MANILA, Philippines — Since the establishment of the Thai-based pageant Miss Grand International in 2013, it has become one to watch out for.
The pageant isn’t one to shy away from controversy. Here are a few things you need to know about the competition:
1. The owner. The Miss Grand International competition was founded by Nawat Itsaragrisil, a TV producer and businessman. After serving as executive producer and director of Miss World Thailand and national director of Miss Earth Thailand franchise, Nawat went on to establish the Miss Grand International in 2013.
2. The mission. Miss Grand International or MGI’s campaign and mission is stop war and violence. On the website, MGI goes: “An end to war is an ideal objective of freedom, peace, and harmony within all of us; namely, country, religion, race, community and family because life is simply better when it is at peace. Our ideal objective is an end to all forms of violence and hostility. For the sake of our children and the generations to follow, it is our duty domestically and internationally to rid the world of conflict and focus our efforts on improving the quality of life for all humanity.”
During the finals, MGI has a segment that includes a speech about stopping war and violence. Candidates are given a few minutes to explain their thoughts on the issue and how they can help in their own way to spread peace. (READ: Miss Grand International: A Pageant for Peace)
3. The show. MGI is known for its show-stopping opening numbers with the reigning queen. Website Global Beauties even voted it the Best Opening Number in 2017 and 2018.
4. No stranger to controversies. MGI may be a new player in the pageant industry, but it has already created quite a stir in the past years.
In March 2016, Anea Garcia, who won the title in 2015, stepped down because she allegedly failed to fulfill her duties. Anea, however, said that she resigned because the organization failed to protect her from sexual assault during a trip to Sudan.
Claire Elizabeth Parker, who was 1st runner-up, took over. But in February of 2019, the organization announced that Claire was no longer allowed to use the Miss Grand International trademark in any of her activities after she informed the organization she was joining another competition.
Last year, Paraguay’s Clara Sosa fainted after she was announced as the winner.
Filipino fans also got furious with Nawat after he said that Eva Patalinjug did not make it because there were other candidates better than her. His video saying that the Philippines will win next year also became viral.
Nawat and Clara, on Instagram seemed to poke at Filipino pageant pants by posting a photo with the caption: “Mabuhay !!! Real cooking show lol.” “Cooking show” is the English translation of the Filipino slang luto, which is used to refer to rigged competitions or contests. Fans speculated that the statement was made after Catriona Gray won the Miss Universe title in Thailand.
Filipino fans were not pleased and fought back on social media.
Early this year, Coco Arayha Suparurk, who went on to win Miss Grand Thailand irked both Filipino and Thai fans when she posted a photo of Clara next to reigning Miss Universe Catriona Gray. In the photo the word “fit” was placed beside Clara while the word “fat” was placed beside Catriona.
Miss Grand International, for sure, is not afraid to be controversial – whether it’s because of good or bad news. — Alexa Villano/Rappler.com