Steve Harvey, the host for the Miss Universe pageant, which was held on Monday morning, December 8, local time (Sunday night in Atlanta, Georgia, where the pageant was held) was once again at the centre of what could have been a faux pas but wasn’t actually.
Before crowning Miss South Africa the new Miss Universe, Mr Harvey announced winners in other categories, which included Best National Costume where he said Ms Philippines but the broadcast had cut to a photo of Ms Malaysia.
In case you missed it, in this video you can hear Mr Harvey saying that the contestants had competed in the Best National Costume competition earlier in the week, and that the winner was Miss Philippines. A still shot of Ms Philippines, Gazini Ganados, is flashed behind Mr Harvey.
But the woman beside him who was receiving the award was not Miss Philippines, but Miss Malaysia Shweta Sekhon, dressed in an elaborate costume designed by famed Malaysian couturier Carven Ong called “A Peranakan Indulgence”.
Understandably puzzled, Ms Sekhon tells Mr Harvey, “It’s not Philippines, it’s Malaysia.”
He responds, “Let me explain something to you. I just read that in the teleprompter. Ya’ll got to quit doing this to me. I can read. … Now, they are trying to fix it now. See? This is what they did to me back in 2015 – played me short like that.”
He followed this by a frustrated mutter of, “that’s crazy.”
Mr Harvey was referring to the pageant in 2015, when he made the mistake of announcing Ariadna Gutiérrez, Miss Colombia, as the winner instead of Pia Wurtzbach Alonzo, Miss Philippines, for which he apologized profusely but found himself at the butt of many jokes and internet memes.
BUT it turns out that the host was not wrong after all.
The organizers of Miss Universe at first sent out a tweet that said, “Voted BEST National Costume…Malaysia. #MissUniverse2019 Live on @FoxTV. Airing in Spanish in @Telemundo.”
This post has now been deleted.
At 1:39 (Singapore time) on December 9, the organizers corrected this by tweeting, “@IAmSteveHarvey had it right: Miss Universe Philippines Gazini Ganados is the winner of the #MissUniverse2019 National Costume competition! Congratulations, Gazini”
— Miss Universe (@MissUniverse) December 9, 2019
insider.com quotes a ‘source close to the Miss Universe Organization’ as saying that Miss Malaysia “was also being featured in the broadcast so that viewers could find out more about her elaborate costume, but she was not aware that Ganados’ name would be called first — prompting the confusion.”
Miss Malaysia was given the opportunity to talk about her costume, which was reportedly inspired by the Peranakan community and its wedding traditions. Designer Carven Ong’s crayons were featured in last year’s hit movie, “Crazy Rich Asians.”
The costume sports a pair of wings constructed from kebaya fabric, and had Pernakan goodies such as onde-onde, kueh koci, ang ku, kueh talam, kueh lapis, kueh sago and red eggs decorating the bottom of the dress.
The host jokingly told her, “Thank you, Malaysia. An outfit that nice, you ought to wear it again.” -/TISG
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