South East Asia’s rise in International Beauty Pageants through the decade

24 Dec 2019 | Camilla Suarez

Back in 70’s and 80’s, Europeans and blondes dominated the international beauty pageants and in late 90’s and early 20’s we saw the rise and then dominance of Latin America but we have seen a massive rise in the power and dominance of the South East Asian beauties in the last 10 years.

The delegates of the South East Asian countries have performed exceedingly well at the International beauty pageants making them one of the strong contenders for the title. The South East Asian countries have always been supportive and a big cheerleader for their beauty queens. Thus, making them more confident and dedicated towards giving their best on stage.

We have listed down top 14 winners from South East Asian countries at International beauty pageants which makes it clear that South East Asian beauties have rose to power to dominate International beauty pageants in the last 10 years. 

Megan Young from Philippines was crowned Miss World 2013 on 28th September 2013 at Bali Nusa Dua International Convention, Indonesia. Megan Young’s win at Miss World 2013 marked the first and only win by Philippines till date. Megan was born in Virginia and moved to Castillejos, Philippines when she was ten. She began studying filmmaking at De La Salle- College of Saint Benildle. She was named Miss World Philippines 2013 on 18th August 2013 which gave her the authority to represent the country at Miss World 2013 competition. During the preliminaries, the diva also won ‘Top Model’ competition, was placed second in People’s Champion, was placed fourth in Multimedia Challenge and fifth in Beach Beauty contest. Megan was confident, dedicated and self-assured that she will be able to win the crown for her country and she did. Megan also received Continental Queen of Beauty title as Miss World Asia 2013. The judges, contestants and especially the people of Philippines were impressed and super proud of a girl who went onto win the crown for the country.


Megan Young from Philippines Miss World 2013


Pia Alonso Wurtzbach of Philippines was crowned Miss Universe 2015 on 20th December 2015. She is a Filipina-German model, actress and beauty queen who has served as UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Asia and Pacific since 2016. The diva started her pageant career with Binibining Pilipinas 2013 where she was named the first runner-up. She participated again in Binibining Pilipinas 2014 where she was placed in the top 15 and failed to make a spot in the top 5. Pia was not ready to give up yet and participated in Binibining Pilipinas 2015 and won the title after which she represented Philippines at Miss Universe 2015 and won the crown for her country.



Pia Alonso Wurtzbach Miss Universe 2015


Catriona Elisa Magnayon Gray was crowned Miss Universe 2018 on 17th December 2018. She is Filipino-Australian model, singer, visual artist and a beauty queen. Catriona was not new to the pageantry when she participated in the Miss Universe 2018 competition. She had previous won Little Miss Philippines at the age of five, Miss World Philippines 2016 where she won various special awards including best in swimsuit, evening gown, fashion runway and talent. She also participated in Miss World 2016 where she was placed in the Top 5 by winning the Beauty with a Purpose project. She also won Multimedia Award and was the first runner up for the Talent Award. During the competition of Binibining Pilipinas 2018, Gray along with Binibining Pilipinas 2018’s title also won contest awards including Best in National Costume, Evening Gown, Swimsuit. In Philippine beauty pageant history, Gray is the first Filipina to represent the country in both the Miss World and Miss Universe competitions, and the second to represent the Philippines in two major international pageants, the first being Carlene Aguilar in 2005. In beauty pageant history, Gray is the most successful Asian pageant crossover by placing high in both biggest international beauty pageants, Miss World and Miss Universe competitions.


Catriona Elisa Magnayon Gray Miss Universe 2018


Jamie Herrell of Philippines was crowned Miss Earth 2014 on 29th November 2014. Jamie is 25 years old and stands 175 cm tall. She is a Filipino-American actress, TV host, news anchor, dancer and beauty queen. She competed in the Miss Resorts World Manila 2013 pageant, where she was unplaced. She won three titles in 2013: Sinulog Festival Queen 2013, Miss Mega Cebu 2013, and Reyna ng Aliwan 2013. Jamie participated and won Miss Philippines Earth 2014 after which she represented Philippines at Miss Earth 2014. After winning the title of Miss Earth 2013, Jamie joined members of Eco Waste Coalition in Manila to campaign against the use of firecrackers to avoid injuries and pollution during New Year revelries.



Jamie Herrell Miss Earth 2014


Angelia Ong of Philippines was crowned Miss Earth 2015 on 5th December 2015. Ong was not new to the pageantry world as she had competed and finished as Second Runner-Up at the Miss Manila 2014 pageant and won Best in Long Gown and Press Choice Award. She later competed at the Binibining Pilipinas 2011 pageant, representing Iloilo City, and received the People's Choice Special Award as the ‘Face of Binibining Pilipinas 2011’. Angelia participated in Miss Philippines Earth 2015 and earned the right to represent Philippines at Miss Earth 2015 after winning the competition. During the competition of Miss Earth 2015, Angelia won silver medal for the Miss Friendship award and a bronze medal for the evening gown competition. Angelia was the first to win back-to-back for her country in Miss Earth.


Angelia Ong Miss Earth 2015


Karen Ibasco of Philippines was crowned Miss Earth 2017 on 4th November 2017. She is Beauty pageant titleholder, Medical Physicist, Former College Instructor, and Earth Advocate. Ibasco participated and won the Miss Philippines Earth 2017 on July 15, 2017 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City and earned the right to represent the Philippines at Miss Earth 2017 pageant. She was the 4th Filipina to win the Miss Earth crown and the 3rd in the last four years.


Karen Ibasco Miss Earth 2017


Phuong Khánh Nguyen of Vietnam was crowned Miss Earth 2018. She is the first Vietnamese woman to win the Miss Earth title. Nguyen was 15 when she first watched Miss Earth and she instantly decided that she wants to represent her country at the pageant. Her elder brother was a makeup artist to a model during the pageant thus, helping and supporting her to achieve her goal. Nguyen was placed second runner-up at Miss Sea Vietnam Global pageant in April 2018. She represented Vietnam at Miss Earth 2018 and won the title by the end of the event. During the competition, she won gold medals for National Costume, Evening Gown and silver medal for Swimsuit competition. Nguyen’s win marks Vietnam’s first win at one of the famed Big Four International beauty pageants.


Nguyen Phuong Khánh Miss Earth 2018


Bea Rose Santiago of Philippines was crowned Miss International 2013 on 17th December 2013. Bea is 29 years old and stands 175 cm tall. She is a Filipino-Canadian actress, model and a beauty queen. Her experience in the pageantry began in 2011 edition of Mutya ng Pilipinas, where she won the Mutya ng Pilipinas Overseas Communication title. She later represented Philippines in Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International 2012 where she was placed in the Top 10. Bea Santiago was crowned Binibining Pilipinas International 2013 and Binibining Avon special award. She later went onto represent Philippines at Miss International 2013 and winning the title by defeating 66 other contestants. She dedicated her crown to the victim of Typhoon Haiyan.


Bea Santiago Miss International 2013


Kylie Verzosa represented Philippines at Miss International 2016 on 27th October 2019. She was crowned Miss International 2016 by Edymar Martinez from Venezuela. Kylie is 27 years old and stands 174 cm tall. She is a Filipino actress, model and beauty queen. Verzosa participated at the Binibining Pilipinas 2015 where she was placed in the Top 15. She joined Binibining Pilipinas once again in 2016 and this time she won the title of Binibining Pilipinas International 2016 which allowed her to represent Philippines at Miss International 2016. She participated and won the title of Miss International 2016 making her country proud.


Kylie Verzosa Miss International 2016


Kevin Lilliana from Indonesia won the title of Miss International 2017 on 14th November 2017. She was crowned by Kylie Verzosa as her successor by the end of the event. Kevin is 23 years old and stands 176 cm tall. She is an Indonesian model and beauty pageant winner. Before Miss International 2017, Kevin won Puteri Indonesia 2017 where she represented the province of West Java. She was placed the first runner-up and won the title of Puteri Indonesia Lingkungan 2017 in addition to winning Traditional costume and first runner up for Miss Talent. Kevin Lilliana represented Indonesia at Miss International 2017 and was crowned by the end of the event along with Miss Best Dresser special award.



Kevin Lilliana Miss International 2017


Sireethorn Leearamwat was crowned Miss International 2019 on 12th November 2019. Sireethron’s win marked Thailand’s first win at Miss International pageant. She is 26 years old and stands 175 cm tall. She is a Thai beauty and outside pageantry she works as a pharmacist. She began her pageantry career in 2019 as she participated in Miss Thailand 2019 competition.  She was selected as one of the representatives from Central Thailand to participate in the main competition. In Miss Thailand 2019, Leearamwat was crowned by the end of the event receiving her rights to represent Thailand at Miss International 2019. She participated in Miss International 2019 and was eventually crowned by the end of the night.


Sireethorn Leearamwat Miss International 2019


Ariska Putri Pertiwi from Indonesia is the only South East Asian beauty to win the title of Miss Grand International 2016. She is 24-year-old and is a student and a professional model. The diva joined Puteri Indonesia 2016 on 19th February 2016 representing North Sumatra and was placed as third runner-up by the end of the event. She went onto represent Indonesia at Miss Grand International 2016 and successfully won the crown on 25th October 2016. Ariska became the first Asian woman to win the title of Miss Grand International and marked history as the first Indonesian woman to win an International beauty pageant. She also won the title for Best National Costume in the competition.


Ariska Putri Pertiwi Miss Grand International 2016


Mutya Johanna Datul was crowned Miss Supranational 2013 on 6th September 2013. Mutya is 27 years old and stands 173 cm tall. She is a Filipino fashion model, actress and beauty queen who competed and was eventually placed in the Top 10 at Mutya ng Pilipinas 2012. She unfortunately failed to win the crown and decided to join local pageants to support her family. Mutya was selected as one of the 50 contestants for Binibining Pilipinas 2013 where she was awarded Binibining Photogenic and Binibining Best in Evening Gown. She was ultimately crowned as Binibining Pilipinas Supranational 2013 attaining her the right to represent Philippines at Miss Supranational 2013. During her competition at Miss Supranational 2013, Datul was awarded Miss Supranational Personality in preliminary event and by the end of the final event, she was crowned Miss Supranational 2013. Her win was marked as an historic one as she became the first Asian and Filipino to win Miss Supranational title.


Mutya Johanna Fontiveros Datul Supranational 2013


Anntonia Porsild of Thailand was crowned Miss Supranational 2019 on 6th December 2019. She is 22 years old and is of Thai-Danish origin. She is currently studying advertising and public relations major at Stamford International University. Anntonia is no new to the pageantry world as she came into light when she was a contestant on the first season of television show The Face Thailand in 2014/15. She proudly represents Thailand at an International level.


Anntonia Porsild Miss Supranational 2019