NMBPA CONFIRMS Sablan out, Hill in

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Posted on Oct 22 1999

For two months, the island was abuzz about ugly rumors and all sorts of speculation on reigning Northern Marianas beauty queens following a decision by organizers to send the first runner-up in the last February’s local pageant to the Miss International contest in Japan.

People made several phone calls and sent e-mails to the Saipan Tribune trying to find out the real score, and as the Northern Marianas Beauty Pageant Association remained tight-lipped on the brouhaha, the controversy deepened.

Well, talk no more.

Yesterday, the organization finally broke its silence and issued a full-page advertisement (Page 27) that confirmed its decision to send 1999 Miss NMI First Runner-up Miyuki Hill to Tokyo in December instead of reigning Miss NMI International Michelle Boyer Sablan.

No, there’s no truth to that ugly rumor. But Miss Sablan, who is only 24 years old, apparently is overage to compete in the international beauty contest for which she held the title by winning in the local pageant held at Hotel Nikko early this year.

NMBPA said Miss International rules stipulate that contestants must be between 17 to 23 years old — a requirement it overlooked in Miss Sablan’s case. Miss Hill is 19.

While organizers contend she will not be stripped of her 1999 title, Miss Sablan will be the island’s representative to the 2000 Miss Universe Pageant to be held in Cyprus in May next year.

The pageant, whose franchise is owned by multimillionaire/celebrity Donald Trump, required delegates to be between 18 to 27 years old — which will of course qualify Miss Sablan. The local pageant’s rules and regulations are patterned after that of the Miss Universe’s.

NMBPA has voted not to host a local pageant in the millennium year “due to the urgent need for reorganization and internal improvement,” it said in its announcement.

The group is expected to hold a press conference next week to detail its next plan, and probably elaborate more on the controversy that began only after it had kept the public in the dark since August.

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