Miss Universe Organization cuts ties with Crystle Stewart of Miss USA, Miss Teen USA
MANILA, Philippines — The Miss Universe Organization (MUO) has announced that it has parted ways with Crystle Stewart, the national president of the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants which are also under the franchise of the New York- and Thailand-based organization.
“The Miss Universe Organization today announces a new chapter for the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA brand and license. MUO, Miss Brand, and former USA national director Crystle Stewart have chosen to end their partnership,” the MUO said in a statement.
Stewart, herself a Miss Universe candidate after winning the Miss USA title in 2008, is also an American actress and host. She was tapped to helm the two iconic US pageants five years ago, but just last October, she was suspended from her posts after several Miss USA 2022 candidates accused her and her own company, Miss Brand, of rigging the pageant in favor of R’Bonney Gabriel.
The Filipino-American beauty queen-entrepreneur won the Miss USA title and would eventually become the 2022 Miss Universe last January.
A spokesperson for the organization was quoted in the statement as saying that after a “thorough and extensive investigation,” it found that the rigging allegations were unfounded.
“Sincere gratitude to Crystle and the entire Miss Brand staff and employees for their unwavering cooperation and transparency throughout the entire investigation. Their willingness to provide full assistance and support during that challenging time is a testament to their professionalism and integrity,” the statement read.
However, after much discussion and consideration, MUO and Stewart were unable to reach an agreement as to the latter and her company’s continuing involvement with Miss USA and the Miss Universe Organization.
“Crystle has decided to leverage the success she has had with the Miss USA Organization to pursue other entrepreneurial passions. We wish Crystle, and her team at Miss Brand, all the best and have no doubt that she will excel in this next chapter,” the MUO statement read, adding that the organization is grateful for the “longstanding relationship” with Stewart over the years.
“As a stakeholder in the Miss USA brand, Crystle and her team enhanced prize packages, increased visibility of titleholders, secured a remarkable location for the Miss USA pageant, and strengthened brand partnerships. Crystle has been a trusted friend of the organization, an exemplary titleholder, and has consistently demonstrated her unwavering dedication and commitment to both the Miss Universe Organization and the Miss USA pageant,” it further stated.
For her part, MUO president Paula Shugart expressed gratitude to Stewart for her help in “moving us through this tough time.”
Subsequent reports stated that fashion designer and VIP Pageantry CEO Laylah Rose has acquired the national franchises and assumed the position of Miss USA and Miss Teen USA president. “My goal as the head of the organization is to inspire women to always create new dreams, have the courage to explore it all, and continued to preserve integrity along the way,” she was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, MUO has renewed its partnership with The Roku Channel and Telemundo for the telecast of the annual Miss Universe pageant, as the organization mounts its 72nd edition in November in El Salvador.
Telemundo is a Latin entertainment company that creates and distributes content across Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas, including territories in the United States. While it has been carrying the annual pageant for decades already, streaming platform Roku got on board for the 71st edition held in Louisiana in January.
MUO announced that the recent renewal is for a multi-year distribution “covering the US streaming and broadcast markets in both English and Spanish languages.” News about the deal was first announced through the US-based Variety Magazine, and later shared on the pageant’s official social media pages.
“We’re very excited to be moving forward with The Roku Channel and Telemundo for the next few years,” MUO CEO Amy Emmerich said. “To me, this is a legacy brand that people should be watching for what we’re going to do next, not what we’ve done in the past.”
“It is a pleasure to build on our partnership with [MUO], and we look forward to exclusively bringing the live experience to The Roku Channel once again,” Roku Media Head of Content David Eilenberg. The 71st Miss Universe was the most streamed live program on The Roku Channel on its broadcast date, reaching millions of streamers with the live and on-demand replay of the competition during its broadcast weekend.
Ronald Day, president of entertainment and content strategy for Telumundo, said, “as the exclusive broadcast home of Miss Universe in the U.S., we are thrilled to bring the competition back to our audience live from El Salvador, a Latin American country full of beauty and rich in culture.”
The 2023 Miss Universe pageant will culminate in a grand coronation show on Nov. 18 in El Salvador. It will be produced by InventTV, a Los Angeles-based production company, with MUO President Paula Shugart and MUO owner Anne Jakrajutatip.
Gabriel will relinquish her Miss Universe title to her successor who will be chosen from a field of more than 90 international delegates, including the Philippines’ Michelle Marquez Dee, 2019 Miss World finalist, daughter of 1979 Miss International Melanie Marquez, and cousin of 2017 Reina Hispanoamericana Teresita Ssen Marquez. EDV