Miss Universe 1952, Armi Kuusela (FINLAND)

Miss Universe 1952, the 1st Miss Universe pageant, was held on June 28, 1952 at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium in Long BeachCaliforniaUnited States. Thirty contestants competed for the crown.

 The first winner of the pageant was 17-year-old Armi Kuusela of Finland, who was crowned by actress Piper Laurie.

Her runner ups were;
1st Runner-up, Hawaii – Elza Edsman
2nd Runner-up, Greece – Ntaizy Mavraki
3rd Runner-up, Hong Kong – Judy Dan
4th Runner-up,  Germany – Renate Hoy

Top 10
 Mexico – Olga PĂ©rez-Castillo
 South Africa – Catherine Higgins
 Sweden – Anne Marie Thistler
 United States – Jackie Loughery
 Uruguay – Gladys Fajardo


On 22 February 1953, Kuusela took a journey round the world, during which time she met Filipino businessman Virgilio Hilario. Less than a year after being crowned, Kuusela chose to give up her Miss Universe crown on 4 May 1953 to marry Hilario in Tokyo after a whirlwind courtship.

They had met in March at a dance in Baguio, the summer capital of the Philippines, when Kuusela as Miss Universe had gone to the country for the International Trade Exposition. They honeymooned in the Hawaiian Islands, toured the United States and then Europe,before settling in Manila, in the Philippines where they had five children:


Hilario died of a heart attack on 7 September 1975, and Kuusela remarried to American diplomat Albert Williams on 8 June 1978. The couple moved to Barcelona, then to Izmir, Turkey, before settling in La Jolla, a community in San Diego, California, United States. As of 2011, she and her husband were still living there.

In 2012 Kuusela was awarded the Order of the White Rose of Finland, with the rank of Knight (First Class).

She visited her native town of Muhos in August 2014. Her visit was an official meeting with the city municipal manager. Kuusela is still active in her community, participating in charities and involved in cancer research at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.