Secret Talks: Miss Universe to happen either in Israel or the Philippines

Manila, PHILIPPINES – Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart is currently in the Philippines to continue talks in having the 2019 Miss Universe happen in the country for the 4th time. Photos of Ms. Shugart, together with Miss Universe Philippines Creatives and Events Director Jonas Antonio Gaffud and Bocaue Bulacan Tourism Officer Renn T. Eusebio have surfaced afternoon of August 8, as they visited the Philippine Arena, most likely an ocular inspection of the venue for the 2019 edition of the pageant.

MUO’s Paula Shugart together with (left) Renn T. Eusebio and (right) Miss Universe Philippines Creatives and Events Director Jonas Antonio Gaffud during their ocular of The Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan

The Philippine Arena is the world’s largest indoor arena, a multipurpose arena with a maximum seating capacity of 55,000 at Ciudad de Victoria, a 140-hectare tourism enterprise zone in Bocaue and Santa Maria, Bulacan, Philippines about 30 kilometers north of Manila. And this ocular visit comes from the heels of another secret talks of hosting the pageant, and this time the interested city is Tel Aviv in Israel.

The Philippine Arena – the world’s largest indoor arena with a seating capacity of 55,000

Following the success of this year’s Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv and the positive reviews it received abroad, it appears the Israeli appetite for more glitz and glam has grown. The Eurovision Song Contest 2019 was the 64th edition which took place in Tel Aviv, Israel, following Israel’s victory at the 2018 contest in Lisbon, Portugal.

According to sources familiar with the discussions, representatives of the Miss Universe Organization, have met with Israeli producers in New York and even secretly visited Israel. “The goal … is to host the event as early as this year, but at the same time we are looking into the option of holding the 2020 event here,” said one familiar source. “And then, maybe, even though it’s a cliché, world peace can come of it,” he added.

Both sides have expressed a willingness to move forward with the idea, but more than a few obstacles exist, including the upcoming general election in Israel, which hampers communication with the relevant government ministries, and budgetary concerns.

Semifinalists of the Eurovision 2019 held in Tel Aviv, Israel

Unlike the Eurovision, where participants hailed from 41 European countries with normal diplomatic relations with Israel, over 100 countries take part in the Miss Universe contest, including some Arab countries who are in conflict with Israel. Their delegations’ entry into Israel, if they would even wish to come, would require the approval of special visas and the involvement of security agencies.

Miss Universe 2018 Pageant in Bangkok, Thailand

Miss Universe is the most widely viewed beauty pageant in the world. The competition was established in 1952, consists of beauty queens from across the globe and always makes headlines. If the talks come to fruition, Israel would benefit from a wave of positive publicity.

Reigning Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray from the Philippines during the Miss South Africa 2019 Red Carpet

To compare, this year’s Eurovision in Israel garnered some 200 million viewers, while almost 600 million people across the globe watched Miss Universe. Unlike Eurovision, which is always hosted by the previous year’s winning country, Miss Universe is hosted randomly and independent of the results.

Israel have only won once in Miss Universe via Rina Messinger-Mor in 1976.

Israel’s representative for this year’s pageant Sella Sharlin, 22, from Tel Yitzhak

Miss Universe Israel 2019 Sella Sharlin, 22, from Tel Yitzhak.

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— culled from the reports of Israel Hayom

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