Miss Universe Queens from Asia

Aug 9, 2019 | India, Japan, Philippines, POP

It is no secret that Asians are some of the biggest pageantry fans on the planet. Get to know the Asian queens that bagged the sought-after Miss Universe title.

Go to any place in Asia and the mere mention of Miss Universe sends people blabbing about the pageant – whether it’s women, men, and members of the LGBTQ community. As one of the top four pageants alongside Miss Earth, Miss International, and Miss World, Miss Universe is watched by billions of people in over 190 countries. Get to know some of the Asian women that got this coveted crown below.

Catriona Gray, Philippines

The fourth Filipina to win the crown and the reigning Miss Universe, Catriona Gray is dubbed as the most prepared candidate to ever join the pageant. She initially competed for Miss World in 2016 but failed to bring the crown home. 

Gray spent months ahead planning her outfits which featured key elements of Filipino culture such as the jeepney and even Mayon Volcano, which can be found in her hometown.

This Filipina-Australian queen boats a Certificate in Music Theory from the prestigious Berklee College in Boston. She is also a martial arts expert, having earned her black belt in Choi Kwang Do at an early age.

Riyo Mori, Japan

One of the most loved Miss Universe winners, Riyo Mori made a lasting mark on the pageant stage when she donned a suit for her final walk in 2008. Mori is the second Japanese woman to be crowned as Miss Universe.

“I had worked so hard to become Miss Universe, and it was a dream coming true,” said the beauty queen.

She studied jazz starting when she was four years old. At 16, moved to Ontario, Canada to study ballet. After winning miss universe, she opened a dance school called I.R.M. Academy in Shizuoka Prefecture which teaches jazz, tap, ballet, and many more.

“When I was in New York, every weekend I went to a hospital for AIDS children to play with them. Traveling to many countries, I saw a lot of suffering in orphanages. It was very sad, but I was prepared mentally for that. It just reinforced my desire to do something to help. Nobody talks about this issue in Japan,” stated Mori when asked about her advocacy.

Lara Dutta, India

Hailing from India, Lara Dutta is one of the most eloquent women to get the Miss Universe crown. She is the second Miss Universe from India. Now a Bollywood star and a businesswoman, Dutta’s fame catapulted when she became part of many Indian films.

In 2011, Dutta married tennis star Mahesh Bhapatti. She also started a skincare line named Arias.

“The most important thing is that though this is a skincare line which is made by a woman, it is equally effective on men as well. My husband swears by my products,” she stated.

Pia Wurtzbach, Philippines

Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach from the Philippines joined Binibining Pilipinas, the country’s local pageant three times just to win the Miss Universe crown. The Filipina ended the pageant-mad country’s 4 decades of drought on the Miss Universe stage with her iconic smize and her angelic smile in 2015.

Wurtzbach was born in Germany to a Filipino mother and a German father. She initially tried her luck in show business, but later on switched her focus to her passion for culinary arts. During her final round at Miss Universe, Wurtzbach explained that she wants to raise awareness to causes such as HIV.  She is also the first Filipino have a wax figure at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong.

What’s Next for Asia?

Asia has had its fair share of triumphs and defeats in the international pageant stage. Now that the current miss universe is from Asia, the pressure is on. Thailand’s bet Fahsai Paweensuda Drouin and Gazini Ganados from the Philippines are just some of the candidates that are expected to perform well in the coming pageant.