The Miss Universe pageant is on!
A kick-off party was held Saturday to officially start the 65th Miss Universe competition to be held in the Philippines, led by reigning queen Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach and 11 of this year’s candidates.
For Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart, it is “a dream come true” to finally host the pageant in the Philippines.
Wurtzbach, meanwhile, said she is “grateful” that the pageant is finally happening in her home country. “It’s not only a dream of Paula’s, a dream of the Miss Universe organization but also a dream of mine to bring back the competition here, and to show the world how beautiful the Philippines is,” the 2015 queen said. “And it would really be great if I can finally have a proper walk on stage in no less than in my home country of course.”
Former Ilocos Sur governor Luis “Chavit” Singson, one of the host committee heads, gave Shugart a jacket with the words “Miss U is on”.
Flown from different parts of the globe to attend the event were Miss Australia Caris Tiivel, Miss Indonesia Kezia Warouw, Miss Japan Sari Nakazawa, Miss Korea Jenny Kim, Miss Malaysia Kiran Jassal, Miss Myanmar Htet Htet Htun, Miss New Zealand Tania Pauline Dawson, Miss Thailand Chalita Suansane, Miss Vietnam Dang Thi Le Hang, and Miss USA Deshauna Barber. Miss Philippines Maxine Medina also joined the visiting candidates.
Miss China Li Zhenying didn’t make it to the kick-off party but will join the rest of the girls in their week-long activities, including a tour of Cebu and Siargao.
Miss Universe 2011 3rd runner-up Shamcey Supsup and actor Benjamin Alves hosted the event, which was attended by members of the organizing committee led by Singson’s LCS Group and host committee chair Richelle Louise Singson-Michael, Solar Entertainment Corporation, Okada Manila, SM Lifestyle Entertainment, Philippine Airlines, and Pay It Forward. Philippine Department of Tourism secretary Wanda Teo and undersecretary Kat De Castro were also present at the gathering.