On Dec. 20. FOX will air the 2015 Miss Universe pageant. I know what you're thinking: Is that the one that Donald Trump owns, because, if so, I want no part of it. Well, rest assured, pageant girls and guilty-pleasure watchers — Miss Universe was the pageant that Trump owned, but he sold his stake in it to WME/IMG this past fall, so you can watch without a guilty conscience. But, what does the change in ownership mean for contestants? Did all of the goodies that the winner received come courtesy of Trump? What does Miss Universe win, anyway?
I know what your thinking again: Is this the prize package that was so thoroughly, completely ripped apart by John Oliver on Last Week Tonight? No, that was Miss America, which Oliver alleged doesn't give out nearly the amount of scholarship money that it claims. To which the Miss America pageant issued a statement saying:
John Oliver reaffirmed that the Miss America Organization (MAO) is the largest scholarship organization for women when he stated the number of scholarship dollars claimed "is more than any other women-only scholarship we could find," ... As with any scholarship the full amount awarded may not always be used as recipients’ plans change or evolve.
Miss Universe is different. According to the organization, this is what comes with the crown:
After the winner is crowned, they are whisked away to New York City and are prepped for a media tour where they make multiple appearances at media outlets, networks, charitable organizations, sponsor events, etc. The titleholders spend their reign representing their platforms, raising awareness and funds for charitable alliances, and traveling.
Basically, the biggest benefit to winning Miss Universe is a ton of exposure, plus the obvious bragging rights that come with winning such a widely watched competition.
Of course, that doesn't mean there aren't some goodies attached. Lots of goodies, in fact. Though this year's prize package hasn't been announced, the current reigning Miss Universe, Paulina Vega of Colombia, got a ton of freebies. Here's what she walked away with:
The Miss Universe 2014 prize package includes: a year-long salary as Miss Universe; luxury accommodations in a New York City apartment for the duration of her reign, including living expenses; a one-year scholarship from the New York Film Academy; a year’s supply of hair care products and tools from Farouk Systems, the makers of CHI Haircare; a new custom diamond tiara designed by DIC; a shoe wardrobe from Chinese Laundry Shoes; eveningwear by Sherri Hill; swimwear by Yamamay; denim by Carrera Jeans; skincare products from IMAGE Skincare; a year’s worth of sunless tanning products and services from Bold Sunless Tanning; two Business Class Round-Trip tickets to travel from USA to Asia provided by Delta; personal services including membership to Gravity Fitness and hair services from John Barrett Salon; modeling portfolio by leading fashion photographer Fadil Berisha; representation by Rubenstein Public Relations; dermatology and skincare services provided by Dr. Cheryl Thellman-Karcher; professional health and nutrition consultation by Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD and dental services by Dr. Jan Linhart, D.D.S.; casting opportunities and professional representation by the Miss Universe Organization; extensive travel representing sponsors and charitable partners; access to various New York City events including movie premiers and screenings, Broadway shows and launch parties; year-long consultation with a fashion stylist; and access to a personal appearance wardrobe.
OK, that's nothing to sneeze at. It boils down to a lot of goodies from whichever companies are sponsoring the competition this year.
So, good luck to all the contestants; we may not know exactly what riches they're walking away with, but we do know that the Miss Universe crown comes with a lot of swag.