When it comes to Miss Universe, we often think of beautiful, thin women in skimpy bikinis and permanent smiles, but did you know each of these lovely ladies is hiding a secret? Behind every toothy grin and every revealing outfit, Miss Universe contestants are under constant scrutiny and must abide by some of the most ridiculous rules of any pageant. According to their website, Missuniverse.com, the Miss Universe Organization is a company "run by women for women" but it is still one of the most offensive and unreasonable shows around simply because of the outlandish rules each of the "nearly ten thousand" contestants must follow.
What are these crazy rules and why are women from around the world willing to follow them? Winners are granted certain opportunities to help them further their personal careers, serve as advocates for humanitarian issues and are recognized when formally speaking on behalf of positive change in the world. Many have entered high profile careers in film and television, business, finance, broadcasting and even the government. These perks are more than worth following a few silly rules, right? But what are these rules exactly? Here are fifteen of the most unreasonable and messed up rules each Miss Universe contestant must follow:
15 "Natural" Contestants Must Compete With Women Who Got Cosmetic Alterations
Apparently, not all Miss Universe contestants are natural beauties. Some have gone under the knife to ensure they look their best during their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. According to Charlene Smith, a spokeswoman for Miss Universe Canada, all women are allowed plastic surgery, therefore those who choose to get it are on equal footing with those who have the opportunity but decide against it. She even added that there are fewer women in Miss Universe who choose to get plastic surgery than there are in other pageants, however Smith explained plastic surgery comes with its risks and she has seen many botched jobs, leaving some women entirely dependent on makeup or corrective work. Interestingly, some judges are known to deduct points if a woman has obviously had work done.
14 Women Can Compete Against Men
As the transgender crowd continues to make themselves heard, the Miss Universe pageant became one of many organizations that recognize transgenders as the gender of their choice - provided they look like stereotypical women. The decision was made back in 2012, following the disqualification of Jenna Talackova, a Vancouver competitor who underwent a sex change to go from male to female. While Talackova was disqualified, the uproar that followed led to the Miss Universe Organization's decision to be more inclusive and open to more diversity in its contestants. Though the decision left many excited for diversity, others were upset at the decision to allow modified males into the competition. The backlash following the decision was nearly as bad as the initial uproar concerning Talackova's disqualification, proving once again that no organization can please everyone.
13 If You Win, The Miss Universe Organization Owns You For One Year
You think being crowned the winner is all there is to becoming Miss Universe? Think again. The Miss Universe title comes with plenty of expectations. After being crowned, Miss Universe is expected to undergo numerous interviews, attend various events, do some extra humanitarian work on the side and lots lots more. How does a girl even find the time to breathe when she's expected to travel all over the place and work harder than anyone could have guessed? No problem, she can always skip out on a few meetings, right? Wrong! Miss Universe Puerto Rico refused to do interviews so she was stripped of her crown and lost the opportunities that came with it. Harsh. If the winner doesn't follow the organization's demands, she must forfeit all she's worked for. Ridiculous? We think so.
12 Miss Universe Is Expected To Educate The World But Is Not Required To Educate Herself
As strange as it may sound, Miss Universe contestants are expected to teach the world how to lead a healthier lifestyle, to care for the environment and much more. One might think Miss Universe would at least have a higher education to help her along, but most contestants have spent their entire lives involved in the pageant world, their focus always on the Miss Universe crown. Very few have had a higher education, choosing instead to invest their time and energy into the ultimate pageant prize. In 2017, only three women had their degrees and the crowd was surprised to hear one of them had her degree in engineering. Not all contestants are required to have their education but some would say their lack of schooling is one of the many ways the pageant undermines the importance of higher education.
11 Contestants Can Never Age
Okay, so they're allowed to age over time, but during the competition they are only allowed to compete if they are 24-years-old or younger. Anyone who turns twenty-five during the competition is immediately disqualified. An example of how pageants work can be found in Amanda Longacre's story. She was crowned Miss Delaware in 2014 but lost her title and scholarship when she turned twenty-four just one month before the conclusion of the competition. Interestingly, officials didn't call her out on it until after she won the crown and had received the prizes. Maybe another contestant, say, a runner-up, got jealous and decided to do a little digging? Probably not, but we can all admit the idea of a scandal is intriguing! However they discovered her real age, poor Miss Delaware was a victim of technical rules that aren't fair.
10 Miss Universe Needs To Share Her Opinions - But Not If They're Too Opinionated
There have been several controversies surrounding pageant contestants and winners who share their opinions of hot-button topics. It doesn't matter what side they take, there will always be a backlash when a celebrity mentions any heated subject. Miss Universe is expected to be knowledgeable in politics, major religions and humanitarian causes, but it's a very thin line she walks between too opinionated and not opinionated enough. She needs to show she understands problems and is up-to-date on how to tackle them, but she can't give too many personal opinions or the public will tear her to shreds. How these glamorous women can keep their cool when the public turns on them is nothing short of a miracle. Miss Universe certainly is beauty, grace and an infinite wealth of patience.
9 She Only Gets One Shot
If you're going for the crown but fall short, don't worry about it! There's always next year, right? Wrong! Each contestant is only allowed to compete once in the Miss Universe pageant. This is likely due to the overwhelming number of contestants who apply each year. Everyone deserves a chance and all that. But what about the girl who competes and gets sick early on in the competition and has to back our for medical reasons? Or the woman who experiences emotional trauma, such as a death in the family, so she has to miss a single even on one day? What if she wants a boyfriend and a baby? Anyway, if Miss Universe contestants really want that crown, they'd better be sure not to have any accidents and everything had better go off perfectly because they only get one shot at the win.
8 Semifinalists Are Expected To Walk The Runway In A Swimsuit To Display Their "Dedication To A Healthy Lifestyle"
Seriously? How many of us have that one friend who eats like garbage and remains stick thin? Just because someone looks great in a bikini doesn't mean they're the epitome of health. According to the Miss Universe website, all semifinalists are to wear a swimsuit or athletic clothing as they enter the stage while being announced. This is specifically to reveal just how dedicated she is to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Not all healthy women super thin, and not all unhealthy women are overweight. If I found out I was a semifinalist, I'd want to step onto that stage with a beautiful dress, revealing my beauty and elegance, not strutting into the limelight in a swimsuit or workout clothes! And you'd better believe that "athletic clothing" isn't going to be sweats and a t-shirt! It'll be something that reveals her assets under the guise of a "healthy lifestyle." Gag.
7 Contestants And Winners Can't Be Controversial In Any Way
Contestants and winners are expected to behave in a way that will positively represent the Miss Universe Organization. This means the girls can't have a little fun without someone attempting to blow it out of proportion and disqualify or dethrone winners. In 2007, Rima Fakih was taking a pole dancing class and pictures were taken. What she didn't expect was for the photos to hit the press, claiming she was dancing on a stripper pole. She clarified she wasn't being improper but she still gave up her title. Though people don't talk about it, whenever a celebrity is viewed as being in any way improper, even if it was all a misunderstanding, they are expected to relinquish whatever titles or rights they have, much like Fakih, who later shared "of course people are going to look into your background and take away your success."
6 Certain Contestants Can't Take Group Selfies
In 2015, Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, took a selfie that included Miss Japan, Miss Lebanon and Miss Slovenia. The ladies were wearing white tops and casual bottoms and each of them smiled happily into the camera. While many saw nothing wrong with the innocent selfie, Lebanese contestant Saly Greige was attacked on Instagram for taking a picture with an Israeli. The hostility between Lebanon and Israel has been an ongoing threat to both countries for decades, leaving both communities pitted against each other. Though taking a selfie isn't against any of the Miss Universe official rules or guidelines, the controversy the picture sparked did not sit well. In fact, Greige took to Facebook to apologize for the picture and claimed Miss Israel "jumped in, took a selfie, and put it on her social media," adding she was "cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel."
5 If They Gain Too Much Weight, Winners Lose Their Crown
Back when U.S. President Donald Trump ran the Miss Universe pageant, he made headlines when he called out Miss Venezuela in 1996, claiming she gained too much weight and would be replaced with Miss Aruba. Neither Trump nor the organization ever denied her weight was the root of the problem. Trump even told Howard Stern that she was "an eating machine." Though Miss Venezuela went on to win the pageant regardless of her weight, she and many others were outraged by Trump's statement to People magazine, where he stated, "We want her to stay as Miss Universe and and she is working on her problem." Since when is gaining a little weight a problem? The poor girl probably starved herself to win in the first place! The least she can do is eat after she's won!
4 Official Judges Don't Call All The Shots
Miss Universe contestants aren't solely at the mercy of the official judges. Fellow contestants and fans from around the world are also involved. This means all contestants need to appeal to one another, the judges and their worldwide audience. The fine line they already walk has just become so minuscule it might as well not exist at all. If a contestant is already disliked simply due to her country's relations with other countries, she is behind from the start. If a girl isn't as friendly, open and engaged as everyone else, they're harshly judged by their fellow contestants and are called "stuck-up" or "arrogant." The rule was probably put in place to help encourage friendly competition between the ladies but it seems to have just made the competition that much harder.
3 Contestants Can Not Have Children Or Have Ever Been Pregnant Before
What the what now? So, to be eligible to compete for the title of Miss Universe, not only does each participant need to be absolutely gorgeous, but she needs to have absolutely no personal history of ever being pregnant or having a child before? Why not? We understand that Miss Universe winners are expected to adhere to strict schedules following their crowning, so having children can make it hard to prioritize all the duties that come with winning the crown, but what about women who got pregnant but lost their child? Or gave it up for adoption? Why can't she be eligible for this amazing award that claims to help promote women in their personal and work-related lives? What happened to being an organization "built on a foundation of inclusion," as stated on their website? Apparently, the Miss Universe pageant isn't as inclusive as they would have us believe.
2 None Of The Women Can Be Married Or Can Get Married Within The First Year Of Being Crowned
Heaven forbid a strong, healthy, motivated young woman fall in love and decide to get married! What are the contest holders thinking? It's completely understandable that any woman entering the Miss Universe competition will likely have little to no time for a man during the competition or after she wins, but that isn't for the pageant to decide. It's for the woman herself to decide whether she wants to risk her relationship to follow her dreams. The Miss Universe rule makers shouldn't get to have a say in how she conducts her personal relationships, but once again pageantry oversteps its boundaries to give an unrealistic and unsanctioned rule for women to follow. In the end, the pageant probably just doesn't want to deal with a contestant who has to drop out due to pregnancy, love, or other relationship-level circumstances. Lame!
1 Miss Universe Doesn't Need Any Skills
As messed up as it sounds, the official Miss Universe Rules claim there is no special skills section to the determination of who will be crowned. All she needs to do is look good in a swimsuit, athletic wear and an evening gown. The site claims the actual clothing doesn't count in the judging, so are we to assume that means the only thing that is judged is how she looks regardless of dress? Can she wear something sheer or bulky and still have a chance to win? Unlikely. The real skills judges are looking for are the abilities to "demonstrate authenticity, credibility and exhibit grace under pressure. The women who compete embody the modern, global aspiration for the potential within all women." I'd call a few catwalk runs a skill of its own if judges are to somehow choose the semifinalists based on a few outfits!