• Miss U opens online voting


    PLUS: Highlights of National Gift Auction Gala
    As coronation night on January 30 gets closer, the 65th Miss Universe candidates are now juggling rehearsals on top of major events in their ever-jam-packed schedule.

    Details to the main event are also getting clearer by the day with a confirmation on the judges’ lineup and the latest announcement on how to vote for the public’s favorite candidates online.

    Without further ado, let’s get on with the round-up of highlights these past couple of days.

    Online voting for Miss Universe is officially live. The candidate with the most number of votes will automatically advance to the Top 12 come coronation night. There are four ways to vote: 1) registering and voting via vote.missuniverse.com; 2) downloading the official MISS U APP; 3) casting their vote using Twitter [with the hashtag #MissUniverse and the country’s specific hashtag found on the voting site]; 4) or by downloading the new mobile messaging app, Vodi. Active until January 28, fans can vote for their favorite candidate up to 10-times per day.

    It’s official: Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen of India will sit as one of the five judges in the competition. Sen, India’s representative to the competition the last time it was held in Manila, confirmed the news via Instagram account @sushmitasen47: “Life comes a full circle, from winning Miss Universe, to having owned its Indian Franchise to now… returning back to #Manila this time as a #judge at the 65th Miss Universe pageant! To all my #filipino friends who have been graciously asking… I can now confirm… yesssssss!!!! I am coming!!!”

    Model, designer and body activist Ashley Graham has arrived in the Philippines. A well-loved plus-size model, Graham shared her first photo in the country where she was seen eating ice cream at the Bohol Bee Farm with reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach. The shoot was reportedly for a segment that will be shown in the pageant. Graham, currently serving as judge for the popular model-search reality show America’s Next Top Model, will serve as the backstage host who will give audiences behind-the-scene access during the competition.

    After their courtesy call to President Duterte on Monday, the candidates changed from the casual chic attires to Filipino-designed gowns (by Rajo Laurel and Francis Libiran among others) for a gala at the Conrad Hotel. Wearing red, blue and white—the colors of the Philippine flag—the candidates walked the runway of the National Gift Auction Gala.

    A total of 86 Miss Universe-related memorabilia were auctioned Monday night. According to a report by news.abs-cbn.com, a miniature ox cart from Costa Rica, an ebony and gold chess set from Kazakhstan, a South African memorabilia of Nelson Mandela, a Spalding basketball signed by Shaquil O’Neal from the US, and artworks from Mauritius, Belize, and Angola were included in the auction. Additionally, the most expensive item on the list was a pair of aquamarine pendant earrings from Brazil with an estimated value of P120,000. Miss Philippines Maxine Medina reportedly offered a set of pearl necklace and earrings. Proceeds from the auction will go to Pass It Forward Foundation.

    Filipinas Vicki Belo, Rosalinda Bernales, Hidilyn Diaz, Alice Eduardo, Margarita Fores, Solar Lola, Lea Salonga, Nedy Tantoco and Tourism secretary Wanda Teo were honored as Women of Excellence during the gala night for “showing what it means to be empowered.”

    Also spotted at the gala event were Miss Universe 1991 Lupita Jones who joined the auction, Miss USA 2015 Olivia Jordan and Miss 2014 USA Nia Sanchez and local celebrities Matteo Guidicelli, Enrique Gil and Hayden Kho.



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