Australian Miss Universe Hopefuls Confused After Being Enlisted into Miss World Competition
Report and photos courtesy of Sydney Morning Herald
All is not right in the universe. Miss Universe that is.
Confusion has been raging on social media for weeks with former Miss Universe Australia owner Deborah Miller opening registrations to the 2016 competition only for aspiring beauty queens to discover they will be participating in Miss World instead.
The two pageants are vastly different, according to experts – like comparing apples to oranges, Nescafe to Nespresso.
FROM UNIVERSE TO WORLD: Deborah Miller is now in charge of Australia's Miss World franchise after the new owners of Miss Universe appointed a new national director for Australia.
"Let's be real, pageants are all about entertainment not inner beauty. No one gives a s--- about inner beauty. No one gives a s--- what your kidney looks like, that's why these events are so popular and it's getting harder to differentiate between the two. Miss World is all about charity and raising funds for Variety while Miss Universe started as a bikini competition," pageant expert Peter Sereno said.Since earlier this year hopeful Miss Universe Australia contestants who have signed up for the pageant via what they thought was the official website have been receiving emails titled: "CONGRATULATIONS! You have been accepted in the Victorian Preliminary event!".
"Due to changes with the Miss Universe Organisation, currently we don't have any events locked in for Miss Universe Australia. The national director for Miss Universe Australia Deborah Miller has now taken over Miss World Australia," the emails, obtained by The Sun-Herald, explained.
As well as being signed up for a different event, entrants who fit the "Miss World Australia criteria" of "never been married, never given birth to a child and have not committed any crime" are required to bring a "choreography fee [of] $60 in an envelope".
Sereno, the man who runs the popular Dear Pageant Girl blog and who coached Jennifer Hawkins to the crown in 2004, said a registration fee to enter a pageant is not uncommon but payment is usually only requested from those who make it successfully through the heat stages.
"For Deborah this a business. She also runs a pageant academy which she charges the girls $300 for," Sereno said.
"Usually my absence says a lot and I've stayed away from the Miss Universe pageant for years," he said of Miller's tenure at the helm of the competition which was marred by rigging allegations in 2014.
Miller did not return calls or emails made by The Sun-Herald.
TAKING OVER THE UNIVERSE: Australia's new national director. Photo courtesy of Yahoo Australia
Barbagallo, who has been running the Western Australian arm of the competition for eight years, said he was aware IMG have been in touch with Miller regarding the changing of the guard.
"I'm honoured to have our platform recognised by Miss Universe Organisation and excited to offer it across Australia to all those interested in participating and to level the playing field," he said.
"The biggest change is that my platform is about every young Australian who participates will leave having an extraordinary experience. We will make it modern and offer health, wealth, educational and social opportunities to all of them. Our focus is not on one girl but more about encouraging all."