Aishwarya Rai, meet your match! She is Oxana Fedorova, the stunning natural beauty that is Miss Universe 2002. Oxana has a very magnetic face. When she is on screen, you cannot turn your head away!
This year's pageant was well done and it also won the ratings for the night it was on! Of course it was after May sweeps but I have been saying it over and over that pageants should never be on weekends, only on weekdays when people are home to watch! I really liked last year's pageant and this year's pageant seemed quite classy. I heard the GuyRex team that is responsible for making the Miss Texas pageants so successful helped out this year. I liked the Cirque du Soleil type dancers. It wasn't too overdone. This year's graphic effects were interesting like the way the scores were shown. I liked seeing each judge's individual score but thinking about it logically, who has time to check and calculate all the scores? The average score was enough. The commercials for Puerto Rico and the long commercial breaks throughout the pageant got to be a little much at times.
The parade of nations was much better this year. This year they definitely did it right. I enjoyed hearing each delegate say their name and country. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoy seeing the national costumes. USA's firefighter costume dedicated to the events of September 11th was an excellent idea but it was Miss Colombia who won the Best in National Costume award while Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic got second and third respectively. Venezuela really worked her costume well.
As for this year's hosts, Daisy Fuentes was EXCELLENT. The last time she hosted was in 1995 and she was great then and she really gets into the spirit and has a great attitude. I hope they keep Daisy forever. I love her that much. Interesting to note that it was the 1995 Miss Universe pageant that sparked my obsession with pageants so I was glad to see Daisy again. As for Phil Simms, he was an entirely different story. That southern accent was too much at times and he was about as interesting as drywall. He also almost made a terrible mistake when he had to be reminded to send the other four delegates to the headphones so they couldn't hear the final question in advance! Brook Lee was pretty good acting as special commentator. She tried to be more sensual this year and there were some technical difficulties at times but Brook handled everything well. Marc Anthony's performance was okay. At least, he was the only performer. Any other performers would have been too much. I was surprised to see how short he is when he stood next to Daisy and Phil. And of course, I liked seeing Dayanara Torres, Miss Universe 93, in the audience cheering on her husband.
I also loved the little interludes including the delegates' picks for best smile, most athletic (which USA swept!), best figure (I agree with Slovenia) and personality. It was also interesting to hear the delegates' chat sessions like the one about international pageants and misconceptions or stereotypes of certain countries.

As for my predictions, I got 6 out of 10 and 2 honorable mentions, which is pretty good considering that I wasn't happy with my list. The ones I didn't get were Albania and… shock-of-all-shocks…my own Miss Canada! Why is it that I lose faith in my country at the wrong times??? I also thought it was interesting because I was reviewing my predictions for the past few years and look at something weird I found. I predicted Canada to be 4th in 1999 but Canada was 4th in 2000 and then I predicted Canada to be 10th in 2001 and Canada was 10th in 2002!!! Isn't that weird??? As for my picks that didn't make it, I really loved Italy and Turkey but I think the judges overlooked them. Both of them were stunning beauties and good speakers. USA didn't make it, even with her killer body, so Shauntay Hinton now joins USA's representatives from 1999 (Kimberly Pressler) and 1976 (Barbara Peterson) as the only Miss USAs that didn't make the semifinals. And of course Miss USA 1957, Leona Gage was disqualified for being a married mother of two. A lot of countries crowned their first black delegates like Sweden, Colombia, Honduras, Dominican Republic. Of these countries, I expected Sweden to be noticed because I admired her spunk. I had a feeling that Colombia, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic wouldn't make it just because they won the national costume awards and last year's delegates that won the costume awards (Korea, Philippines and Honduras) also didn't make the top 10. This is why I placed them as alternates along with Japan and Slovenia. I also made several top ten lists and I originally had Russia as my winner in many of them but her pictures in the preliminaries threw me off because she didn't stand the same way that she did during the final telecast and her gown wasn't exactly what I was expecting! Puerto Rico's delegate did not make the top 10, but they handled it very well. In 1993, when Miss Mexico (the host country) didn't make the semifinals, lost of people in audience booed throughout the night but there were no boos this year.



Winner=Russia-Oxana Fedorova

Winner=Germany-Natascha Borger*

1st RU=Panama-Justine Lissette Pasek Patino

1st RU=Italy-Anna Rigon

2nd RU=China-Ling Zhuo

2nd RU=Turkey-Cagla Kubat

3rd RU=South Africa-Vanessa Do Ceu Carreira

3rd RU=USA-Shauntay Hinton

4th RU=Venezuela-Cynthia Cristina Lander Zamora

4th RU= Venezuela-Cynthia Cristina Lander Zamora *



 6. Germany-Natascha Borger

India-Neha Dhupia *

 7. Cyprus-Demetra Eleftheriou

Russia-Oxana Fedorova *

 8. Albania-Anisa Kospiri

South Africa-Vanessa Do Ceu Carreira *

 9. India-Neha Dhupia

Sweden-Malou Hansson

 10. Canada-Neelam Verma

China-Ling Zhuo*



Dominican Rep., Colombia, Slovenia, Japan, Puerto Rico



Cyprus*, Panama *, Mexico, Nigeria, France

* = made actual top ten

The top ten introductory walk was nice. Albania was really the only surprise in top 10. But I enjoyed Anisa because she looked legitimately happy to be there. She is the first contestant from Albania in the pageant's history. She also threw in that Mother Theresa was born in Albania. Our new Miss Universe, Russia's Oxana Fedorova, is quite remarkable. She is an attorney who teaches civil law at the Ministry of the Interior in St. Petersburg where she is also working on her PhD. Even the Russian president commented on Oxana's beauty and Donald Trump seems very happy with his new queen. South Africa looks like a real pageant contestant and she never hid that fact. Her statements were also very intelligent and it was refreshing to hear her because today's pageants seem to be getting away from that. India is an MTV VJ in India and she had a lovely hairstyle. Miss Germany is a very interesting story. Originally she competed in Miss Venezuela 2000 (when Eva Ekvall won) as Miss Yaracuy but she did not make the top 10 at Miss Venezuela so she used her dual citizenship and moved to Germany where her father's family is and competed in and won the Miss Germany crown and got her chance to compete at Miss Universe! To do that sort of thing takes guts and I really admired Natascha for that even if she was a country-hopper but Miss Venezuela contestants are so strong that many of them would be very successful in international pageants. Claudia Moreno, Venezuela's representative in the year 2000 didn't actually win the original Miss Venezuela title but she went on to be first runner-up at Miss Universe! Cyprus was a pleasant surprise. I didn't think much of her until I saw her in the preliminaries and I was amazed at the vast improvement I saw! Canada's Neelam Verma from Etobicoke, Ontario is the first East Indian to represent Canada at Miss Universe. Of course, I was pleased to see my country in the top ten. At times, she appeared a little overconfident but that's probably what helped her to make it that far. Miss Panama feels like she is a citizen of the world because she was born in Ukraine and has lived in many places but never felt like a foreigner. China's first entry to Miss Universe was the charming Ling Zhuo who wants to start her own fashion clothing company. I was happy to see the most populated country in the world at the pageant and Ling was a great first representative. I didn't think much of her at first but her stage presence and personality made her so likeable! Hopefully this will encourage Chinese women. China has a one-child policy and the preferred gender is usually male so I hope that if China continues to do well in pageants that females will be more loved and sought after because they are important too. In the past, Miss Universe has had Miss Republic of China, which is actually another name for Taiwan, but this year, the real China actually participated for the first time. Finally, Venezuela makes its streak in the semifinals a cool 20 years. Cynthia reminded me on Jane Kaczmarek from the show "Malcolm in the Middle" and she was a good contestant. When she won Miss Venezuela, she looked like Marena Bencomo but she competed at Miss Universe, she looked like Claudia Moreno. Interesting transformation!

The evening gown competition was first and swimsuits were after which was unusual but it kept the audience longer to wait to see the girls in their swimsuits. The evening gown music was lovely. The different ethnic blends throughout the song made it sound like an adventurous journey around the world. Albania was first in a red gown that matched her lipstick. It looked nice, her hair was lovely and she worked the train well. Russia's gown was very avant-garde. It looked like a huge curtain or a maternity gown. I didn't really know what to think of it but the judges saw past the gown and gave Miss Russia the highest score. It must take a lot of confidence to be that self-assured in your beauty that you could wear anything, like even a garbage bag, and still be rewarded for it! South Africa was the classic pageant contestant, tried and true. Lovely in white, hand glued to her hip, and lovely hairstyle. That's the pageant contestant I like to see. India had a lovely black gown. It was about time that India wore a black gown and I really liked this one. It was glamourous and looked like it was inspired by Halle Berry's Oscar gown. I was disappointed at the low score though. Germany looked divine. She looked sexy but elegant at the same time. The low bust line and high slit up the skirt looked so nice and I really wish Natascha's scores were higher because she deserved them. Cyprus' gown was nice. I actually like the fishtail bottom although others have different opinions of it. She worked it well and I was pleased with Demetra's performance. Canada's gown had a nice pattern but I think she could have gone with something better. That gown didn't really flatter her figure. Panama's gown was nice. I liked the tassels especially around the off shoulder area and at the bottom of the skirt. The neckline of China's gown was lovely and the material was also very nice. Venezuela's how-does-that-stay-on gown was also sexy but classy. You could see later that there was see-through material helping to keep the gown in place. So to quote Julie Moran, "we saw a lot of white and petal pink, those colors really pop" but I also liked that India and Albania didn't wear the pastel colors because it added to the diversity.

For the swimsuit competition, it was a good idea to use white for the swimsuit color and I actually thought that was a long overdue idea. It looks sexier and many people thought it looked like an underwear competition! Kenya Moore, Miss USA 93 danced around in a sexy white bikini during the 1994 Miss USA pageant and it looked incredibly sexy so I'm glad they decided to use it now. Albania wore a one-piece. Of course, they had to have someone with a one-piece. It seems that they strategically always have at least one. Usually, I don't find the one-pieces to be very flattering but Anisa looked very nice. Russia looked great and she also broke records by obtaining the highest swimsuit score in the history of Miss Universe. She got a 9.88 and the previous record was held by Veruska Ramirez, Miss Venezuela 98 who got a 9.85. South Africa also looked lovely in swimsuit. She had a nice tone body. India's hips and thighs looked considerably bigger than the rest of her body. I'm sure Germany's incredible figure caused some eyes to almost pop out. She deserved a higher score. Cyprus also may have caused some eye-widening due to her large chest. She looked great. Canada looked fit. The judges may have thought her shoulders were too broad but her score was way too low. There must have been a mistake in the judging. Panama also had a nice tone body. China had a long frame and carried herself elegantly. Venezuela, of course, immediately whipped off her jacket and showed off her fit body.

Miss Universe 2002 SCORESHEET










South Africa
























The top 5 answered questions submitted by another delegate. Panama chose France's question asking what other country she would like to represent other than her own and why. Panama went straight for the crowd pleaser. She said she would like to represent Puerto Rico, at which point the crowd erupted in applause and cheers. She said that Puerto Rico embraced her in a way that she didn't feel at home so she would like to represent that enchanted land. Interestingly enough, China picked her own question at first, but Daisy made her pick another one and Nigeria's question was what was the biggest misconception about her country. China said that Western people think Chinese people are short, traditional and quiet but "LOOK ME!!!" It was an adorable answer and it is true that Ling is not short, traditional, or quiet and she just became all the more loveable. South Africa picked China's question, which asked what she needs to overcome. Vanessa said that she can be self-critical at times and if she doesn't achieve the goals she sets, she needs to get over that and then nothing can get in her way. A great answer. Venezuela picked Belgium's question which asked what she learned about herself by participating in Miss Universe. Cynthia said that human beings prepare skills to get their goals and she learned to appreciate that she comes from a great family. Then she used this opportunity to stray from the question and thank her family for helping her develop her skills and said that she is where she is today because of her family and she loves them and thanks them. Finally, Russia picked Costa Rica's question which was, "If your life was a videotape, what would you erase and what would you replay?" Through a translator, Oxana expressed in her beautiful voice that especially her childhood was a pleasant experience and that she would like for her life to be played from beginning to end, meaning that she has nothing to erase. Another nice answer.

Two awards were announced. Conveniently enough, Miss Puerto Rico won Miss Photogenic. The crowd erupted in applause and Isis looked like she didn't want to leave the stage. Miss US Virgin Islands won Miss Congeniality. So the friendliest contestant was also this year's tallest contestant at 6'2". She towered over everyone and you couldn't miss her!
Finally the final question which was submitted from Sydney, Australia was asked, "What makes you blush?" Phil Simms almost forgot to send the other delegates to the listening station and that would have been disastrous. Panama said it was honestly when people compliment her. China said, "Right now!" Then she went off getting the audience to cheer for her by saying when she was with her family and friends in Puerto Rico and yelled "Friends!" while pointing to the audience and she said she was so proud to be there and the first Miss China to be there. South Africa said in a little bit of a lackluster manner that being embarrassed makes her blush and she tends to be proud and doesn't take it easy if people make fun of her and she gestured while saying she has a stiff upper lip. Venezuela said, "Ooh-la-la" and then that when people say something cute to her (like a pick-up line), it makes her a little anxious and then she'd blush. Russia concisely said through a translator, "When I say the wrong things!"

Denise Quinones looked wonderful as she said her farewell. The old crown looked so radiant and I will miss seeing it because of the new Mikimoto crown with diamonds and pearls. I honestly don't care how expensive the new crown is, the old one is definitely better and has been a symbol of the pageant for 40 years so it upsets me to see another crown. This one will take some adjustment to get used to.

Finally, the 4th runner up was Venezuela, 3rd Runner Up was South Africa, 2nd Runner Up was China, and 1st Runner up was Panama at which point Oxana Fedorova of Russia became the first to capture the new Miss Universe crown. This is Russia's first win. In 1991, the USSR was 2nd Runner Up and Yulia Lemigova was an admired contestant but now Russia can rejoice in finally having won the Miss Universe title. A special thank you goes out to those who followed the quest for MMIISS UNIVERSE on Tom's Page of Miss Universe Mania. Here is a collage of the 75 delegates.