Celebrating 60 Years of Miss Universe: 28th Miss Universe 1979 Perth (Western Australia). History!

1.Road to Australia’79! There are still seven months to go, but the race to the 1979 Miss Universe is already under way: Miss France 1979, Sylvia Parera, is crowned by current MU Margaret Gardiner of South Africa.

2. Down Under (an open book in Oceania) hosts Miss Universe! Originally planned to take place in Buenos Aires (Argentina’s capital), the pageant is moved to Perth (Western Australia).

3. Venezuela makes history by winning the crown with its national delegate Maritza Sayalero (a university student) in front of a big crowd at Perth Entertainment Centre, besting Bermuda’s young sensation Gina Swaisson (the highest finish ever for any Bermudian). Sayalero’s win is the first win for Venezuela. She, on the other hand, is the country’s first Venezuelan contestant of Spaniard ancestry.

4. After a long travel from the Caribbean to Oceania, Antigua & Barbuda’s black beauty, Elsie Maynard, arrives in Perth (Australia) to attend the 28 th Miss Universe. Two years after (on November 1, 1981, following being a British colony for more than three centuries), her tiny island, famous for its cricket players on the world stage, gained its national independence within the Commonwealth of Nations.

5. As a result of Margaret Gardiner’s win on July 24, 1978, two South African-backed puppet regimes send black delegates,Bophutatswana’s Alina Moeketse & Transkei’s Lindiwe Bam , to Australia, but both African queens –whose countries/ bantustans are not recognized by United Nations– are eliminated in the preliminaries.

6. Despite enthusiam among the locals and the former titleholder Kerry Anne Wells, Miss Australia 1979, Kerry Dunderdale , does not even make the second round.

7. Inspired by the victory of her countrywoman Margaret Gardiner –Africa’s first MU award– in July 1978, Miss South Africa, Veronika Wilson, advances to semis to become one of the six most outstanding national delegates at Western Australia.

8. The international jury is made up of celebrities from several different countries:Australia,Finland,France, Italy, Spain, Thailand,and USA.

9. Belize ,a famously peace-loving place in Central America, enters into the semifinals for the first time with the black beauty of Sarita Diana Acosta, well ahead of the delegates from West Germany, Argentina, and Wales (a record that her still holds!). Miss Acosta reflects the multiethnic nature of the tiny British colony. After that, Belize’s performance has declined significantly. Historically, Miss Acosta is the first Central American woman in almost two years to qualify for the second round (and the first black woman in that region). As a British territory, Belize made its first appearance in July 1975. However it competed as an independent country for the first time in 1982 with Sharon Kay Auxilliou.

10. Although Apassara Hongsakula of Thailand , ex Miss Universe (1965), is one of the celebrities in the jury , the contienent of Asia is defeated in the first phase like occurred in July 1977.

11. The South American nation of Uruguay wins the Best National Costume title; its fist ever championship title.

12. Following a list of four winners from the Americas between 1975 and 1978, Miss Japan wins Miss Congeniality.

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