advocacy, activism and philanthropy

Miss Universe 2018 judges: 7 powerful women make history in Bangkok, Thailand

Miss Universe 2018 will feature seven influential women in its board of judges. This is the first time the international beauty pageant had an all-female judging panel since it started in 1952.

The judges during the preliminary competition on December 13, 2018 at the IMPACT Arena in  Muang Thong Thani, Pak Kret, Bangkok, Thailand will be the same judges during the coronation night on December 17, 2018 at the same venue. Here is the list of the judges:


1. Bui Simon

Born Porntip Nakhirankanok on February 7, 1969 in  Chachoengsao, Thailand, Simon is a beauty queen and a philanthropist. She married American real estate developer Herb Simon, 84, in 2003.

Bui is one of the only two Miss Universe titleholders from Thailand. She was crowned in 1988 while the other one, Apasra Hongsakula, was crowned in 1965.

In 2002, Bui created a non-profit called Angels Wings Foundation, which helps underprivileged children in Thailand. Currently, she is a distinguished advisor of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and is one of the Board of Regents of Pepperdine University.


2. Iman Oubou

Oubou is a beauty queen, cancer research scientist and self-made entrepreneur who founded digital media brand and online publication SWAAY Media.

Born in Morocco in 1999, Oubou was 15 years old when she and her famiy moved to the United States. She earned a master’s degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Colorado Denver.

In 2015, Oubou was crowned Miss New York and became second runner-up at Miss USA. She is the first Moroccan woman to be in the Miss Universe jury.


3. Janaye Ingram

Born in Camden, New Jersey, United States, Ingram is a beauty queen and political organizer. In 2004, she competed in Miss USA as Miss New Jersey but did not place.

Ingram earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Clark Atlanta University and her master’s degree in Nonprofit Management at The New School’s Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy. She is a Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network board member and the National Action Network national executive director.

In 2017, Ingram served as the Head of Logistics for the Women’s March. She is also a co-founder of the scholarship campaign called Ambassadors of Hope and the Airbnb director of national partnerships.


4. Liliana Gil Valletta

Born in Bogota, Colombia, Valletta moved to the United States when she was a teenager. She is married to Chris Valletta, the Mission Athletecare co-founder, a former NFL player and “The Apprentice” Season 4 contestant.

Liliana earned her bachelor’s degree in Business at Southwestern Adventist University and an MBA from the University of Colorado. She became Johnson & Johnson’s youngest female executive in 2000.

In 2010, Liliana co-founded XL Alliance, which rebranded to the marketing consultancy CIEN+ in 2016. She is also the co-founder and CEO of the co-founder and CEO of the big data analytics tech-firm CulturIntel.


5. Michelle McLean

Born in Windhoek, South West Africa (now Namibia) on July 31, 1972, McLean is still the only Miss Namibia to be crowned Miss Universe. On May 9, 1992, Miss Universe 1991 Lupita Jones of Mexico crowned McLean as Miss Universe 1992 at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok, Thailand.

Prior to Miss Universe 1992, McLean represented Namibia in Miss World 1991. She was fourth runner-up.

In 1992, McLean founded the Michelle McLean Children’s Trust, which charitable organization that works for children in Namibia. In 2000, she funded the building of the Michelle McLean Primary School in Windhoek.


6. Monique Lhuillier

Born in Cebu City, Philippines on September 15, 1971, Lhuillier is a fashion designer who is based in Los Angeles, California, United States. After attending Saint There’s College in Cebu and Chateau Mont-Choisi in Lausanne, Switzerland, she studied Design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

In 1996, Lhuillier married Tom Bugbee, who is the current Monique Lhuillier CEO. She started her eponymous fashion brand after their wedding.

Among Lhuillier’s high-profile clients are Britney Spears, Blake Lively, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez, Demi Lovato, Melania Trump and Michelle Obama. In 2017, the Filipino-American fashion designer won Best Bridal Fashion Show at the Elle International Bridal Awards.


7. Richelle Singson-Michael

Singson-Michael is the daughter of Filipino politician and businessman Chavit Singson. She served as the Host Committee Chairman of Miss Universe 2017, which was held in the Philippines, with their company LCS Group of Companies as the local partner.

In 2008, Richelle earned her bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of the Philippines. Aside from being the LCS Group of Companies vice-chairwoman, she is also the CEO of Platinum Skies Aviation and FinTech.

Richelle is married to Richard Peter Michael. She and her Filipino-Australian husband have a five-year-old son named Lucas Singson Michael.

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