Miss Universe is an annual international beauty pageant that is run by the Miss Universe Organization. Along with the Miss World and Miss Earth contests, Miss Universe is one of the three largest beauty pageants in the world in terms of the number of national-level competitions, and one of the most anticipated beauty pageants worldwide. The pageant was founded in 1952 by the California clothing company Pacific Mills. The pageant became part of Kayser-Roth, and then Gulf+Western Industries, before being acquired by Donald Trump in 1996.
The pageant is broadcast in the US on NBC, simulcast in Spanish on Telemundo, and webcast on Xbox Live along with many international broadcasting channels. In 1998, Miss Universe changed its name from Miss Universe, Inc., to the Miss Universe Organization, and the headquarters moved from Los Angeles, California, to New York City that year. Donald Trump brought in a new team of professionals to the contest headed by its new CEO, Molly Miles, and president Maureen Reidy.
In 1998, the logo of Miss Universe – "the woman with stars" – was created, representing the beauty and responsibility of women around the Universe.
The current Miss Universe is Paulina Vega of Colombia who was crowned on January 25, 2015 in Miami, Florida, United States. Traditionally Miss Universe lives in New York City during her reign.
Miss Universe is part of the Big Four international beauty pageants.
The first use of the title "Miss Universe" was as part of International Pageant of Pulchritude which began in 1926. These events, the first international contests, lasted until 1935 when the Great Depression and other events preceding World War II led to their demise. This pageant had no direct relationship with the modern event.
Today's Miss Universe pageant was founded after Yolande Betbeze, the winner of the 1951 Miss America pageant, refused to pose in a swimsuit from its major sponsor, Catalina Swimwear. The brand's manufacturer Pacific Mills withdrew from Miss America and set up the Miss USA and Miss Universe contests. The first Miss Universe Pageant was held in Long Beach, California in 1952. It was won by Armi Kuusela from Finland, who gave up her title, though not officially, to get married, shortly before her year was completed. Until 1958, the Miss Universe title, like that of Miss America, was dated by the year following the contest, so at the time Ms. Kuusela's title was Miss Universe 1953.
Miss Universe was founded by the Pacific Mills, a Californian-based clothing company. Since then, it is annually conducted with the Miss Universe Organization as the principal organizer. After gaining prominence from various pageant enthusiasts, the pageant became part of Kayser-Roth and then Gulf Western Industries, before being acquired by Donald Trump in 1996.
The pageant was first televised in 1955. CBS-TV began broadcasting the combined Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants in 1960, and as separate contests in 1965. In 2003, NBC-TV outbid the other networks for the TV rights.