By the early 2000s Halle Berry set precedent and made Miss World history when she became the first former beauty queen to win an Academy Award. Since 1995 Berry, who won the 1986 Miss USA World, has had a strong influence on beauty contestants as well as black performers on both sides of Atlantic. In addition to being one of the great actresses of the 21st century, Berry will be remembered as one of the most beautiful black representatives in Miss World history, alongside Aretha Rocke (Trinidad & Tobago’s delegate in 1982) and Jennifer Hosten (Miss World 1970) as well as Kayonga “Benita” Mureka (Zaire’s contestant in 1985) and Veronique Caloc (Miss France 1998). In 1998, the Miss USA Organization conferred Halle Berry the “Distinguished Achievement Award”; it is awarded to a former beauty queen who distinguishes herself by performance and influence in America.
Miss United States of America
Halle Berry first attracted attention at the beginning of 1986 when she reached the finals of Miss USA Universe — one of the world’s top beauty contest awards — in Miami,Florida. But before she could do that in this year, she had won two beauty pageant awards: Miss Teen All American Pageant 1985 and then Miss Ohio USA. In Miami, former host to the Miss Universe Pageant, the young Berry, who served as her own manager, finished second, ahead of 49 of America’s most beautiful and talented candidates. Each delegate was judged in three categories: swimsuit, evening gown, and interview. The judges were Rene Enriquez (Nicaraguan-born actor), Michael Young (performer), Kimberly Tomes (Miss Texas and Miss USA Universe 1977), Dave Robinson (singer), Waymon Tisdale (former basketball player), Mai Shanley (Miss New Mexico and Miss USA 1984), John Callahan (actor), Maria Remenyi (Miss California and Miss USA 1966), Christopher Hewett (actor), Miriam Stevenson (Miss South Carolina & Miss Universe 1954), Carol Connors (singer), and John Bolger (actor).
1-Texas 9.076 points
2-Halle Berry (Ohio) 8.640
5-South Carolina 8.443
8-North Carolina 8.426
Results: Second Round
1.Ohio 9.230………………..1.Texas 9.610…………1.Texas 9.510
2.Mississippi 9.215……….2.Ohio 9.240……………2.Ohio 9.360
3.Texas 9.100……………….3.Califor. 8.970………3.Califor. 9.177
4.Georgia 8.780…………….4.Georgia 8.910……..4.Geor. 8.760
5.SCarolina 8.744………….5.SC 8.870……………….5.NC 8.820
6.Illinois 8.588……………….6.NC 8.770……………….6.SC 8.760
7.Oklahoma 8.480………….7.Okla. 8.730…………..7.Miss. 8.660
8.Califor. 8.266…………..8.Illinois 8.580………….8.Illinois 8.610
9.NC 8.280……………………9.Mississippi 8.570……9.Okla. 8.490
10.Wyoming 7.890………10.Wyo. 8.370………….10.Wyo. 8.190
2. Halle Berry, Miss Ohio 9.226
6.South Carolina 8.791
7.North Carolina 8.597
Miss USA Universe 1986: Christy Fichtner (Dallas, Texas)
First Runner-up: Halle Berry (Ohio)
Second Runner-up: Tammi Tesh (Georgia)
Third Runner-up: Cindy Williams (Mississippi)
Fourth Runner-up: Kelly Parsons (California)
Miss Photogenic: Beth King (Miss Wyoming)
Miss Congeniality:Lisa Summerour-Perry (Miss New Jersey)
Because of her outstanding performance, Berry competed in Miss World 1986 in England. She was named delegate to the States to replace Brenda Denton, Miss New Mexico and Miss USA World, who had placed third in Britain in late 1985. Berry’s performance at the 35Th Miss United States comes as little surprise to the people who have followed the American contest; a result that had seemed almost impossible a few decades earlier. In the 70s and early 80s, three beauty pageant organizations had had black queens, but the Miss USA Organization did not make it until 1990, when the statuesque Carole Gist, who stands 1.82m tall, won the national trophy.
Sixteen years to the day before Miss USA 1986 Jennifer Hosten, a native from Grenada -an English-speaking Island on the Caribbean Sea – became the first black entrant to be crowned Miss World. But she was not the only one. By the end of the 1970s, Gina Ann Casandra Swaisson of Bermuda, another “Caribbean Queen”, won the global award in Great Britain. Two years ago, on July 26, 1977 Janelle Commissiong, Miss Trinidad Tobago — according to the New York Times “the black bombshell” – had become the first black winner in the 26-year history of Miss Universe. Then, in 1984, Vanessa Williams became the first black Miss America in Atlantic City, but her reign ended prematurely and was replaced by Suzette Charles, another black beauty.
Halle Berry in the Miss World 1986!
The final ceremony on 13 November, 1986, was held at the Royal Albert Hall in London before a crowd 8,000 spectators. About 77 countries and dependencies took part in this contest, including Gambia, Tonga and Isle of Man. In November 1986 Berry broke precedents by taking part in the global contest, where she finished among the top sixth. It was the first time in Miss World’s history that America sent a black entrant to London, home to the Miss World Organization.
There were some interesting anecdotes: Miss Bolivia, Claudia Arevalo Ayala, was a member of one of the most important Bolivian Volleyball clubs; Miss Ecuador was an English-teacher and a fashion model in her homeland; and Gibraltar, a tiny British dependency in Europe, became the smallest territory on the planet to send a representative to London. Curiously Maria Juarist Mateo Begoña, Miss Venezuela, had the most expensive evening gown in the event. Valued at no less than US$ 16,000! On the other hand, Poland sent a delegate to the global contest — in a land where the beauty contests had been traditionally forbidden by the Communist regimes. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka, a nation in crisis for years, also participated.There were 17 black entries from Africa, Europe and the Americas. It was the first time that France had sent a black delegate to the Miss World Pageant.
However the British pageant should not be left without making mention of Halle Berry. She was also the first black woman from an industrialized nation to make the semi-finals in the Miss World Pageant. Ohio’s Berry became the 36th American delegate to compete in Miss World, a contest where the USA did not have a great performance. In 1972, Lynda Carter – a famous entertainer in the late 70s and early 80s – was semi-finalist. On November 23, 1973, Miss USA, Marjorie Wallace, defeated Miss Philippines, Evangeline Pascual, and became Miss World. In the mid-70s, the States had suffered a serious setback when Annelise Ilschenko and Kimberly Marre Foley failed to make it into the semi-finals. Then, in the following years America could not win the title.
Since the start of the global event, Halle Berry was considered a leading candidate for the international title, along with Linda Marie McManus of New Zealand, Giselle Jeanne-Marie Laronde of Trinidad & Tobago, Maria Juarist Begoña of Venezuela, Alison Louise Slack of the United Kingdom, Roberta Pereira of Brazil, and Margot Montt of Chile.
Two and half weeks prior to the global contest, Berry and other 76 entries made a swimming photo shoot in Macao, a former Portuguese colony in Asia. At her arrival in Macao she was welcomed by a crowd of about 200 cheering well-wishers who saluted her with the traditional blessing: “Ni hao” (hello in Chinese).
In the first round, Miss USA World 1986 finished third in scoring, after Venezuela’s Maria Juarist Mateo Begoña and New Zealand’s Linda Marie McManus. Berry received 42 points to 46 Miss Venezuela and 44 for Miss New Zealand. South America’s delegate, Berry’s main rival, had been well-prepared for over a year by Osmel Sousa, the world’s most successful beauty pageant director in the latter half of the 20th century.
In the second round, Halle Berry had 27 points in the Swimsuit Competition.
1-Miss Ireland 39 points
2-Miss Trinidad & Tobago 34 points
3-Miss Austria 33 points
4-Miss Venezuela 30 points
5-United Kingdom 30 points
6-Miss Denmark 29 points
7-Miss New Zealand points
8-Miss USA Halle Berry: 27 points
9-Miss Ecuador 27 points
10-Miss Panama 22 points
11-Miss Yugoslavia (present-day Serbia) 21 points
12-Miss Philippines 20 points
13- Miss Costa Rica 20 points
14-Miss Colombia 20 points
15-Miss Swaziland 20 points
Miss World 1986: Giselle Laronde (Trinidad & Tobago)
First Runner-up: Pia Rosenberg Larsen (Denmark)
Second Runner-up: Chantal Schreiber (Austria)
Miss New Zealand
Miss Photogenic: Rosemary Elizabeth Thompson (Ireland)
Miss Personality: Dominique Martinez (Gibraltar)
Miss Africa: Illana Faye Lapidos (Miss Swaziland)
Miss Asia: Sherry Rose Byrne (Miss Philippines)
Miss Europe: Pia Rosenberg Larsen (Denmark)
Miss Americas: Giselle Laronde (Trinidad & Tobago)
Miss Oceania: Lynda Marie McManus (New Zealand)