In Celebration of the First Ever Miss Universe Armi Kuusela

21 Aug 2018 | Angelique Reyes

Hailing from Finland, Armi Helena Kuusela, was the first ever beauty queen who won the title of Miss Universe in the year 1952. This former beauty queen and model turned 83 years old on 20th August 2018.

Kuusela was attending college in Porvoo when she won Finlands’s national pageant named Suoman Neito, and as a reward, she received a box of chocolates, a gold bangle and a return ticket to the United States sponsored by Pan American Airways.


In Celebration of the First Ever Miss Universe Armi Kuusela


Armi was 17 years of age when she represented Finland at the first ever Miss Universe held in California in 1952. The pageant was held on held on 28th June 1952 where only 30 contestants competed for the title and Armi stood at the top as she was crowned by Hollywood actress Piper Laurie.

Immediately after winning she bagged a role in a Finnish movie ‘Maailman kaunein tyttö’ (The World's Most Beautiful Girl) where she played herself and Tauno Palo played the role of Jack Coleman.


In Celebration of the First Ever Miss Universe Armi Kuusela


But as the fate would have it, Kuusela gave up her crown and her acting career shortly before her reigning year was over not just for anything but for the love of her life! Armi got married to Filipino businessman Virgilio Hilario, in the year 1953, who she met while on tour on her duty as Miss Universe. The two met in Philippines at the International Trade Exposition. Kuusela and Hilario settled in Manila, Philippines and had 5 children. She even appeared in a film in Philippines during that time.

After the death of Hilario in 1975, she remarried in the year 1978, this time to American diplomat Albert Williams. They are settled in San Diego, California.


In Celebration of the First Ever Miss Universe Armi Kuusela

(Photo Credits: Miss Universe Facebook Official)

Kuusela is currently involved in charity work and cancer research at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. In the year 2012, Kuusela was awarded the Order of the White Rose of Finland, with the rank of a Knight, First Class.

Armi wants to be remembered for more than being the first ever Miss Universe. She is not just a beauty queen but also an actor and a social worker who has brought immense pride and joy to her country. She is not just Finnish anymore but is accepted as a queen of the world with her charm and support to every person who has ever needed it. We wish her the heartiest congratulations and a very happy birthday!