17 Vintage Photos of What the Miss Universe Pageant Used to Look Like
They’ve been dressed to nines every year since the pageant started, but the styles have changed a lot since 1952.
Years of crowns
The first Miss Universe Pageant was held in Long Beach California on June 28, 1952. Thirty contestants competed for the crown and 17-year-old Armi Kuusela of Finland came out on top as the first titleholder in history. More than 65 years later the Miss Universe Organization is still encouraging girls to be confident and bring positive change to their community. Take a look at what some of the very first pageants looked like. Also, look at how much the Miss America pageant has changed throughout the years.
1954: Meeting the stars
The 1954 Miss Universe contestants visited the Universal movie studio lot to have their pictures taken with movie stars. Tony Curtis and Jeff Chandler are seen here posing with the girls after greeting them at the studio gate.
1957: Press events
Movie star Gary Cooper poses with Miss Universe contestants at a press reception in New York.
1957: Miss Maryland
Miss Israel, left, Atara Barzely, and Miss Peru, right, Gladys Zender congratulate Leona Gage, Miss Maryland, after being crowned Miss U.S.A. The Miss America and Miss USA pageants are actually different, here’s why.
1959: Extravagant throne
Miss Universe 1959, Akiko Kojima of Japan reigns from her throne after winning the beauty pageant.
1967: State costumes
Shortly after arriving in Miami these Miss Universe contestants pose for a picture wearing their state costumes.
1970: Emotions running high
Marisol Malaret of Puerto Rico is in shock after it was announced that she had been named Miss Universe. This is what Miss USA looked like the year you were born.
1970: Posing at the beach
After being crowned, Miss Universe Marisol Malaret poses for photographers at Miami Beach with her crown and sash.
Pictured in the center of the photo is Spanish Former Miss Universe Amparo Munoz. She had just been crowned as Miss Universe in Manila Philippines on July 22, 1974. We wish these vintage swimsuits would come back into style.
1976: Learning about new cultures
Miss Israel teaches other pageant contestants how to dance the Hora, an Israeli folk dance.
1976: A new winner
Just after being crowned Miss Universe, Rina Messinger of Israel (center) poses with her runners-up.
1979: Strike a pose
Miss Venezuela, Maritza Sayalero strikes a pose for the judges during the bathing suit part of the competition.
1980: Big smiles
Miss Sweden and Miss U.S.A. smile for the camera during a photo session in Seoul, South Korea. These women pioneers changed the world forever.
1980: Fourth of July
Miss U.S.A. shows fellow beauty contestants how Americans celebrate the Fourth of July while they are competing in South Korea on the holiday.
1981: Time to eat
Several Miss Universe contestants enjoy a quick bite to eat during a buffet with Mayor Edward Koch at New York’s Surrogate Court.
1985: Jokes on stage
Raul De Molina/AP/Shutterstock
Bob Barker gets the contestants laughing while hosting the 1985 Miss Universe pageant in Miami, Florida.
1987: The joy of the crown
Miss Chile smiles big after being crowned Miss Universe in 1987. Runner-up Miss Italy also celebrates.
1989: The finalists
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The top five finalists line up during the 1989 Miss Universe competition anxiously waiting to see who will be crowned the winner. Next, check out these rare, vintage photos of what life was like in the 1950s.