It was the lovely Armi Kuusela from Finland who won the first ever Miss Universe contest in 1952*, with Miss Hawaii, Miss Greece, Miss Hong Kong and Miss Germany in the runner up positions. Interestingly Miss United Kingdom, Aileen P. Chase, who was a runner up in Miss World the previous year didn’t even make it into the semi finals. Beauty is a fickle business isn’t it?
For winning Miss Finland was awarded a box of chocolates, a gold bangle and a return ticket on Pan American Airways! She gave up her crown before the end of her year-long rein to get married.
If you’re wondering why there are American States represented there alongside countries it’s because Miss USA and Miss Universe were held at the same time! It was Miss New York who won and became Miss USA for that year.
*The title Miss Universe had also been used by the International Pageant of Pulchritude in the 1920s and 30s but Miss Universe was officially founded in 1952.
Image source and copyright: Time LIFE archives
i love all beauty whole world
Interesting because Alaska and Hawaii wouldn’t become states till 1959 … Great photos …!
Grey World Nomads
so different from today
“Miss Welcome to Long Beach”
Hmmm, I’m not familiar with that country.
Also, I noticed to Miss Communist Nation or any such thing.
Interesting isn’t it? The countries which took part were Alaska, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hawaii, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Sweden, Turkey, South Africa, Uruguay, USA and Venezuela…
It would be interesting to see when Communist nations were allowed to participate.
Also, didn’t you used to use Disqus for comments?
You’re absolutely right about Disqus, thanks for noticing! The plugin was disabled for some reason – no idea why. Should all be working again now 🙂
did you know that Miss Universe isn’t allowed to marry?
The swimsuit contest is always the highlight of Miss Universe, so it’s interesting to see the “bathing beauties” aspect of the first event! Thanks for posting.