The first titleholder was Armi Kuusela from Finland for the first contest in 1952.
Since the governing body for the contest was acquired by Donald Trump it was renamed as the Miss Universe Organization and headquarters were relocated from Los Angeles to New York. The official logo since 1998 is known as "the woman with the stars" and is meant to represent the beauty and responsibility of women around the universe.
There have been many alterations to the event over the years, including the introduction of an interview section that has helped select the runners-up and winners since 1960. Since 2011 an extra semi-finalist was added to the 15 chosen by judges, allowing fans the chance to choose a semi-finalist through online voting.
Candidates must be between 18 and 27 years of age and as a rule they must be non-married. Limitations include the exclusion of transsexual applicants. However, since the 2012 edition, transgendered women are allowed to compete.
The winner is assigned a one-year contract with the Miss Universe Organization and her duties involve going overseas to build public awareness on diseases and AIDS. She is crowned with a 416-carat headpiece containing white gold and platinum, adorned with 1,371 gemstones.
The 2012 edition is held at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas and not in the Dominican Republic as originally planned. The Dominican government said the financial crisis in the country meant that it could not sponsor the show with the required $6 million.
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