Miss Earth is an annual international environmental-themed beauty pageant competition promoting environmental awareness and responsibility fully accredited and supported by the United Nations Environment Programme.

The contest is the third largest beauty pageant in the world in terms of the number of national-level competitions to participate in the world finals. Along with Miss World, Miss Universe, and Miss International, the competition is one of the Big Four international beauty pageants — the most coveted beauty titles among all the international pageant competitions.

The reigning titleholders dedicate their year to promote specific projects and often address issues concerning the environment and other global challenges through school tours, tree planting activities, street campaigns, coastal clean ups, speaking engagements, shopping mall tours, media guesting, environmental fairs, storytelling programs to children, eco-fashion shows, and other environmental activities.

The Miss Earth winner is the spokesperson for the Miss Earth Foundation, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other environmental organizations. The Miss Earth Foundation also works with the environmental departments and ministries of participating countries, various private sectors and corporations, as well as the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF).

The current Miss Earth is Lindsey Coffey of the United States who was crowned on November 29, 2020.

HISTORY

Inception

Carousel Productions launched the first Miss Earth in 2001 as an international environmental event with the mission of channeling the beauty pageant entertainment industry as an effective tool to promote the environmental preservation.

The pageant has tie-ins with Philippine government agencies, such as the Philippine Department of Tourism (DoT), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), as well as international environmental groups such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the American Global Release, to further its environmental advocacy. The delegates also take part in tree planting ceremonies, environmental and cultural immersion programs, sponsor visits and tours.

In October 2001, Miss Earth adopted the slogan « Beauties For a Cause », but it was in 2003 that the first « beauty for a cause » prize was awarded. In 2004, the Miss Earth Foundation was created to further the pageant’s causes and to work with local and international groups and non-governmental organizations that are actively involved in conservation and improvement of the environment. The Miss Earth Foundation campaign focuses on educating young people in environmental awareness.Its major project, “I Love Planet Earth School Tour », teaches and distributes educational aids for school children. The Miss Earth pageant has grown over the years, with more countries participating each year. The number of national Miss Earth pageants has grown on every continent as well.

In 2006 the Miss Earth pageant started to co-host the United Nations Environment Programme’s Champions of the Earth, annual international environment awards established in 2005 by the United Nations to recognize outstanding environmental achievers and leaders at a policy level.

In 2006, the host country Chile failed to meet the requirements of the host committee; the pageant was moved back to the Philippines. Since it began, the pageant has mostly been held in the Philippines, either in October or November, and televised nationwide via ABS-CBN (except in 2018 when GMA Network broadcast it) and Studio 23 (until it was shut down in 2014) with international delayed telecasts in more than 80 countries via Star World (now Fox Life and The Filipino Channel.

Eco-fashion design competition

On November 4, 2008, the first Miss Earth Eco-Fashion Design Competition was launched by the Miss Earth Foundation as an annual event for professional and non-professional fashion designers to come up with designs that are eco-friendly. The outfit designs are made from recyclable, natural materials, organic materials, and eco-chic designs or patterns that can be worn in everyday life or are runway worthy.

MAIN PAGEANT

The competition is open to young women aged 18 to 28.

Judging criteria

In the pre-judging, the Miss Earth delegates are judged with their intelligence and their knowledge on environmental issues and policies comprising 30% of the total score while the remaining criteria are as follows: 35% for beauty, 20% form and figure, 10% poise, and 5% attitude.

Final Conduct

In the early years of the pageant, from 2001 to 2003, ten semi-finalists were chosen at Miss Earth.

From 2004 to 2017, sixteen semi-finalists are chosen with the exception of the 2010 (10th) edition where only 14 semi-finalists were selected. The number has since then increased to 18 in 2018 and 20 in 2019.

Since 2004, Semi-finalists are cut to eight (8) finalists, then to the final four from which the runners-up and winner are announced. By 2019, the number of finalists were increased to ten (10).

The pageant’s winner is crowned Miss Earth; the runner-ups are named after Classical elements: Miss Fire (third runner-up), Miss Water (second runner-up), and Miss Air (first runner-up),[39] however, starting 2010 the runners up or the “elemental titles” (Air, Water, and Fire) are of equal importance and thus have the same ranking.

MISS EARTH

TITLEHOLDERS

Year Titleholders Name Country
2001 « Miss Catharina SVENSSON Denmark
2002 « Miss Džejla GLAVOVIC (dethroned) Bosnia and Herzegovina
2002 « New Winfred OMWAKWE (resigned) Kenya
2003 « Miss Dania PRINCE Honduras
2004 « Miss Priscilla MEIRELLES Brazil
2005 « Miss Alexandra BRAUN Venezuela
2006 « Miss Hil HERNANDEZ Chile
2007 « Miss Jessica TRISKO Canada
2008 « Miss Karla HENRY Philippines
2009 « Miss Larissa RAMOS Brazil
2010 « Miss Nicole FARIA India
2011 « Miss Olga ÁLAVA Ecuador
2012 « Miss Tereza FAJKSOVA Czech Republic
2013 « Miss Alyz HENRICH Venezuela
2014 « Miss Jamie HERRELL Philippines
2015 « Miss Angelia ONG Philippines
2016 « Miss Katherine ESPIN Ecuador
2017 « Miss Karen IBASCO Philippines
2018 « Miss Nguyễn PHUONG KHANH Vietnam
2019 « Miss Nellys PIMENTEL Puerto Rico
2020 « Miss Lindsey COFFEY United States

Trivia & Facts

Delegates

In 2003, Vida Samadzai, an Afghan woman, now residing in the United States, received press attention after she competed in a red bikini.

Samadzai was the first Afghan woman to compete in an international beauty pageant in almost three decades, but the fact that she wore a bikini caused an uproar in her native country.

In 2005, a Pakistani beauty queen, Naomi Zaman, was the first Miss Pakistan World winner to participate in Miss Earth, and is the first delegate from Pakistan to compete in any major international pageant. Beauty pageants are frowned upon in Pakistan.

Miss Tibet Earth 2006, Tsering Chungtak, the first Tibetan to represent Tibet in any major international beauty pageant, made headlines when she drew international attention towards the Tibetan struggle for freedom. She also advocated for the boundaries of acceptable social etiquette towards modernity, in a traditionally conservative Tibetan culture, where most grown women wear ankle-length dresses. Nevertheless, her participation in the pageant received approval from the Dalai Lama.

Carousel Productions licensed the Miss Cuba organization in 2007 to select the first Cuban representative at Miss Earth. Ariana Barouk won; she became the first Miss Cuba in several decades, and competed at the Miss Earth Pageant.

Also in 2007 pageant, Miss Earth made history when delegates from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Tibet all competed together for the first time in an international pageant in spite of political sensitivities.

In 2008, the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan, one of the world’s most isolated nations,[58] sent its first Miss Bhutan, Tsokye Tsomo Karchun.

Rwanda also sent its first ever Miss Rwanda national winner, Cynthia Akazuba; both of them competed at the Miss Earth 2008 pageant.

In 2009, Beauties of Africa, Inc., the franchise holder of Miss Earth South Sudan sent Aheu Kidum Deng, Miss South Sudan 2009, who stands 196 cm (6 feet and 5 inches), and is the tallest documented beauty queen ever to take part in any international beauty pageants.

Palestine debuted in one of the Big Four pageants in 2016 via Miss Earth when Nathalie Rantissi represented Palestine with the approval of Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the State of Palestine and Palestinian National Authority, where she made a courtesy call at the Moukata Palace prior to her departure to participate in the pageant. However, Miss Palestine refused to wear a bikini in the grand final of Miss Earth 2016.

Also in the 2016 edition of the pageant, Miss Iraq Organization sent Susan Amer Sulaimani as Iraq’s first representative since 1972 in Big Four pageants to participate in Miss Earth 2016. However she was the only one who wore a dress instead of a bikini during the pageant’s press-conference.

In the 2017 pageant, Miss Rwanda Honorine Hirwa Uwase appeared in the swimsuit competition wearing a gown, maintaining a long-held Rwanda tradition of not wearing bikinis in public.

Miss Lebanon 2018 Salwa Akar received international press attention when she was stripped of her title in Lebanon, while participating in Miss Earth 2018 pageant after she posted a photo in Facebook with her arm around Miss Israel’s Dana Zerik and making peace signs. Lebanon and Israel are in a long standing state of war. As a result, she was unable to continue her participation in the Miss Earth pageant. In a press release, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Ofir Gendelman, reacted on Akar’s dethronement and condemned the « Lebanese apartheid. »