1952 - Armi Kuusela (Finland)

When Kuusela won her country’s national pageant, Suomen Neito, on May 24, 1952, she was awarded a box of chocolates, a gold bangle, and a two-way ticket sponsored by Pan American Airways to the United States. On June 17, Kuusela took a flight to Long Beach, California and participated the first Miss Universe contest. Thirty contestants participated in the first Miss Universe pageant in 1952. The pageant was held on June 29, 1952, and Kuusela, as Suomen Neito, captured the crown. At her crowning she was only 17 years old. At the time she weighed 49 kg (108 lb), and her height was 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in).

Immediately after her winning there was a Finnish movie made of her, called Maailman kaunein tyttö (World’s most beautiful girl) where she played herself, and Tauno Palo acted Jack Coleman (opposite role). It was directed by Veikko Itkonen, with writing credits going to Mika Waltari.

On February 22, 1953, Kuusela took a journey round the world, during which time she met a Filipino businessman, Virgilio Hilario. Less than a year later after being crowned, on May 4, 1953 Kuusela chose to give up her Miss Universe crown before her year was finished to marry Hilario in Tokyo. It was a whirlwind courtship. They met in March at a dance in Baguio, the summer capital of the Philippines. Miss Universe had gone to the Islands for the International Trade Exposition. They honeymooned in the Hawaiian Islands, toured the United States and then Europe, before settling in the Philippines where they had five children: Arne Hilario (married with 3 children, lives in Chile), Anna-Lisa De Gari (married with 2 children, lives in Spain), Jussi Hilario (married, lives in Canada), Eva-Maria Hess (married with 2 children, lives in United States), and Mikko Hilario (lives in the Philippines).

Kuusela briefly managed the Metro Manila apartment complex, one of them is the Gilarmi Apartments and Suites in Makati, where she and Hilario lived before moving to an exclusive community called Forbes Park. Their house was on a road informally known as “Millionaire Street”. She was also in one film in the Philippines around this time.

MISS UNIVERSE 1952 Results
MISS UNIVERSE 1952 – Armi Helena Kuusela (Finland)
1st Runner-Up – Elza Kananionapua Edsman (Hawaii)
2nd Runner-Up – Ntaizy (Daisy) Mavraki (Greece)
3rd Runner-Up – Judy Dan (Hong Kong)
4th Runner-Up – Renate Hoy (Germany)
Top 10:
Olga Llorens Pérez-Castillo (Mexico)
Catherine Edwina Higgins (South Africa)
Anne Marie Thistler (Sweden)
Gladys Rubio Fajardo (Uruguay)
Jacqueleen “Jackie” Loughery

Special Awards:
Miss Congeniality – Myriam Lynn (Belgium)
Miss Congeniality – Catherine Edwina Higgins (South Africa)
Most Popular Girl in Parade – Jacqueleen “Jackie” Loughery (USA)

CONTESTANTS
Alaska – Shirley Burnett
Australia – Leah MacCartney
Belgium – Myriam Lynn (Marianne Mullender)
Canada – Ruth Carrier
Chile – María Esther Saavedra Yoacham
Cuba – Gladys López
Denmark – Hanne Sørensen
Finland – Armi Helena Kuusela
France – Claude Goddart
Germany – Renate Hoy
Great Britain – Aileen P. Chase
Greece – Ntaizy (Daisy) Mavraki
Hawaii – Elza Kananionapua Edsman
Hong Kong – Judy Dan
India – Indrani Rahman
Israel – Ora Vered
Italy – Giovanna Mazzotti
Japan – Himeko Kojima
Mexico – Olga Llorens Pérez-Castillo
Norway – Eva Røine
Panama – Elzibir Gisela Malek
Peru – Ada Gabriela Bueno
Philippines – Teresita Torralba Sanchez
Puerto Rico – Marilia Levy Bernal
South Africa – Catherine Edwina Higgins
Sweden – Anne Marie Thistler
Turkey – Gelengul Tayforoglu
Uruguay – Gladys Rubio Fajardo
USA – Jacqueleen “Jackie” Loughery
Venezuela – Sofía Silva Inserri

Notable Events:
a. Miss Uruguay Rosa Adela “Nenela” Prunell was replaced by Gladys Rubio for unknown reasons.
b. Since Miss Universe and Miss USA were held jointly, candidates from both pageants were eligible for the special awards.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armi_Kuusela
“Miss Universe Married To Filipino With Black Eye”
http://www.missuniverse.com/contestant_profiles/past
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=YAMxAAAAIBAJ&sjid=q98FAAAAIBAJ&pg=7236,5192101&dq=&hl=en
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miss_Universe_1952
http://www.missuniverse.com/

Photo Courtesy:
http://www.missuniverse.com
http://ultima-hora1957-1964.blogspot.com