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(© 2017 Journal GlobaLinks)

CHICAGO (JGL) – Family Feud television host Steve Harvey will have some explaining to do on Sunday (Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. Central Time or Jan. 30 at 10 a.m. Philippine Time) when he hosts

the Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines that will be telecast live on Fox Network for announcing the wrong cue card in the 2015 Miss Universe and for joking that “neither white nor black women had any interest in Asian men” for which he already both apologized for the gaffes.

Chicago, Illinois-based Filipino American community leader Marlon L. Pecson wanted to tell Mr. Harvey that the first Miss Universe Armi Helena Kuusila, representing Miss Finland, a white, ceded her Miss Universe crown to her runner-up so she could marry Filipino businessman Virgilio “Gil” Hilario, who is the uncle of his high school classmate, Hongkong-based Steven Hilario.

Steven Hilario showed Mr. Pecson photos showing first Ms. Universe Armi Kuusila bonding with him and her grandnephews and grandnieces at Kuusila’s home in San Diego, California.

Mr. Harvey accidentally announced in December 2015 the wrong winner in the Miss Universe by misreading a ballot card, which showed Miss USA as second runner up, Miss Colombia as first runner up, and Miss Philippines as Miss Universe.

Instead, he switched Miss Colombia and Miss Philippines placements and he mistook the card’s “lst Runner up” for Miss Colombia as Miss Universe until accountants of Ernst & Young corrected Harvey that the Miss Universe winner was Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach and not Miss Colombia.


Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach is shown here forgiving Family Feud host Steve Harvey for reading the wrong Miss Universe winner during his show, saying, “Don’t Beat Yourself Up Anymore.” Harvey is going to host the Miss Universe pageant again on Jan. 29 (Sunday) at 8 p.m. Central Time over Fox TV Network (Jan. 30 at 7 a.m. in Manila). (Screengrab from NBC UNIVERSAL Youtube video)


In his essay that came out in the New York Times Sunday (Jan. 14) Times Review, titled, “Hey, Steve Harvey, Who Says I Might Not Steal Your Girl?,” book author Eddie Huang talked about an out-of-circulation book, “How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men,” it promoted the stereotype that “there are still people who believe Asian men are inept and undesirable to any women outside their race.

“On Jan. 6, Steve Harvey did a roundup of dating books on his talk show, displaying an image of the cover of “How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men,” and said the book could be only one page long: “ ‘Excuse me, do you like Asian men?’ ‘No.’ ‘Thank you.’ ” He then asked an imaginary black woman if she liked Asian men, and acted out her response: “I don’t even like Chinese food, boy. It don’t stay with you no time. I don’t eat what I can’t pronounce.”

As soon as Harvey’s disparaging remarks hit the Twitterverse, Harvey offered his apology on his Twitter, saying, his “humblest apology for offending anyone, particularly those in the Asian community." He said the jokes were meant to be humorous and no "malice or disrespect" was intended.

When he gets to Manila on Saturday, Mr. Harvey will learn that a Filipino businessman Virgilio Hilario did not really need to read the book, “How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men” “to steal” a white girl. 


“Gil” Hilario, a Filipino businessman, took to heart the immortal verse, “Pag-big, ‘kapag nasok sa puso nino man, hahamakin lahat masunod ka lamang,” (Love, if you fall for anyone, one will do everything just to please you), from Filipino homegrown national poet Francisco Baltazar or Balagtas’ epic poem, Florante at Laura (Florante and Laura).

A woman in distress from the harassment of an American journalist, the first Miss Universe Armi Kuusela was protected from harm by Hilario, who was “involved in a scuffle when he defended Armi from a drunken American newspaperman, who tried to harass Armi inside the Cosmopolitan Nightclub” on May 3, 1953.

But because love couldn’t wait, the following day, Armi asked Hilario to advance their marriage plans from Aug. 27, 1953, her 19th birthday, to May 4,1953, according to The Victoria Advocate. Wikipedia listed Kuusela's birthday as Aug. 20, 1934.

They were married at St. Ignatius Church in Yatsuya, Tokyo with Hilario sporting a black eye with Rev. Fr. Bruno Blitter officiating the marriage ceremony with two other witnesses: her sister Irma Kyromies as matron of honor and Roberto Villanueva (then Vice President of Chronicle Publications) as best man, Gil’s close friend, according to Philippine Star.

The decision of Kuusela to advance their wedding even caught the bridegroom by surprise, saying Kuusela traded her budding and promising modeling and movie career to “a quiet life in the Philippines,” and ceded her title to the runner-up nine months after winning the Miss Universe pageant in Long Beach, California on June 28, 1952 at the age of 17.



First Miss Universe Armi Helena Kuusela with Filipino husband, Virgilio “Gil” Hilario. (JGL Photo used with permission c/o Marlon L. Pecson) 


Their surreal romance was immortalized by a Filipino made movie, “Now and Forever,” and an eponymous Finish movie under her name, Maailman Kaunein Tyttö (or The Most Beautiful Girl in the World).

The couple first met on a blind date but it was Hilario’s dancing skills that won her over. Not even the color of his skin prevented her from associating herself with Asian men.

After their two-month honeymoon in U.S. and Europe, they settled in the Philippines. They had five children and six grandchildren.

Hilario died of a heart attack on September 7, 1975, and Kuusela remarried to Americandiplomat Albert Williams on June 8, 1978. The couple moved to Barcelona, Spain then to IzmirTurkey, before settling in La Jolla, a community in San DiegoCalifornia. As of 2011, she and her husband were still living there.

In 2012 Armi was awarded the Order of the White Rose of Finland.

Armi visited her native town of Muhos, located in northern Finland, in August 2014. Her visit was an official meeting with the city municipal manager.

Kuusela is still active in her community, participating in charities and involved in cancer research at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.

Email message by this reporter to Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute for comment from Kuusela was not returned. (Contact reporter: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


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