'Miss Universe 2019': The most popular contestants through the years, where are they now?
With the Miss Universe 2019 pageant right around the corner, here's a look at the most popular beauty queens that the competition has seen over the years and where they are now.
While some beauty queens won the crown through pageants over the years, they also have won hearts through their wit, congeniality and everything else in between.These gorgeous women have mostly ended up becoming household names.
With Miss Universe 2019 being held at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, this year here's a look at the most popular pageant contestants that the competition saw over the years and where they are now.
1. Gal Gadot
The most popular of the lot in recent times has to be the 'Wonder Woman' star. She competed in the 2004 Miss Universe pageant as Miss Israel, after being crowned the nation's most beautiful woman that year at 18. She lost the crown to Miss India Tanushree Dutta. She had been very uncomfortable with the attention that came along with the pageant and said in an interview with W Magazine later that she hadn't thought she would win and had got in because she had some spare time on her hands between finishing high school and joining the army.
She's an extremely successful global star and is at the top of her game among the superheroes as she carries on the mantle of Wonder Woman quite effortlessly. She's married Israeli real estate developer Yaron Varsano and they have two daughters.
2. Sushmita Sen
The iconic Sushmita Sen won the world over with her wit, charm and absolute charisma during the Miss Universe 1994 pageant. Sushmita became the first Indian woman to win the competition. At that time she was only 19 years old. A lost passport couldn't deter her and she went on to bowl everyone over with her answers. Sushmita was asked, "If you had the time and money to embark on a great adventure, what would it be?" to which she replied, "The best adventure in the world is the children. If I have the money and time then I would like to do something special for the children and will have some great time with them."
One of the most popular beauty queens ever, Sushmita went on to become a Bollywood actress and a mother of two adopted girls.
3. Pia Wurtzbach
Wurtzbach was crowned Miss Universe in 2015 after winning the Binibining Pilipinas the same year. Although lauded for her grace and desire to help those with HIV, she became one of the most popular Miss Universe contestants due to a mishap by host Steve Harvey. At the end of the show, Harvey mistakenly announced Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutiérrez as the winner.
However, after Gutiérrez's crowning, Harvey returned to the stage and stated that he had misread the results and that Wurtzbach was really Miss Universe 2015.
After her win, she returned to her TV career and appeared as a guest host in ASAP and is currently hosting World of Dance Philippines with Luis Manzano. She went on to become a judge on Asia's Next Top Model and later returned to the Miss Universe pageant in 2017 as a judge. She is also UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Asia and the Pacific since 2016. She was dating race car driver Marlon Stockinger but the pair have now split.
4. Wendy Fitzwilliam
The 1998 pageant winner was from Trinidad and Tobago. She is remembered for being the first contestant ever to wear a two-piece bathing suit on stage, which was previously frowned upon.
She was admitted to the bar in 2000 and is currently a lawyer. She also founded the Hibiscus Foundation which works to spread awareness about HIV AIDS. Fitzwilliam has also acted as a judge and host for many regional and international pageants, such as Miss Guyana, Miss Trinidad & Tobago, and Miss Universe. She currently lives with her son in Trinidad & Tobago.
5. Cecilia Bolocco
Cecilia Bolocco became Miss Chile in 1987 and Miss Universe later that year. She then went on to pursue journalism, her passion and became a reporter for Spanish CNN, Telemundo and worked in media for a while. She became the First Lady of Argentina in 2001 after marrying President Carlos Menem. She was also part of a lawsuit that she won after Chilean journalist Victor Gutierrez claimed she was having an affair with Paulo Coelho while married to Menem. The couple later split up.
As of the latest news, she is still working as a journalist and has won two Emmy awards because of her work in CNN.
6. Olivia Culpo
She was the 8th contestant from the US to win Miss Universe in 2012. Her time at the pageants that led up to the Miss Universe contest were tricky - the rented $20 dress she wore in the Rhode Island pageant turned out to have a hole in the back and she lost an earring during an interview before she was crowned Miss USA. If that wasn't enough, she stumbled on the hem of her gown during the Miss Universe pageant.
She's a social media celebrity and has collaborated with various fashion brands as well as walked the Sheri Hill show. She was featured in the 2018 and 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and was on the reality show Model Squad.
7. Angela Ponce
In a big LGBTQ inclusive moment for the pageant, Angela Ponce, Spain's Miss Universe became the first-ever transgender competitor in 2018. Even though she did not win, it was iconic as she later said, "I don't need to win, I just need to be here". The ban for transgender contestants ended in 2012 but no one ever made it as far.
She has since then appeared on magazine covers, modeled for many and has been the face of brands like Pantene. She's also a social media celebrity.
8. Jennifer Hawkins
After being crowned Miss Universe Australia, Jennifer Hawkins went on to take the title of Miss Universe in 2004. Her fashion choices made her the talk of the town, with one Bora gown costing $25,000.
She was a judge on Australia’s Next Top Model, as well as the official face of the department store, Myer among other brands. She also founded two brands - Cozi, a swimwear company and Jbronze which sells tanning products. She was also on the fourth season of Dancing with the Stars. She currently has a daughter with husband Jake Wall.