pauline Yeung who was 4th runner up in the year when Miss Universe was held in Taipei. Hong Kong now competes at The Miss China Universe Pageant since 2002 as it now is a Special Administrative Regions of the People’s Republic of China.
Tunisia had 7 Misses at Miss Universe. Zohra Boufaden was Miss Congeniality in 1969. Here we see Aida Mzali with Georgina Rizk, the eventual Miss Universe, smoking in swimsuits.
Helen Giatanapoulus is the only Miss Jordan to join Miss Universe. She participated in 1960. This is another case of the contest being banned in a country and Jordan hasn’t sent any representatives since.
Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, had 8 Misses to the Miss Universe Pageant. Pageant favorite Benita Mureka was 2nd runner up to Deborah Carthy-Deu in 1985 and the next year Likobe Dobala was in the top 10. Ombayi Mukuta in 1972 won the Miss Congeniality award.
St. Maarten, though geographically connected to St. Martin which also competed at Miss Universe in 2000 and 2006, are different island countries. This island at the Netherland Antilles had representatives to Miss Universe in 1976, 1977, 1980 and 1982.
Christine Spooner is the only Miss New Hebrides. She was a contestant in Miss Universe 1978. New Hebrides was a colonial name for a group of islands in the South Pacific and is now known as Vanuatu.
Zimbabwe sent its representatives to Miss Universe in 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2001; with its only placement with Corinne Crewe who were among the top 10 semifinalists in 2000.
Four Misses of Czechoslovakia competed in Miss Universe, placing the semifinals twice; Now split into Czech Republic and Slovak Republic in 1993 and were both represented in the Miss Universe Pageant thereafter. Jana Hronkova placed in the top 10 during Miss Universe Pageant in 1990
Ceylon is actually the former English name given by Brits to Sri Lanka during the British occupation. There were 12 Misses that wore the Ceylon sash at the Miss Universe Pageant and had then used Sri Lanka since 1974 after it was renamed. Maureen Hingert, Miss Ceylon in 1955 was 2nd runner up to the late Hillevi Rombin of Sweden. Shiranthi Wickremesinghe, Miss Ceylon 1973 became the first lady of Sri Lanka marrying the sixth President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa.
From the republics of Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro was represented 3 times from 2003 to 2006. These republics split in 2006 and was represented at the Miss Universe independently and from Serbia, a disputed territory Kosovo rose and have been represented to the pageant since 2008. Sanja Papic is 3rd runner up in Miss Universe 2003 and is the best and the only placement of Serbia and Montenegro
Greenland, the world’s largest island in terms of its area, sent candidates to the Miss Universe Pageant from 1987 to 1990.
Morocco had one finalist to the Miss Universe Pageant, Jacqueline Bonilla, its very first Miss placed among the top 15 candidates in 1957. It had sent 7 more candidates from the 60s to the late 70s but was stopped since the pageant was banned.
One of the richest country in the world for its opulent iron and steel industry, Luxembourg sent 27 Misses to Miss Universe by the end of the 50s to the 90s, but there hadn’t been any placement for this rich European country.
Perhaps we will never see another Miss Taiwan who had a 3rd runner placement in 1962 with Helen Liu and a 4th runner up placement in 1964 with Lana Yi Yu, because the last time its representative Chen Szu-yu tried to register as Miss Taiwan representative in the Miss Universe Pageant in 2003, an intrusion was made by the Chinese authorities and Chen was ordered to wear a Chinese Taipei sash instead of Taiwan. Miss Universe organizers however, allowed Chen to wear the Taiwan sash while off stage and so Chen had 2 sashes that year. Taiwan had 18 Misses sent to Miss Universe.
Also known as Myanmar, Burma had 3 representatives sent to Miss Universe from 1959 to 1961. In 1960, its candidate Myint Myint May won the Miss Congeniality Award sharing this with Miss Louisiana, Judy Rebecca Fletcher since Miss USA and Miss Universe were held together and both the candidates from these pageants were eligible to receive special awards. Burma also prohibited sending reps to the Miss Universe Pageant.
Now Samoa in the South Pacific Ocean, there were 6 Miss Western Samoas in the Miss Universe Pageant from 1981 to 1986.
There were 10 Miss Bonaires to the Miss Universe Pageant. It sent girls in the late 60s to the 90s with its last representative in 1999. The Leeward Antilles’ ABC islands -Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, would have had 3 years of straight placement with Taryn Mansell of Aruba placing in 1996, Verna Vasquez of Curacao placing in 1997 and Uzmin Everts of Bonaire in 1998, had she placed in the top 10 that year. Everts was one of the heavy favorites to win the Miss Universe crown in Hawaii but failed to make the cut.
The Kingdom of Swaziland, in southern Africa, sent two candidates for Miss Universe, in 1993 and 1994.
Suriname had 22 women sent to Miss Universe. Its first representative Gertrud Gummels, placed in the top 15 in 1958. It had competed as Surinam til 1982 and had used Suriname thereafter.
There were 10 Miss Cook Islands in Miss Universe from the 1980s to the late 90s. This one happy Māori island hasn’t sent any candidate to the pageant after 1999.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics also known as the Soviet Union. It competed as Miss Soviet Union in 1990 and Miss USSR in 1991. This socialist state of the Euro-Asian existed from 1922 to 1991. The USSR split into countries like Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania that have been represented in the Miss Universe Pageant from then on. Yulia Lemigova was 2nd runner up during 1991 Miss Universe.
The West Indies was consists of various islands in the Caribbean that were once colonies of the United Kingdom that included Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica and Barbados. There had been three representatives of the West Indies, in 1954 as Kingston, Jamaica and in 1955 and 1958 as Port of Spain, Trinidad
Margaret Rose Cools Lartigue represented this Caribbean Island Nation during Miss Universe 1985 in Florida.
Christine Hughes is the only Miss Grenada in Miss Universe. She represented her Caribbean Island country in Miami Beach Florida in 1964
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was represented 15 times in Miss Universe and had 3 semifinalists. Yugoslavia was riven in 1992 and it is where its former member states Slovenia and Croatia are and are now sending candidates to the Miss Universe Pageant. Miss Yugoslavia however, came back in 2001 and in 2002 as the new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and renamed Serbia and Montenegro which was represented the following year. Daliborka Stojšić is the first Yugoslav semifinalist in Miss Universe 1968 and Natasha Pavlovich was top 10 during Miss Universe 1991.
There were Miss Gambias from 1983 to 1986 and Abbey Scattrel Janneh, the first Miss Gambia Miss Universe, won the Miss Congeniality award in 1983.
Bermuda had 27 Misses sent to the Miss Universe Pageant with highest placements made by Gina Swainson who was first runner up to Maritza in 1979 and then Miss World in the same year. Margaret Hill was also Miss Photogenic in 1970.
The gate to the Mediterranean, Gibraltar sent 8 representatives to Miss Universe in the 80s and 1990. Jessica Palao was Miss Congeniality in the 1984 Pageant.
Holland is a region in the western part of the Netherlands. Holland is generally used to refer to the whole of the Netherlands but its usage was disliked by its Dutch population. Holland was renamed to Netherlands starting in 1991 and just after the name change, the first woman to wear Miss Netherlands sash, Paulien Huizinga became first runner up that year. There were 34 Miss Hollands, first in 1956 and from 1958 to 1990 and just before its name was changed, Angela Visser became Miss Universe in 1989. Miss Hollands in Miss Universe had photogenic awards in 1958 and 1985 and even a best national costume award in 1964.
Guadeloupe, an overseas region of France in the Caribbean was first represented in the Miss Universe Pageant in 1977. It had 6 Misses in total, and was represented in the 80s from 1980 to 1984.
Martinique, an island in the Caribbean Sea which is an overseas region of France, debuted in the Miss Universe Pageant in 1957, the first of the French overseas region to be represented at the Miss Universe Pageant. It had four Misses in the 80s from 1981 to 1984.
New Caledonia was a French overseas territory in the Pacific and had one Miss during the 1982 Miss Universe Pageant, the beautiful and light-eyed Lenka Topalovitch.
The French Island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean was represented ten times in the Miss Universe Pageant, the most number of Misses sent to Miss Universe of a French Territory. No placements however was ever recorded by its candidates from 1977 to 1986.
Tahiti is the most known island of the French Polynesia, an overseas country of the French Republic and have placed two consecutive years, 1980 and 1981 during the Miss Universe Pageant making it to top 12 and the only French country/ territory to place Miss Universe. There were seven Miss Tahitis in Miss Universe, 1962 as its debut and from the years 1977 to 1981 and 1985. Since 1987, girls from the Overseas Territories, Departments and Regions of France, like Tahiti, Reunion, New Caledonia, Martinique and Guadeloupe can only compete at the National Pageant of France before they can earn the right to represent France at the Miss Universe Pageant. Tatiana Teraiamano, a young Tyra Banks dead ringer, was top 12 semifinalist during the 1981 Miss Universe Pageant
Alaska has been represented at the Miss Universe Pageant from 1952 to 1958 with it highest placement in the top 15 in 1957 with Martha Lehmann. Alaska was an organized incorporated territory of the US but was admitted to the Union that made it a US state since 1959. Succeeding Miss Alaskas have competed to the Miss USA Pageant since then.
Bophuthatswana has always been a part of South Africa but was once a territory set aside for its black inhabitants by the Apartheid system. It is now reintegrated to South Africa since 1994, and Alina Moeketse is the only known Miss Bophuthatswana in Miss Universe who competed in 1979.
There had been 4 Miss Transkeis in Miss Universe. It sent candidates in 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1983. Transkei is in the southeastern region of South Africa segregated for its black denizens as part of the Apartheid policy and has been reintegrated also in 1994.
The island country of Fiji once walked the Miss Universe stage in 1979 and 1981.
Miss Latvia sent candidates in 2005 and 2006. The Barbie-like Ieva Kokorevica placed in the top 10 in 2005 and was actually one of the favorites that year.
This country in West Africa sent representatives to the Miss Universe Pageant from 1974 to 1977.
Maltese women graced the Miss Universe stage 33 years straight from 1968 to 2001 but no one has ever made the cut in the pageant’s history.
There had been 5 Miss Hawaiis in Miss Universe in the years 1925, 1953, 1957, 1958 and 1959. The first ever Miss Hawaii to The Miss Universe Pageant was the first ever Miss Universe First Runner-Up when Elza Kananionapua Edsman placed second to Armi Helena Kuusela in 1952, while Geri Hoo was 2nd runner up to Luz Marina Zuluaga of Colombia in 1958. Hawaii was also an organized incorporated territory of the US until 1959 when it was declared the 50th state of the USA. It has then started sending its reps to the Miss USA Pageant the following year. In 1997, Brook Antoinette Mahealani Lee represented Hawaii at the Miss USA Pageant where she had to win in order to represent the USA prior to winning the title of Miss Universe.
This African nation in West Africa sent representatives to the Miss Universe Pageant in 1974, 1985 and 1987.
More formally known as Saint Christopher Island, Saint Kitts had two candidates to Miss Universe, 1977 and 1979.
England is a constituent country of the United Kingdom and was first represented as Miss Great Britain at the very first Miss Universe Pageant in 1952. Back in the day, England is a Miss Universe Powerhouse country. Out of its 36 Misses from 1955 to 1990, they had 10 finalists, two 4th runners up, three 3rd runners up and 2nd runners up, and a first runner up, Brenda Blacker in 1964 who gave England its highest placement at the Miss Universe Pageant. Susan Pratt however, wasn’t able to compete on stage in 1963 when she was hit by a car along with her escort while crossing a street on her first night in Miami for the Miss Universe competition. She was released from hospital just before the pageant and had appeared at the pageant seated on a chair on the stage during the final night. England also had 5 Miss Photogenic awards with Kim Carlton winning the Best National Costume at the same time in 1962 and its first representative Margaret Rowe was Most Popular Girl in Parade.
There is just one Miss Lesotho at the Miss Universe Pageant. This neighbor country of South Africa had Joan Libuseng Khoali representing her country in Acapulco Mexico in 1978.
In 1995, the island country of Seychelles had its one and only representative to the Miss Universe Pageant. Maria Payet competed in Windhoek Namibia in 1995.
Cote d’Ivoire or Ivory Caost in West Africa was represented once in 1986 in Panama City. Marie Francoise Kouame was Miss Ivory Coast in that year.
Scotland sent 29 Misses to the Miss Universe Pageant from 1961 to 1990, skipping 1987. Its first representative Susan Jones, in 1961 paced among the 15 finalist and it did fairly well in the late 70’s placing 3rd runner up in 1976 with Carol Jean Grant, 2nd runner up the following year with Sandra Bell, top 12 with Lorraine Davidson in 1979 and its last and highest placement with Linda Gallagher in 1980. This constituent country of the UK, along with Wales and England went on being represented as Miss United Kingdom and Great Britain which started in 1991.
French Guiana, an overseas region of France on the north Atlantic coast of South America, had 3 misses in Miss Universe, 1977, 1983 and 1984.
Elena Delunger Tomokane is the only Miss Micronesia in Miss Universe. She competed in San Salvador in 1975
This island country in the Indian Ocean had Jacqueline Robertson compete in 1961 and is the only known Miss Madagascar in Miss Universe.
The had been 30 Miss Wales in the Miss Universe Pageant, from 1961 to 1990. Its first representative in Miss Universe Rosemarie Frankland was 1st runner up to Marlene Schmidt of Germany in 1961. She then later on won Miss United Kingdom and represented UK at the Miss World Pageant in 1961 where she eventually won. She shared the same fate with Helen Elizabeth Morgan who was also first runner up in Miss Universe in 1974 and also winning the Miss United Kingdom then the Miss World crown in 1974 but Helen resigned 4 days after being crowned Miss World when it was found out she had an 18 month old son. Wales also had a 2nd runner up, Sian Helen Adey-Jones in 1976 , a finalist and a Congeniality award.
As much as we have lost many countries that compete in this pageant, we all hope to see other nations participating in the future. After all, Miss Universe is one of the most celebrated beauty pageants of our time. In my opinion, beauty pageants are not always about who is the fairest of the candidates or who ends up walking away with the crown. Beauty Pageants are also about making other countries and territories known to its viewers and making people aware that the not-so known motherlands also exist on this planet. XOXO