The world of beauty pageants has a long and colorful history. It may seem that these competitions merely show off women’s glamor and grace, but they actually reflect a set of rules that shape how societies define beauty. This is evident by the fact that many countries have favored their own women in these contests over the years. For instance, the U.S. and UK are the most dominant countries in giving out Miss Universe and Miss World crowns, but Venezuela and the Philippines have also risen to the top of the rankings with no — or very little — help from their own organizing committees.
This year, the winner of the Miss Universe pageant will be awarded with a bespoke jewel crown designed by Mouawad Jewelry called the “Force for Good”. The regal-looking tiara is said to represent the “beauty, stability, confidence and power” of women. It will be worn by Filipino beauty queen Celese Cortesi.
The Mikimoto crown is made up of 500 diamonds and 120 Akoya and South Sea pearls shaped to resemble the sevean feathers of the Fenghuang Phoenix, a Chinese mythological bird that symbolizes power, elegance, and beauty. It was first used in 2002 when Oxana Federova of Russia won the title and later on, in 2018 when the Philippine’s Catriona Gray wore it.
The rhinestone crown was introduced in 1963, and it was responsible for reinventing the pageant’s design. It was crafted by Sarah Coventry, who also redesigned the Miss World crown in 1973 to improve its wearability.