A Tribute to First Miss Universe Armi Kuusela Williams [WATCH VIDEO]

By Ambika Thakur | 2 years ago
A Tribute to First Miss Universe Armi Kuusela Williams [WATCH VIDEO]

The 2014 Miss Universe  (MU) 2014 competition is approaching so let take a trip down memory lane in tribute to prestigious MU pageant. Nobody would have the guts to renounce a crown like “Miss Universe.” But Less than a year after being crowned Armi Kuusela Williams gave up the crown to get married to her to Virgilio Hilario. Read on for Movie News Guide (MNG) report on Miss Universe  19 52 to learn more about the living legend.

On February 22, 1953, Kuusela went on a world tour, during which time she met Hilario, a businessman of Filipino descent. On May 4, 1953, the duo got married in Tokyo after a short-lived courtship. In March 1953, when Kuusela as Miss Universe had gone to the Islands for the International Trade Exposition the couple met at a dance in Baguio, the summer capital of the Philippines. At Miss Universe 2011 Watching Party, the Pageant Guy had a privilege to interview the Very First Miss Universe Armi Kuusela. Miss Universe 1952, along with 9 other former Miss Universe titleholders were present during this unparalleled pageant. Click here to watch the interview. For pageant enthusiast this is a must watch interview.


The couple honeymooned in the Hawaiian Islands, traveled around the United States and then Europe. Ultimately settled in the Philippines where they had five children:

  • Arne Hilario
  • Anna-Lisa De Gari
  • Jussi Hilario
  • Eva-Maria Hess
  • Mikko Hilario

In 1952, Armi Helena Kuusela born 20 August 1934 in Muhos won the national beauty contest Suomen Neito and was presented with a trip to the USA to take part in the first-ever Miss Universe pageant. She won the contest and made history.

On May 24, 1952, Kuusela won her country’s national pageant, Suomen Neito.  Her prize included a box of chocolates, a gold bangle, and a two-way ticket sponsored by Pan American Airways to the United States. On June 17, 1952 Kuusela landed at Long Beach, California. On June 28, 1952, pageant was held. Thirty contestants from all over the world participated in the first Miss Universe pageant. Kuusela, as Suomen Neito, took home the most sought-after first Miss Universe crown at the young age of 17. Hollywood actress Piper Laurie crowned the beauty queen. At the time she weighed 49 kg (108 lb), and her height was 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in).

Instantly after her winning there was a Finnish movie made of her, called “Maailman kaunein tyttö,”  which means World’s most beautiful girl in English. She played herself, and Tauno Palo played the role of Jack Coleman male lead in the film. It was directed by Veikko Itkonen And written by Mika Waltari.

According to an article from Utsandiego, she became a successful entrepreneur and goodwill ambassador later on her pageant career. Her husband’s untimely death in 1975 had brought her to meet American diplomat Al Williams. Williams took over management of the family hotel properties in Manila while she has served again for her home country, Finland. Before she was knighted by earning the Order of the White Rose, she was one of the country’s honorary counsel during that time.

She married Williams in 1978. They lived together in Barcelona and Turkey before they settled in La Jolla in 1991. Since then, she has supported cancer research and numerous cultural and arts organizations in La Jolla. Allegedly on Aug. 20, 2014, Williams just celebrated her 80th birthday at her family’s home in Finland.  May the living legend Armi Kuusela Williams live longer and healthier life!

And that’s it for MNG’s Armi Kuusela Williams update. For more details coming up about the pageant including, host, date and venue stay tuned here at  Movie News Guide (MNG). Check out the video below:

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Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/Anonymous