First Miss Universe Gave Up Her Crown for Marriage: Glamorous Photos of Armi Kuusela in the 1950s

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Did you know that the first ever Miss Universe gave up her title to marry a Filipino?

Armi Helena Kuusela was the first to ever hold the prestigious Ms. Universe crown. She represented Finland after winning the national pageant, Suomen Neito, in May 24, 1952. She flew to California to participate in the first ever Miss Universe pageant in June 17 of the same year. She was only 17 years old when she competed and 5’5″ in height.

Armi Kuusela in 1952

Everyone was taken aback after she gave up her crown to marry a Filipino named Virgilio Hilario!

They met on a blind date while she was in the Philippines for a visit. She was invited to crown the winner of the 1953 Miss Philippines by the PH’s International Fair Committee. She flew to Japan afterwards, but Hilario followed her all the way to Tokyo. This is where they fell in love and their romance blossomed. They got married on May 4, 1953, less than a year after she was crowned the inaugural Ms. Universe.

She was planning on taking up physical education and getting a language degree. She also wanted to star in movies, but she gave all of that up for Hilario.

Hilario died in 1975 due to a heart attack. Kuusela got remarried to an American diplomat named Albert Williams on June 8, 1978, and they are currently living in San Diego, California.

Take a look at these glamorous photos to see the beauty of Armi Kuusela in 1952, the year she won Miss Universe.

1952 Miss Universe Finals Night June 28, 1952

10 semi finalists are judged during the 1952 Miss Universe Pageant. Armi Kuusela, from Finland became
Miss Universe 1952

From left: Judy Dann, Miss Hong Kong (3rd runner up), Elsa Edsman, Miss Hawaii, (1st Runner up), Armi Kuusela, Miss Universe 1952, from Finland, Renate Hoy, Miss Germany, (4th Runner up), and Daisy Mavraki, Miss Greece, (2nd Runner up)

Actress Piper Laurie, and star of Universal Pictures crowns Armi Kuusela, Miss Universe 1952. Miss Laurie was on the cover of the first (1952) Miss Universe official program book

Armi Kuusela, Miss Universe 1952 admires her new trophy

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