20 August 2008

First Miss Universe's Daughter Almost Competed in an International Pageant

We have been talking about the first Miss Universe winner, Armi Helena Kuusela, and her family in my earlier blog entries. When you just thought it was over, I still have one last entry about her family - this time, focusing more on her daughter Ana Lisa Kuusela Hilario.

Did you know that Ana Lisa almost had followed the steps of her mother? She could have been a beauty title holder had she not withdrew from a pageant she was supposed to represent not her mother's but her father's - the Philippines. This pageant could have been paved a longer road for her in the pageantry.

I am talking about the Queen of the Pacific Quest. This pageant is part of the Melbourne Moomba Festival which was Australia's largest festival, with an emphasis on cultural and sporting activities, entertainment and pageantry. This pageant was held annually, during March from 1967 to 1977. It was not held in 1978, and probably not in 1979. In 1980, it was renamed Miss Moomba Tourism Quest, and in 1981 Miss International Tourism Quest. It was discontinued after 1983.

Going back to Ana Lisa, she was supposed to represent Philippines in 1974. From the picture below, she is the woman in the red box.

Anna was visiting Australia at the time and agreed to represent the Philippines but was not able to compete, due to some misunderstanding with the Australian pageant organizers. It was not known what could have been the misunderstanding but this was a sad news for some of the followers of the pageant since they were denied of the chance of having the daughter of Finland's most successful Miss Universe.

Indeed, it was a big loss not only to the Queen of the Pacific Quest but all over the international beauty arena.

Interestingly, this is the only pageant where we see Indonesia as one of the powerhouses. This third most populous country won the pageant twice making second in overall ranking next to then beauty powerhouse, the Philippines.

We have to remember that this was the era the Philippines was one of the most successful countries in beauty pageants. If Venezuela, Puerto Rico and India are so successful today, that status was once held by the Philippines together with Australia, USA, Brazil and Israel during the sixties and seventies. This was the era we practically saw a Miss Philippines in the finals of most of the pageants around the world.

Going back to the pageant, the first winner was Betty Lim Saw Yim of Malaysia. The Philippines won it thrice. They had also numerous runner up winners including Miss Crowning Glory, Miss Photogenic and Miss Friendship awards.

Sadly, the show was last seen in 1983 where we first saw the James Bond actress, Michelle Yeoh, competing for Malaysia. Michelle eventually joined Miss World.

The second winner of Queen of Pacific Quest, Philippines Maria Rita Lacson Santiago. She was also that year's Miss Crowning Glory.

A gallery of the contestants of 1975 Queen of Pacific Quest. It was printed by Melbourne's Herald on Saturday, 01 March 1975. Pictures of Misses Papua-New Guinea and Thailand were not received in time for publication

The winners of the pageant in 1975. At the center is Miss Indonesia, Francisca Warastoeti. Her runners up were Hong Kong's Bonnie Gokson Kwok Chi Yee and Malaysia's Pamela Oo Ai See.

1981 first runner up, Australia's Terri Mattison and second runner up Philippine's Maria Rosario Anson who was also Miss Photogenic.

Then outgoing Queen of Pacific Quest winner during the 1972 pageant. She is Nelia de los Reyes Sancho of the Philippines.