My name is Richard John Isa and I am a photographer, pageant consultant and producer and missologist. A native of the Caribbean island of Curaçao, I have lived in London, Great Britain, for the past five years.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the event that led to my interest in pageants. In 1966, my next-door neighbour Elizabeth Sanchez became Miss Curaçao. A few months later I watched this beautiful woman win the award of Miss Amity at Miss Universe, which made quite an impression on my young mind. Two years later another local beauty, Anne-marie Braafheid, almost won the Miss Universe crown and I was hooked.
I continued to follow beauty pageants, witnessing the emergence of the Czar of Beauty Osmel Sousa in the world’s most important national beauty competition, the Miss Venezuela pageant.
My “career” in pageants proper began in 1984, when I scouted the young woman who went on the become Miss Curaçao 1984, Suzanne Verbrugge. I travelled to my first Miss Universe pageant in Miami and felt like a kid in a candy store.
In 1985, I joined the Curaçao Youth Beauty Contest Organization (CYBECO), organizers of the Miss Curaçao contest for Miss Universe and Miss World in the position of Public Relations Officer. A few months later in December I was offered the position of President of the organization, which in my youthful enthusiasm I immediately accepted.
In 1986, I returned to the Miss Universe pageant as National Director.
My two year tenure as President of CYBECO was a trial by fire. I was young and inexperienced but with the support of a reputable and strong organization, I was able to move the organization forward learning rapidly as I went along. Our 1987 Final Show, celebrating the selection of the 25th Miss Curaçao, won the award for Best Fashion Event. After that, I left the organization to recharge my batteries.
In 1989, I was invited to judge the Miss Curacao pageant, which led to my picture being featured in, of all places, the Dutch edition of Penthouse magazine.
In 1993, I produced the Final Show of the 30th Miss Curaçao competition.
In 1996, through the internet, I discovered that there were many pageant fans just like me around the world and that we were called missologists.
In 1997, I was back at the Miss Universe pageant as a journalist for one of Curaçao’s premier newspapers. I also launched the Curaçao Pageants’ Organisation (CPO), returning Curaçao to the Miss International Beauty in Japan, after 26 years.
In 1998, the CPO organised the first official visit of a reigning Miss Universe to Curaçao.
In 1999 I introduced Curaçao to the international male competition arena and the CPO scored internationally with the selection of Pamela Winkel as a finalist of the Miss International Beauty Pageant. The following year, Dino Nicolina scored big at three international male competitions.
CPO’s 2001 pageant was awarded the 3rd Place Best National Pageant award by Global.Beauties.com, behind Miss World Portugal and Miss USA and ahead of the Miss Venezuela pageant. What made our show stand out was that is was run without the benefit of a Master or Mistress of Ceremony, an unicum in the world.
In 2007, our Shadee Braun, Curaçao’s first representative at the Miss Tourism Queen International pageant won the titles of Miss Talent and Fifth Runner-up in a field of 106 participants.
Since 1997, I have reported yearly on the Miss Universe pageants in various forums. My pageant pictures have been published at Global.Beauties.com, other online forums and in newspapers and magazines in Aruba, Panama and Curaçao.
Since moving to Great Britain in 2011, I have judged the Miss Universe Great Britain pageant in three consecutive years and consulted for two of the pageant’s winners.
In 2015, I judged the Miss Wales pageant won by Emma Jenkins. Coaching Emma for Miss World and Kelly Rowland, who was 2nd. Runner-up at Miss Universe Great Britain 2015, as well as my work with Michael Rae Formston, Mister Wales 2014, have been the most rewarding experiences in my British pageant career.
Now, I present what I have learned in over 30 years of experience to a wider, worldwide audience, with the help of the great friends I have made in pageantry worldwide.
Thank you for coming along for the ride.
Richard John Isa, May 2016