Life & History of the Indonesian Beauty Pageants

09 Mar 2018 | Irina Silva

Brain, beauty, behaviour! These three qualities describe a true Indonesia woman who is apt for representing Indonesia at the international arena of a beauty pageant. Each year, representatives from each region compete in the prestigious national events, namely Puteri Indonesia and Miss Indonesia to prove their worth and although it looks different, both these beauty contests have similar criteria that they look at to choose the next beauty queens of the nation.

History of Pageant Lovers in Indonesia

Looking back in the era of the 70s, Indonesia people loved to follow the beauty pageants even though there was no participation from the country. In a way, they were already drowning in the fascinating world of pageants.

In the early 70’s, the country started its journey in Miss Universe in 1974 and it continued until 1977. 1980’s also saw a fair of participation from Indonesia when it participated thrice – in 1980, 1982 and 1983. Attempts to return to the pageants were largely laden by the Suharto-era ban on joining beauty pageants with swimsuit segments.


Life & History of the Indonesian Beauty Pageants


These attempts didn’t go unnoticed and the event Puteri Indonesia started entering the hearts of the people.

And so when in 2004, a man named Mukie Dardjati Muza came up with an idea to establish a website as a forum for lovers of beauty contests to exchange their ideas, the country did not forego this opportunity.

The forum idea came handy as the country saw the inception of its first national pageant “Puteri Indonesia” (Princess of Indonesia) in 1992. The pageant saw the crowning of Indira Soediro as the first ever queen of this major pageant who represented Indonesia in Miss ASEAN 1992.

She did amazingly in the international grounds and won the Miss ASEAN title that year. Although not getting full support from the government but the contest Puteri Indonesia still built its own place in the hearts of people.

The time to send a representation in a major international pageant only started in 1995 when Puteri Indonesia started choosing winners for the Miss Universe competition. That year Susanty Manuhutu was crowned for the representation at Miss Universe 1995.


Life & History of the Indonesian Beauty Pageants


After this year, the beauty pageant lovers slowly but steadily started appreciating the hard work and dedication that goes behind the beauty pageant. Of course, there were critics calling the beauty pageants just a show of beauty alone. However, the stereotype was refuted when knowing the other side behind their struggle.

The pageant organizers also understood that to make a beauty queen successful in the international arena, the strong fan support is essential. And that came around eventually when in 2005, Artika Sari Devi represented Indonesia in Miss Universe and she placed in the Top 15 finalists. This kick started a new buzz in the Indonesian people and the beauty pageants got a well-deserved hype in the country.

The same year Indonesia participated in another major international pageant, Miss World with Lindi Cistia Prabha and this set the tune for the pageant lovers in Indonesia. Country’s performance has been quite commendable with regular placements in the semi-finals since 2011, giving the people all the more reason to celebrate pageantry world.


Life & History of the Indonesian Beauty Pageants



Of course, Miss Universe placement in the Top spots in the years 2013 – 2016 has helped a great deal to gain the popularity.

Indonesian people have achieved a great love for the pageantry in these past few years, which mainly due to consistent hard work and zeal of the pageant organizations behind pageants like Puteri Indonesia and Miss Indonesia along with the ladies who give their sweat and blood for the preparations for the international arena.

And in the present day, this love has already grown ten folds, thanks to Kevin Lilliana who finally got a win in the Big4 pageant world with her success story at Miss International 2017. Though there’s still the same hurdle that the pageants have to cross but there is no denying that Indonesia is here to stay and rule the pageantry world with its spectacular queens.


Life & History of the Indonesian Beauty Pageants