In a surprising turn of events, Jimena Navarette beat out 82 other hopefuls, to include Ms. Jamaica, Yendi Phillipps, and Ms. Australia, Jestinta Campbell, to walk away with the 2010 Miss Universe Pageant. Navarette, who has been modeling since she turned 15, is Mexico’s second Miss Universe, joining Lupita Jones, who won the Miss Universe pageant in 1991. Navarette’s victory blocked Miss Venezuela’s Marelisa Gibson from bringing a third consecutive Miss Universe title back to the South American Country. Navarette and Phillips each took first and second in both the swimsuit and evening gown competitions, with Navarette winning the evening gown category & Phillips taking best swimsuit.
The telecast was hosted by Today Show’s Natalie Morales and Bret Michaels. There were nine celebrity judges at this year’s pageant, including Chynna Phillips, Jane Seymour, actors Chazz Palminteri and William Baldwin, magician Criss Angel and former supermodel Niki Taylor.
The United States was represented by Miss USA Rima Fakih, a 24-year old Lebanese immigrant and the first Muslim Miss USA. Fakih was eliminated after the opening round. Fakih has caused recent controversy amongst Muslim Americans after speaking out against building a mosque adjacent to Ground Zero in New York City several days before the Miss Universe pageant. “I totally agree with President Obama with the statement on Constitutional rights of freedom of religion,” Fakih recently told Inside Edition, “I also agree that it shouldn’t be so close to the World Trade Center. We should be more concerned with the tragedy than religion.”
The 2010 Miss Universe Pageant was held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, in Las Vegas.