Miss Universe final: Jamaican Tom Calderon is ‘wild card’ finalist

Image copyright PA Image caption Tom Calderon was Miss Puerto Rico when the question came up

A Jamaican runner was one of three finalists on the final of Miss Universe, but is known for something more than her strutting.

Tom Calderon, a 26-year-old lawyer from Kingston, was asked a question by TV personality Steve Harvey.

He said: “How many of you believe that women’s rights should include the right to vote?

Miss Universe said she didn’t know “how to address that specific question because I wasn’t born in America”.

Other finalists were Miss France and Miss Italy.

After failing to win the competition last year, Harvey was widely criticised for asking the wrong Miss Colombia a question at the pageant in Las Vegas last year.

It was also later revealed that Harvey, host of the show from 2015 to 2016, made $325,000 (£230,000) from presenting the next year’s pageant, an amount that nearly doubles the average TV host’s earnings.

He lost the job after saying he had called Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez Baquez an “Uncle Tom” after she had claimed that Harvey had stuck her with an incorrect question last year.

He has denied the claim, saying he didn’t remember the insult.

“He’s one of the most genuine people I’ve met,” one of Mr Calderon’s friends, Shyley Conway, told the BBC’s Hispanic World.

“His interest was a lot deeper than having to win a beauty pageant.”

Mr Conway is surprised that he was on the show, having been talking with his friend about the competition this past week.

Image copyright 2017 Getty Images Image caption Miss Jamaica was Miss Caribbean in 1996, before finishing eighth in the 1997 contest

Mr Conway said he does not think Mr Calderon will win the competition, calling him the “wild card.”

“Some people should just stay at home,” he said.

He added that Mr Calderon wouldn’t have made it as far as he did, despite being Miss Jamaica before moving to Puerto Rico.

Mr Conway said he has watched many of the contestants on TV since the competition’s inception in 1921, but has never been following the competition since moving to Jamaica in 2006.

He said he watched Miss Universe because “it was the closest thing I could get to trying it for myself”.

He said he expects Mr Calderon to win the title by a large margin and be on the top-10 list of contestants.

“Most of the time all the boys are going to come and shoot that shot [on social media] at each other,” Mr Conway said.

“Some guys with different attitudes, if we go head to head for sure he is a winner in my eyes.”

He added: “I think it is perfect timing for him to finally get this life experience.”

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