Monday, January 12, 2015

Remember the Little Sisters of Miss Universe?

The recent news of the reunion between  a Miss Universe Big Sister and her Little Sister 30 years after the pageant where they first met has been making the round of online news lately and in fact is the subject of my next blog feature. 
1984 Miss Universe 3rd RU: The photo that inspired this blog feature
Jennifer Weiselberg Auerbach$& Miss Philippines Desiree Verdadero

Miss Philippines Desiree Verdadero who went on to become Miss Universe 1984 3rd Runner Up reconnected with her Little Sister Ms. Jennifer Weiselberg Auerbach through Facebook. Their reunion albeit through the internet made me recall those precocious girls in white dresses who were scene stealers when they made their appearance in the evening gown competition. 
1983 Miss Universe: When it all started

So what is this beautiful tradition of the Little Sisters all about? The “Little Sisters” debuted in 1983 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA and made its final bow in 1995 in Windhoek, Namibia.

Every Miss Universe delegate was assigned a “Little Sister” – an adorably cute local girl usually between the ages of five and nine and from the host-city who would also wear her country’s sash. Her role was not only to be a friend, cheerer and little sister but also to serenade the semifinalists in the evening gown competition with a medley of songs that was capped by the very memorable “You Are My Star,”. The 1983 edition however featured the song  “You Are My Universe,”. 
1984 Miss Universe 1st RU
 1984 Miss Universe 4th RU
But the lucky ones among the little sisters were the ones whose “Big Sisters” made it as semifinalists. Each of the girls who had a semifinalist sister presented her with a flower then had the once-in-a-lifetime experience of escorting her to center-stage then curtsied before the contestant in front of a live audience of thousands and being seen by millions of global televiewers who were watching the international beauty pageant.  
The Little Sisters tradition prevented the pageant into becoming a sleazefest or meat parade. It single- handedly elevated the pageant to its revered status and transformed it into one magical experience that was regal and formal. The first meeting with the little sisters never fails to bring tears to the Miss Universe ladies who are reminded of home and family.


If I were to be asked what I would consider as the Golden Age of Miss Universe, I would readily say “It’s the 80’s!” From those glorious halcyon days of the world’s most prestigious beauty competition, everything seemed to be perfect. 

From the perfectly- coiffed & queenly ladies who graced the stage, the witty pageant host Bob Barker, the interviews and of course, to the Little Sisters who have helped define this particular era of the pageant.
1987 Miss Universe 
1987 Miss Universe : Pebbles Asis with her Little Sister
 1987 Miss Universe Little Sisters
Would there be a chance that a comeback would be in the offing for this endearing Miss Universe tradition? It’s a long shot but we can always dream, right? Bringing back the Little Sisters would surely give the pageant a dose of wholesomeness, an air of innocence and a touch of elegance. 

Even if I have no complaints as far as the pageant is being handled presently, I still hanker for those good ole days. 

1988 Miss Universe Little Sisters of Taiwan
1989 Miss Universe : Angela Visser with her Little Sister
1990 Miss Universe First Meeting
1990 Miss Universe: Monas Grudt of Norway
1990 Miss Universe Top Ten with Little Sisters
1993 Miss Universe Top Ten 
1994 Miss Universe Top Ten 
Here are the cities in the US and the countries where the Little Sisters were present:

1983 St. Louis Missouri, USA
1984 Miami, Florida, USA
1985 Miami, Florida, USA
1986 Panama City, Panama
1987 Singapore
1988 Taiwan
1989 Mexico
1990 Hollywood, California
1991  Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
1992 Thailand
1993 Mexico
1994 Philippines
1995 Namibia

TRIVIA: Interestingly, both the first and the last semifinalists to be escorted by their Little Sisters between 1983 and 1995 were both crowned Miss Universe.

The very first semifinalist in Miss Universe history to be escorted by a Little Sister was Miss New Zealand Lorraine Downes who became Miss Universe 1983. 

1983 Miss U Lorraine Downes was the very first on stage with a Little Sister 

The very last semifinalist to be escorted by a Little Sister during its 13 year run was Miss USA Chelsi Smith who was crowned Miss Universe 1995 by the end the night.

1995 Miss U Chelsi Smith was the last girl on stage with a Little Sister 
The final version of “You Are My Star” as main song was heard for the last time in the Manila for the Namibia edition in 1995 used Deep Forest’s Forest Anthem musical selection.

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 Photo Credits: Copyright infringement not intended

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