Like its “sister” pageant Miss Universe, Miss International was also born at Long Beach, California, USA. In fact, Miss International was intended to become a replacement pageant for Miss Universe who was moved from Long Beach to Miami Beach in 1960. For its first 10 years, Miss International was mostly hosted in its birthplace before it moved permanently to Japan during the next decade.
The official title for Miss International winner is “Ambassador of Peace and Beauty”. As such, it is her official duty to promote world peace, goodwill, and understanding among nations in the world.
The first ever Miss International and now Binibining Pilipinas national director, Stella Marquez-Araneta
While the first ever winner of the other three of Big Four pageants are Scandinavian (Miss World 1951 is Sweden, Miss Universe 1952 is Finland, and Miss Earth 2001 is Denmark), Miss International is the only exception as its first ever winner is Stella Marquez from Colombia. She is now the national director of Binibining Pilipinas national pageant.
The most successful nation at Miss International is Venezuela which has won the title 6 times. Amazingly 4 of its 6 victories were achieved in the span of a single decade (2000, 2003, 2006, and 2010).
No African nations have ever won Miss International title. The closest one was Ibticem Lahmar from Tunisia who placed as First Runner Up of Miss International 1996. In fact, for the last 10 years, there has not been a single African delegate placed as finalists. The last African finalist at Miss International was Mame Mballo from Senegal in 2002.
Grace Wong, the winner of Miss Friendship in 1997
Hong Kong has won more Miss Friendship awards than any other countries at Miss International. It has won the award 6 times including a 4 consecutive years back to back victories in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. A funny story comes from one of the winner, Grace Wong, who won the award in 2007, as she forgot to bring her Miss Friendship award back to Hong Kong and the organizer had to mail the award to Hong Kong.
As the "homeland" of the contest, it is no surprise that Japan has the record number of finalists at Miss International. Out of its 51 contest editions, Japan has placed 41 times at Miss International. But ironically it has never won the top prize. The best ever placement for Japan is only Second Runner Up, achieved by Hana Urushima in 2002.
Both USA and Mexico were represented by 2 delegates during Miss International 2003. USA was represented by a contestant wearing United States sash and the other wearing Native American Indian sash, while Mexico was represented by a contestant wearing Mexico sash and the other wearing Latin Mexico sash.
Vanessa Perreti, a deaf beauty queen and Miss International 2007 semifinalist
The 2007 edition of Miss International marks a historical significance as 2 deaf and mute contestants competing in the pageant, Vanessa Peretti from Venezuela and Sophie Vouzeloud from France. Vanessa eventually placed as semifinalists while Sophie was unplaced.
Most of the time, when the pageant held in China, the local committee prepares some "unique" and "exceptional" special awards. These funny special awards include Miss Best Language in 2006, Miss Garden Hotel in 2010, and Miss Panda Angel in 2011. Could you guess what criteria is used to win these awards?
Longest reigning Miss International, Ingrid Finger
There is no Miss International 1966 as the pageant was never held that year, making Miss International 1965 Ingrid Finger as the longest reigning Miss International ever (she reigned for over than 20 months). Miss International is also the only Big Four pageant which has skipped an edition.
There is only one black winner at Miss International so far and she is not from Africa. She is Jeymmy Vargas from Colombia who won the contest in 2004.