Sunday, June 18, 2017

Special Feature: The Asian Miss International Winners

The Asian Miss International winners. 

Miss International is almost a six-decade old beauty pageant with its first
Miss International winners in the recent years. 
contest held in Long Beach, California, United States of America in 1960. It is a Tokyo, Japan-based pageant organized by The International Culture Association with its aim to promote cultural understanding and awareness among the international communities. The organization has also established the "Miss International Foundation" which donates money to the blind, the severely mentally and physically disabled and the underprivileged children around the world through its partnerships with UNICEF Japan and Japanese corporations such as Yomiuri and Hikari to Ai. 

Since the pageant has started 56 years ago, only two countries from Asia (Lebanon excluded) has managed to win the crown. The Philippines is the reigning titleholder (as of this writing) and has won the contest for 6 times making the Philippines as the second most successful country in Miss International next to Venezuela who has seven crowns to date. 

Miss International is one of the sought-after major international beauty pageants along with Miss Universe, Miss Earth and Miss World. However Miss World is getting less popular these days among the pageant fans due to its questionable methods in selecting the winner. 

So now let's revisit the Asian beauties who were able to win and wear the crown of Miss International. 

Gemma Cruz (Philippines) - Miss International 1964

1. Gemma Cruz - Miss International  1964. She is the first Filipino and Asian to win the title of Miss International in 1964. Gemma is the direct descendant of Philippines' national hero, Jose Rizal. She donated the prize money that she won as Miss International to Manila Boys Town and Girls Home in Marikina City, a place where the indigent and out of school youth are housed. This led the Congress to pass a resolution to exempt her from paying taxes. To date, Gemma has authored and co-authored six books on Philippine History.

Aurora Pijuan (Philippines) - Miss International 1970

2. Aurora Pijuan - Miss International 1970. Aurora's victory in the Miss International 1970 pageant made the Philippines as the first  country to win the title twice. During that time, the Philippines was still basking with the triumph of Gloria Diaz when another major international crown was brought home courtesy by the beautiful Aurora. She is presently an active member of the Gawad Kalinga movement in the rural areas in the Philippines.

Melanie Marquez (Philippines) - Miss International 1979

3. Melanie Marquez - Miss International 1979. Melanie's victory has also made the Philippines as the first country to win the title thrice. She is the youngest winner in the history of Miss International and was voted as the Most Beautiful Miss International during the 2000 poll. Six years after the pageant, she joined another contest and won the Face of the 80s held in New York, USA. Since her triumph in the international pageantry, Melanie has graced the local big screens as an actress and has also starred in the television programs. 

Precious Lara Quigaman (Philippines) - Miss International 2005

4. Lara Quigaman - Miss International 2005. Lara joined Binibining Pilipinas (Miss Philippines) twice before earning the rights to represent the country in the Miss International 2005 pageant in Tokyo, Japan where she won the coveted crown. She was unplaced in the Binibining Pilipinas 2001 edition however four years later, she made a come back and finally won the Binibining Pilipinas-International title and eventually the Miss International 2005 crown.

Ikumi Yoshimatsu (Japan) - Miss International 2012

5. Ikumi Yoshimatsu - Miss International 2012. She is the first Japanese winner of Miss International which is a Japan-based pageant that started way back in 1960. Yoshimatsu is the founder of the Global Student Diplomacy Network (GSDN) a non-profit organization that connects public and private school classrooms around the world via video conference and promotes a curriculum of mutual respect, cultural acceptance, non-violence and conflict resolution while allowing children to learn from each other.

Bea Rose Santiago (Philippines) - Miss International 2013

6. Bea Rose Santiago - Miss International 2013. Prior to her victory in Miss International 2013, Santiago represented the Philippines in Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International 2012 where she placed in the Top 10. The year later, she decided to join Binibining Pilipinas 2013 and bagged the rights to represent the country in Miss International 2013 pageant where she was able to win the Philippines' 5th Miss International crown. Aside from Miss International, the Philippines has also won the Miss World crown as well as the Miss Supranational and Miss Tourism International titles in the same year.

Kylie Verzosa (Philippines) - Miss International 2016

7. Kylie Verzosa - Miss International 2016. Her triumph in Miss International 2016 sealed the Philippines' brand together with Venezuela as the most successful countries in the world to have won the Miss International pageant multiple times. Philippines is just one shy away from Venezuela who has seven Miss International crowns to date. Kylie is a pre-school teacher, a professional model as well as an advocate of Depression and Suicide Awareness before joining the pageants. She graduated in Ateneo de Manila University with a Bachelor's degree in Management. Just like Lara Quigaman, Kylie joined the national pageant of Binibining Pilipinas twice before clinching the crown. She placed in the Top 15 during the Binibining Pilipinas 2015 edition with Pia Wurtzbach as the main winner (who was eventually crowned Miss Universe 2015) and in 2016 Kylie joined again the national finals of Binibining Pilipinas and the rest became a history. Kylie is set to relinquish her crown in Tokyo, Japan this November and let us see whether an Asian beauty will again be crowned as the most beautiful among the international beauty delegates.  

*This page will be updated every time an Asian beauty will be crowned Miss International. Thank you for reading. 

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