The evolution of the “Miss Universe”: how beauty standards have changed – from the 1950s to the present day

Since 1952, the world has been choosing girls who are the embodiment of the beauty standards of their time. In our material, we traced how they have changed over the decades and what beauty the world is crazy about today.

Эволюция «Мисс Вселенной»: как менялись стандарты красоты — от 1950-х до наших дней

Norma Nolan, Miss Universe 1962; Georgina Risk, Miss Universe 1971; Rie Mori, Miss Universe 2007; Paulina Vega, Miss Universe 2014

For 70 years, Miss Universe has been the most prestigious beauty pageant in the world, with which only Miss World can compete. Of course, he could not stay away from political and public scandals, but Miss Universe retains its high status and authority to this day.

Эволюция «Мисс Вселенной»: как менялись стандарты красоты — от 1950-х до наших дней

Participants of the Miss Universe pageant, 1970

Today, as part of the beauty contest, the contestants undergo a preliminary competition and an interview with the jury, participate in numerous photo shoots. Girls are subject to a number of restrictions: during the preparation for the competition, they are prohibited from getting married and being in a civil marriage. In addition, for a year from the end of the contest, Miss Universe has no right to a serious romantic relationship – otherwise she may be subject to serious fines from the administration of the contest.

Эволюция «Мисс Вселенной»: как менялись стандарты красоты — от 1950-х до наших дней

Participants of the Miss Universe contest, 1999

In contrast to such rather severe restrictions, the winner receives a prize package with impressive cash payments, the right to live in elite housing, attend social events, study acting at the New York Film Academy and many others. But the main thing that every new Miss Universe gets is recognition of her beauty as a reference.

Эволюция «Мисс Вселенной»: как менялись стандарты красоты — от 1950-х до наших дней

Miss Universe Pageant, 2018

However, since the competition is held every year and the crown of 300 thousand US dollars does not stay with the winner longer than this time, it is not necessary to talk about one and only standard in the entire history of the competition.

In our article, we traced how the beauty standards at Miss Universe have changed over the entire history of its existence, which girls have attracted special attention from the world community.

The 1950s

The post-war period was marked by the revision of most standards in the modeling world and in the beauty industry: the flashy luxury that Hollywood personified was replaced by a trend for a healthy lifestyle and athletic form. That is why the Miss Universe contestants of the 50s look without deliberate glamor and chic — healthy, noble femininity has become a recognized standard of beauty.

“Miss Universe” of that decade is a girl with a thin waist, prominent hips and toned breasts. A figure striving for gold 96-63-94 cm — these are the parameters introduced into fashion by Christian Dior, who developed the innovative New Look concept in the 50s.

The 1960s

The 60s are rightfully considered the starting point of fashion in its modern sense — it was then that its wide course to the masses began, and designers paid attention to younger representatives of the fair sex, as a result of which the “golden mean” shifted towards teenage parameters: the feminine figure was replaced by a boyish one in the spirit of Twiggy, Linda Keith and Patty Boyd.

Beauty standards have noticeably “rejuvenated”, and fashion has ceased to be a privilege available exclusively to noble age ladies. This trend also affected the Miss Universe contest, whose participants in the 60s no longer correspond to the canonical image of femme fatale, which was extremely in demand a decade earlier.

The 1970s

In the 70s, the canons of beauty still depart from the infantilism and the spirit of adolescence, which unexpectedly prevailed in the 60s. The image of a girl of the new decade is imbued with the spirit of independence, strong femininity, glamour and sexuality – puberty fades into the background, pronounced “appetizing” forms take revenge.

The 1980s

Fitness training based on video tutorials by Jane Fonda, and then Cindy Crawford, marked an entire era in the world of beauty: the figure honed in the gym became a mandatory attribute of the model of that time, so that any of the contestants of the “Miss Universe” of the 70s could easily become Miss bikini. The cult of the body and pronounced individuality determined the course of beauty and fashion trends for many years to come.

The 1990s

One of the most ambiguous periods when directly opposite standards of beauty got along in one bundle — pronounced forms were met no less enthusiastically than androgyny. The fact that the thin and short Kate Moss was as much in demand as, for example, Naomi Campbell, completely different from her in terms of parameters, vividly illustrates this.

The winners of the “Miss Universe” of that decade are also not easy to adjust to certain parameters: external characteristics faded into the background, and the horizons, intelligence, sense of humor and good manners that the girls could demonstrate to the jury came to the fore. This trend was reflected in the protocol of the competition — now the girls had to not only successfully present their physical beauty, but also pass a series of interviews with the jury.


The Noughties continued and strengthened the tradition of the coexistence of various beauty standards — not only the trend towards androgyny, but also the parameters of “classical” femininity has intensified. And at the Miss Universe contests of those years, the latter was clearly preferred.


If in the nineties and noughties there was a special demand for unusual beauty, a unique set of physical and intellectual qualities that created a unique and recognizable image, then in the last decade beauty is measured by a much more modest set of criteria – first of all, comeliness, but no longer pronounced uniqueness.

The same can be said about the standards for the “Miss Universe” of these years: the winners are really very similar in type of appearance, which was characteristic of the contest only at the beginning of its existence.

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