"rehearsals were wonderful" says Kristiina
9.- Many things happens during rehearsals, please tell us some things that you remember, please don’t be shy and tell us some gossips, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha !!, oh come on, tell us!
The rehearsals were wonderful. I love Scott (Miss Universe's choreographer) – he is the best. He is doing the fantastic job with all the contestants and he still remembered me in Mexico. It was fantastic.
As a dancer I am used to pressure, high heels and dancing many hours in a row. But there were girls who fainted; there were girls who walked around in bare foot wearing just a huge T-shirt.
As a small nation representative, I wasn’t supposed to be in the front row during the opening number. I remember when Scott put in the beginning of the triangle and the other girls were lined after me. All the girls started to talk and I felt that they wanted to eat me at the spot.
There were some other similar situations – as a small nation representative I created too much attention and the must-be-final girls started to gossip about me.
I was in the top 10, the highest placement that a small nation can ever achieve in my opinion.
All contestants with choreographer Scott Grossman
during rehearsals in Miami, USA
10.- The fans of Miss Universe just watch the show in TV, but we don’t know what happen backstage during the final show, Could you please tell us, how is works when one of the semifinalist is on stage, what the rest of semifinalist are doing for awhile?
It is chaos.
11.- Kristiina, Miss Universe 1997 is special because there are several remarkable things. I would like to talk a little about that
* Miss Italy, Denny Mendez. She is the first black Miss Italian, actually she is from Dominican Rep. but her father is Italian, What do you have to say about Denny, was she your friend?
Unfortunately she spoke only Italian and we were not able to communicate. I remember she was a fan of pop corn – every evening I saw her next to micro wave waiting for a new package to be ready.
"every evening I saw her next to micro wave waiting for a new package" says Kristiina
* Miss India, Nafisa Joseph. She committed suicide few years ago, Did you know that?, Did you hang together during the pageant?
Nafisa was the most intelligent and sophisticated girl I have ever met. She was full of grace and femininity. It is a very sad to hear about her decision.
We talked many times about the India´s rich culture and the many pageants she had to participate to get the honor to represent India at Miss Universe.
Miss India 1997, Nafisa Joseph few years later would commit suicide
* Alicia Machado, the reigning Miss Universe. She gained weigh and all press was focused on her, Did she spend time with all you?, Did you talk with Alicia?
I saw Alicia few times, but I wasn´t able to talk to her. She is a perfect example that the pressure as Miss Universe is extreme and as a young girl it is hard to handle. But she still looked lovely and was able to held her head up with dignity until the end.
Venezuela’s Alicia Machado being crowned as Miss Universe 1996, months later she would gain weigh and all press was focused on her
12.- During the pageant, - in your opinion- Who were the most popular contenders? And who was your favorite to win and why?
I thought Miss Colombia will win the pageant, but she didn´t make the finals. Miss Curacao was also my favorite.
13.- How was taken by the candidates the triumph of Brook Lee as Miss Universe 1997?
She was not my favorite candidate for the title. From the finals I would have picked Curacao, Italy or Sweden as a winner.
the 3 finalist of Miss Universe 1997
14.- What happen with the new Miss Universe in the final night, after crowning?
In 1997 there was coronation ball, where all the contestants participated. The new Miss Universe opened it from the stage with Donald Trump. What happened after, I do not know …
15.- Kristiina, you did an excellent and funny interview, even you danced tango!!! Were you nervous?
Nervous is gentle word. I was extremely tremendously unimaginable nervous. I do not remember much, because the feeling is like walking on the clouds.
I just went with the flow and I hoped to understand the George Hamilton question. Of course the applause I received from the audience gives the strength not to fall apart. It must be experienced, it cannot be described.
Dancing tango during interview competition with host George Hamilton
16.- The 1997 Miss Universe Pageant, Had an influence in your life?, Do you follow Miss Universe still?
I was in MU 1998 in Hawaii as well. I remember the great feeling that was to watch the pageant from the side and scream as an audience. This was one of the reasons I came back to Mexico. I do follow Miss Universe occasionally.
The pageant has had influence in my life. It made me stronger and not to be afraid of stage.