While watching Miss Universe, there are a few thoughts that will run through the average person's mind. "How are those headdresses not giving everyone a giant migraine?" "How many crunches do you think I need to do a day to get Venezuela's abs?" And most importantly, "What do these women even win?" After all, if I'm expected to craft a ridiculous outfit based on my heritage, give up cheeseburgers for what is probably months, and prance around on stage in a bikini in front of millions, I definitely want an awesome prize. Unfortunately, the actual package these women are offered is nowhere near what they deserve for their hard work. Although prizes from the pageant's sponsors, like Chi, are typically included, the main Miss Universe prize boils down to handing Miss Universe a full time job. And, in my opinion, not a very good one.
According to the organization itself, here's how it goes:
Millions of viewers from around the world tune-in each year to see who will win the coveted crown and have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve as an icon for women across the globe. During their reign, these women are given the tools to be personally and professionally enriched through work with the organization helping to cultivate their personal career goals, humanitarian fellowship and a voice to affect positive change in the world.
Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA are immediately relocated to New York City where they work closely with their respective charitable alliances. Although these respective roles involve long hours and hard work, professional relationships are gained while traveling extensively as a goodwill ambassador on behalf of the organization. Titleholders have gone on to high-profile careers in government, business, finance, broadcasting, as well as film and television. The Miss Universe Organization continues to set the bar for beauty pageants of its kind, and will continue to spotlight the most accomplished women for generations to come.
The living in New York rent free for a year thing is pretty cool, and it definitely sounds like a big resume booster, but, um... the long hours and the hard work? Haven't they been doing this in preparation to compete in this pageant? It would seem to me that the best possible prize you could give a Miss Universe contestant is a long vacation.
The pageant hasn't been too forthcoming about its offerings for 2015, but we do already know that it includes a cash prize of $20k, essentially saying that a lifetime of doing pageants, prepping, and winning what's one of the highest honors in the pageant world is worth less than a year's living wage. Um, Miss Universe? You might want to work on that before next year.