Miss Universe 1997: Brook Mahealani Lee

Brook Antoinette Mahealani Lee was crowned Miss Universe 1997 on May 16, 1997. She was also Miss Hawaii USA and Miss USA 1997 titleholder.

Immediately prior to winning the Miss USA and Miss Universe crowns, Brook pursued graduate-level studies in Communication at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She attended University Lab School for one year, 1987–1988. Lee graduated from Kamehameha Schools in 1989. She is a native of Pearl City, Hawaii.

Lee, who stands 1.7 m (5 ft. 7 in.), was crowned Miss Hawaii USA on her first try for this crown, then went on to win the Miss USA crown in Shreveport, Louisiana on February 5, 1997. Three months later, Lee won the Miss Universe 1997 pageant in Miami, Florida. That year, the outgoing Miss Universe 1996, Alicia Machado of Venezuela, was criticized by Donald Trump for gaining weight after winning the crown. It is said that Lee's answers to the judges' questions in both the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, both of which alluded to that controversy, greatly impressed the judges. In the Miss USA pageant, when asked about how she would handle weight gain, Lee said, "I would take a good hard look at myself, and I'd look from the inside out, and I would know that I'm the same girl that won the crown that day and it wouldn’t really matter what I look like on the outside because I won." Later, in the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant, when asked what she would do if she didn't have to follow any rules, she replied, "I would eat everything in the whole world — twice!"

At Lee's urging, the 1998 Miss Universe pageant was held in her home state of Hawaii, in Honolulu, for the first time. Wendy Fitzwilliam of Trinidad and Tobago was crowned Miss Universe 1998.

After her reign as Miss Universe, Brook has made several cameo appearances in movies and television shows, and has hosted numerous television shows in Asia and the United States. Her current project is a regional television show known as Pacific Fusion, which focuses on Asian-American lifestyles. She has hosted episodes of "Great Cruises" on the Travel Channel, which highlights cruise travel around the world.


"To God be the Glory".