Which Country Has the Most Miss Universe Winners?

Millions will tune in tonight to see who becomes the next Miss Universe as 94 women from around the world compete to win the coveted crown. The pageant takes place in Bangkok, Thailand, and will be televised on Fox. Steve Harvey and Ashley Graham are hosting the event, with performances from Ne-Yo and commentary from Carson Kressley and Lu Sierra.

What to expect from Miss Universe 2018

While more than 90 women are in the running for the title of Miss Universe, from Trejsi Sejdini of Albania to Melba Shakabozha of Zambia, only 20 will be selected as semi-finalists after a round of preliminary competition in categories like swimwear and evening gown. This year’s front-runners include Miss Philippines and Miss Puerto Rico. Whether Miss USA Sarah Rose Summers makes it to the top 20 after her disparaging comments about other contestants remains to be seen.

The first transgender contestant in the pageant’s 66-year history is also competing in 2018. Transgender entrants have been allowed since 2012, but Angela Ponce from Spain is the first to advance to the final competition. In another first, Panama is sending an indigenous woman to represent the country in the pageant for the first time. Finally, the mixed-gender judging panel has been replaced by an all-female group of judges who are entrepreneurs, business leaders, industry experts, and former pageant title holders.

The country with the most Miss Universe winners

In 2011, Leila Lopes made history as the first woman from Angola to win the Miss Universe title. Perhaps this year another country’s representative will take home the crown for the first time. But historically, certain countries have dominated in the competition.

Venezuela and the U.S. have produced the most Miss Universe winners. Seven American women have taken home the crown since 1953. Olivia Culpo was the most recent winner from the United States, in 2012. Venezuela tied the U.S. record in 2013, when Gabrielle Isler became the country’s seventh Miss Universe titleholder since 1979.

Five women from Puerto Rico have won Miss Universe titles. Sweden and the Philippines have both had three winners. A number of countries have won the title twice, including South Africa, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, and Japan.

The “big four” beauty pageants

Miss Universe

Miss Universe candidate Iris Mittenaere of France waves to the audience after winning the title in the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on January 30, 2017. | Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images

Miss Universe is just one of several major international beauty pageants, including Miss World, Miss International, and Miss Earth. Collectively, the pageants are sometimes referred to as the big four.

Venezuela is the undisputed queen of the pageant world. In addition to seven Miss Universe titles, women from the South American country have won six Miss World titles, six Miss International competitions, and two Miss Earths. Some have called beauty queen’s the country’s “biggest export” after oil, and women sometimes go to extreme lengths to transform themselves into the pageant ideal.

The Philippines is another international pageant powerhouse. On top of three Miss Universe crowns, the country has won Miss Earth four times, Miss International six times, and Miss World once.

The 2018 Miss Universe competition airs December 16 at 7/6c on Fox.

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