Lookism’s #1 pageant to help cleft lip kids.

“Lookism” can surprise you. The current Miss Universe—and fellow “lookers” models Christie Brinkley and Kristen Taekman— are “ambassadors” for the cleft charity Smile Train. (Singer Jessica Simpson and models Vanessa Lachey and Molly Sims likewise beat the drum for Operation Smile).

My favorite “looker” supporting clefts is Roma Downey, an Irish actress known for her nine seasons as Monica, the tender-hearted angel on the TV show Touched by an Angel.  Ms. Downey is more than just a looker, she’s an accomplished actress. In her off-time, she has passionately hosted informercials for non-profits which provide surgeries for children around the world born with severe cleft lip and palate.  

Nothing new about lookism “giving back.”  

Regardless of your view of beauty pageants and lookers (who received the faces that were denied cleft-afflicted kids), it is significant that one of lookism’s premier brands, the Miss Universe Organization,  just announced its partnership in efforts to assist children with unrepaired clefts with free surgery. 

Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, the now-reigning Miss Universe, recently shared the good news regarding Smile Train and  the Miss Universe Organization. 


                                         ‘Smile Train | Our Model‘ YouTube.

Lookism partners with Smile Train.

According to a recent PRNewswire-USNewswire story,

“The Miss Universe Organization and Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft charity, today announced a new charitable partnership to help raise awareness of the issues faced by children living with unrepaired clefts in the developing world. The new relationship will provide opportunities for the reigning Miss Universe and international titleholders to get involved with Smile Train’s global initiatives in the 85+ countries where the charity helps children.

“We truly believe in what Smile Train represents – hope, joy, perseverance and transformation,” said Paula M. Shugart, President of The Miss Universe Organization. “We are extremely proud to work with an organization that is committed to delivering a positive impact to the communities in which we work, and are steadfast in our commitment to help support their efforts and long-term sustainability.”

Millions of children in developing countries with unrepaired clefts live in shame, but more importantly, have difficulty eating, breathing and speaking. Cleft repair surgery is simple, and the transformation is immediate. Smile Train’s sustainable model provides training and funding to empower local doctors in the developing world to provide 100%-free cleft repair surgery in their own communities. Since its founding in 1999, Smile Train has provided more than one million cleft repair surgeries across the world.

“We are honored to be a new official charity partner of The Miss Universe Organization to raise awareness for the vital cause of cleft lip and palate repair and related treatment,” said Susannah Schaefer, CEO, Smile Train. “We hope that this relationship will help us mobilize supporters, both new and old, by leveraging The Miss Universe Organization’s incredible voice and helping to transform lives in the process.”

The partnership will amplify a shared set of core values, centered on the organizations’ global reach and commitment to empowering children to lead full, productive lives.

Woman in gown and crown holds sign for Smile Train

Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach for Smile Train

To kick-off these efforts, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach will have the opportunity to meet with Smile Train’s Country Director for the Philippines, Kimmy Flaviano, while she is visiting Manila next week. Wurtzbach will learn more about the organization’s efforts and Smile Train’s local partners who are on the ground helping cleft patients 365 days a year.

“I look forward to my homecoming next week and helping to kick-off our organization’s new partnership with Smile Train,” said Wurtzbach. “As Miss Universe, I look forward to lending my voice and a helping hand to continue to raise awareness for children born with cleft lip and palate in the developing world, including my home country, the Philippines.”

My dog scooped me on news about Ms Wurtzbach.

For the record, Monte Blue—my anti-bully warrior dog—beat me to the punch re Ms. Wurtzbach. He posted a short piece on-line about Ms. Universe’ anti-cyberbullying campaign.  He noted that she claims she was a Filipina bullied for being fat and for being a German-Philippino.

Lookism and guilt.

Your thoughts about lookers “giving back?” For example, does riding the wave of lookism in today’s world induce guilt in lookers?


To learn about CLEFT HEART: Chasing Normal, click the Amazon or Barnes & Noble buttons in the margins. Or click the image of the book cover. My coming-of-age memoir has intertwining love stories, mystery, tragedy, and triumph.

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