All Miss Universe 2009 contestants at The Balmoral Club before the Welcome Event in Nassau, Bahamas. The Miss Universe 2009 competition will air live on the NBC Television Network at 9:00 PM ET from ATLANTIS, Paradise Island, Bahamas on Sunday, August 23, 2009.

BY Helen Herimbi

The once-popular pageant, Miss Universe, turns 60 this year. Imagine if they made it a competition only for women and other life forms (it is Miss Universe, after all, so other species should be allowed to enter) who turn the big Six-Oh! this year. Wouldn’t that be something? Alas, that’s not on the agenda.

Held at Credicard Hall in São Paulo, Brazil today, it will be screened on Star! tomorrow.

Remember when these sorts of affairs were broadcast live? We think Donald Trump still had his own hair back then. Sigh.

However, the most surprising thing is that there is still an overwhelming number of young women who continue to enter this pageant. Apparently, this year broke the 2006 record of 86 contestants as a bevy of 89 beauties will contend for the title.

Miss South Africa, Bokang Montjane (who also ranked in the Top 16 of Miss Earth in 2007), will be flying our flag high this week.

Last year, Miss Mexico, Jimena Navarrete, was crowned Miss Universe. The 22-year-old was only the second from her country to take the title in just under 20 years.

As it has become something of a popular sport, the faux pas in the Q&A section is probably the part of the competition with the highest viewership. Well, that and the swimwear section.

However, what’s always been a wonder to me is: what does Miss Universe actually win? Unless she’s got oil in her backyard, chances are she won’t stay true to a Beyoncé lyric and run the world.

Aside from bling and clothes, Miss Universe gets an undisclosed amount as a salary (ka-ching!) as well as an opportunity to further her studies (Navarrete was awarded a one-year scholarship to the New York Film Academy), a luxury flat and living expenses.

Where can you get an entry form for Miss Universe 2012 again?

‘Miss Universe’, Star! (Top TV Channel 179) tomorrow, 5pm.