Beauty with a Purpose
A new beauty pageant has once again ended. The Miss World 2012 competition has reached it’s resolution and crowned Miss China as the new Miss World.
Beauty Pageants has never failed to amuse us in any ways. It is that one day in a year tht hundreds of beauties from all over the world gather to showcase their talent, share their knowledge and acknowledge the culture of each countries they represent. Because of this, I give you a short review of the world’s longest running beauty pageant and the look back of it’s previous title holders.
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Looking Back At Miss World
The world’s longest-running international beauty competition
The year was 1951. The competition was the first Miss World pageant, introduced as part of the Festival of Britain celebrations, and it was the audience it attracted who guaranteed its success.
Thanks to founder Eric Morley’s PR expertise, the first Miss World pageant welcomed a global audience greater than international events like the World Cup and the Olympic Games. The BBC televised Miss World from 1959 to 1979 and Thames Television picked up the contract from 1980 to 1988. At its peak, the show claimed an audience of 27.5 million in Britain alone a figure comparable to that of a royal wedding. Fifty years on from the first pageant, Miss World still pulls in the crowds and can boast an annual audience of 2.5 billion.
The press went to town – the world’s most beautiful women, 26 in all, gathered together in one place and happy to smile at the battery of photographers.
The Miss World competition began in Britain after World War II, in the midst of postwar reconstruction. The British government staged the Festival of Britain in the summer of 1951. That first celebration featured the country’s latest industrial products, technological discoveries and the arts.
Organizers turned to a London entertainment company, Mecca Limited, to boost festival attendance. Eric Morley, the company’s publicity director, persuaded festival planners to add an international beauty contest to planned events. The competition was first officially called the Festival Bikini Contest after Morley decided that contestants should be judged while wearing the new beachwear sensation.
The contest, lauded by the British press — and which they dubbed “Miss World” — was originally planned as a one-time event. But after its inaugural run, Morley turned Miss World into an annual extravaganza. The contest became one of Britain’s most successful exports.
Miss World was marked by controversy from the beginning. In the early 1950s, few contestants from non-European countries participated. Morley struggled to recruit foreign delegates. After Ireland and Spain threatened to withdraw from the competition because of their opposition to women being judged in bikinis, Morley banned the two-piece from the event. Kiki Haakanson of Sweden, Miss World 1951, would be the first and last woman to don a bikini. For the next two decades, Miss World winners wore one-piece bathing suits for the crowning ritual.
With the rise of television, pageantry emerged as a popular cultural phenomenon. Contestants no longer modeled only for stage hall crowds, but had their images beamed into the homes of millions of viewers. In 1959, the British Broadcasting Corporation broadcast the Miss World competition for the first time. The contest subsequently became the most-watched event in Britain. At the competition’s broadcast peak years later, the number of viewers was comparable with the audience of a royal wedding.
Kiki Haakonson – Sweden
Kerstin “Kiki” Håkansson was the winner of the first Miss World beauty pageant in 1951, where her name was quoted as Kiki Haakonson. She represented Sweden, and was the first and last winner to don a bikini. For the next two decades, Miss World winners wore one-piece bathing suits for the crowning ritual.
May Louise Flodin – Sweden
May Louise Flodin won the Miss World Contest in 1952, representing Sweden. She was the second Swede to win the pageant. May Louise balanced life on the catwalk with a life on water-skis – performing with her husband at public shows. Nowadays she runs a hotel chain in Jordan. She has four children and six grandchildren.
Denise Perrier – France
Perrier was the third person to be chosen as Miss World in 1953, representing France; the same year that France also won the Miss Universe pageant by Christiane Martel. Perrier has done little acting. Her most memorable scene is an uncredited appearance in the 1971 James Bond movie, Diamonds Are Forever. In the scene, after a little persuasion from James Bond, who starts throttling her with her own swimsuit, she gives up and tells the location of the villain of the film. After leaving her modeling career, Perrier became active in local government in her native France. She was one of the judges at the 2005 Miss World contest.1954
Antigone Costanda – Egypt
Antigone Costanda was the winner of the Miss World beauty pageant in 1954, representing Egypt. The pageant was held on October 18, 1954 in London, England, 16 contestants participated. In addition to Arabic she speaks Greek, English, Italian and French fluently. Her total points overall in the Miss World event were 7.941, ranked 4th. The Greek-Egyptian beauty was the first Miss Egypt candidate to win the title for Egypt. According to Eric Morley’s 1967 book, “The Miss World Story”, Costanda was positively beaming as she claimed her victory was also for third runner-up status of Marina Papaelia, 1953’s Miss Egypt. The following year, during the 1955 Miss World beauty pageant held in London, Costanda did not attend the event because of political hostilities between Egypt and Britain over the Suez Canal. British actress Eunice Gayson crowned Miss Venezuela as the new Miss World. Prior to winning Miss World, Costanda was gaining experience in the modelling profession, her face appearing in numerous publications. Winning Miss World further helped her to reach the top of her profession, becoming a successful model in the Middle East, France, Italy and Greece. Her career in later years moved into interior design; she ran a company designing the interior of business buildings.
Carmen Susana Duijm Zubillaga – Venezuela
Carmen Susana Duijm Zubillaga won the 1955 Miss World contest, representing Venezuela. She became the first South American woman to win the title. The pageant was held in London, United Kingdom. Duijm also was a semi-finalist at Miss Universe 1955. She now lives in Margarita Island, Venezuela.
Petra Schürmann – Germany
Petra Susanna Schürmann won the 1956 Miss World contest, representing West Germany. She became the first woman from (West) Germany to win the title. The pageant was held in London, United Kingdom. Interestingly, Petra Schürmann only came third in the Miss Germany pageant, but was chosen to represent her country in London because of her better knowledge of English. At that time she studied philosophy and history of the arts at the universities of Bonn and Cologne. After winning her Miss World title she continued her studies in Munich. Beginning with the 1960s she entered an ongoing radio and television career, primarily with the Munich based Bayerischer Rundfunk. She also did some acting and wrote some books. In 1973 she married the physician Dr. Gerhard Freund, who already back in 1967, under a veil of secrecy, became the father of their daughter Alexandra. This was a time when he was still wed to German actress Marianne Koch. Alexandra Freund also had a successful career with the Munich broadcaster but died in 2001 aged 34 from an automobile accident. Since then Petra Schürmann has retired with her husband to their house on the shores of Lake Starnberg south of Munich
Marita Lindahl – Finland
Marita Lindahl won the 1957 Miss World beauty pageant, representing Finland. She became the first woman from her country to win the title and the third Scandinavian woman; after Sweden had won the two first contests. The pageant was held in London, England.
Penelope Anne Coelen – South Africa
In 1958, the Miss World Pageant was still in its early years. Its eighth pageant was a great success, attracting 22 contestants from Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa. Europeans dominated the semi-finals with 9 out of 12 places secured by women from the host continent. 5 of the 6 finalists were from Europe as well, but it was a striking young woman from the Republic of South Africa who took home the coveted crown. Penelope Anne Coelen, or Penny to her friends and fans, was elected Miss World and was the first major international titleholder to come from Africa. The 18-year-old secretary from Durban enraptured the audience with her poise and beauty. She gained widespread international attention during her reign and received several lucrative modelling offers. After her reign as Miss World 1958, she tried her luck out in Hollywood with the help of James Garner, but failed her screen test but managed to launch her own clothing and endorsed beauty products as well as perfumes. Later she returned to South Africa, married wealthy sugar cane farmer Graeme Rey from the KwaZulu-Natal Province and she remains today a prominent socialite in South Africa, race-horse owner, and is a renowned pistol shot. She swore that she would never go through the terror of competing again, noting that it was “too nerve-wracking,” yet that being a Miss World contestant and titleholder was “something I would not have liked to miss.”
Corine Rottschäfer – Holland
Corine Spier-Rottschäfer won the 1959 Miss World contest, representing the Netherlands. She became the first woman from her country to win the title. The pageant was held in London, United Kingdom. The first runner up was María Elena Rossel Zapata from Peru. Prior to winning the pageant, she also earned the Miss Europe title in 1957, and participated in Miss Universe in 1958, where she made the top 15 and won the Miss Photogenic award.
Decade of Indiscreet contestants
Miss World’s following in the 1960s grew exponentially after the pageant’s television debut in 1959. Along with its growing popularity through the decade, the competition was marked by a series of scandals that put the spotlight on contestants’ off-stage lives.
In 1960, Argentina’s Norma Gladys Cappagli was threatened with disqualification from Miss World when it was reported that she frequently drank alcohol. Britain’s Lesley Langley, crowned Miss World 1965, hit the front page of many tabloids for having posed in the nude. Scandal broke out again four years later when it was leaked that Austria’s Eva Von Ruber-Staier, Miss World 1969, also had shed her clothes in a photo shoot. Both women were spared the shame of being dethroned. But with each successive hint of scandal, pageant organizers and viewers at home were forced to reconcile the real Miss World contestants with the girl-next-door image the competition had tried so hard to package.
The women’s movement of the 1960s also rocked Miss World. By the end of the decade, feminists mobilized against the contest. The entire beauty pageant industry faced mounting criticism and stinging mockery. In 1968, the U.S.-based Women’s Liberation Front crowned a sheep as Miss America. Other radical women’s organizations began following suit, staging mock farm auctions and cattle shows that drew comparisons between the treatment of livestock and the portrayal of women in beauty contests.
Norma Gladys Cappagli – Argentina
Norma Gladys Cappagli won the 1960 Miss World contest, representing Argentina. She became the first woman from Argentina and the second South American woman to win the title. The pageant was held in London, England. Cappagli was crowned Miss World with the fourth design Miss World crown.
Rosemarie Frankland – UK
Born in Rhosllannerchrugog, Wrexham, in north-east Wales in 1943, Rosemarie moved to Lancashire, England as a child. She took part in many beauty pageants and won the title of Miss Wales and, later in 1961 in London, England, she became (as Miss United Kingdom) the first British woman and the seventh European to win the Miss World competition. She also was the 1st runner-up at Miss Universe 1961. Together with Gina Swainson, who won the Miss World title as Miss Bermuda in 1979, Frankland is one of only two ladies to come closest to winning both Miss Universe and Miss World, having been 2nd at Universe before winning World. Helen Morgan who was also Miss Wales and Miss United Kingdom, achieved the same feat, but she resigned the Miss World title four days after being crowned. After Miss World, she married The Grass Roots singer/guitarist, Warren Entner and went to live in Los Angeles In 1976 they gave birth to their only child together, a daughter, Jessica. They divorced in 1981. Rosemarie died at the age of 57 in December 2000 in Marina del Rey, near Los Angeles. It is still unconfirmed if her death was a suicide or an accidental prescription drug overdose, she suffered depression and panic disorder throughout her life. Her ashes were flown back to Wales and were buried at Rhosllannerchrugog Cemetery in February 2001. She is survived by her only daughter, Jessica Entner.
Catharina Lodders – Holland
Catharina Johanna Lodders won the 1962 Miss World contest, representing the Netherlands. She became the second woman (after Corine Rottschafer in 1959) from her country to win the title. The pageant was held in London.. She also married the American singer/songwriter Chubby Checker.
Carole Joan Crawford – Jamaica
Carole Joan Crawford won the 1963 Miss World contest, representing Jamaica. The 5’2″ (1.59 m) beauty – short by Miss World standards – made history by becoming the first delegate from her country to win the title. The pageant was held in London, United Kingdom.
Ann Sydney – UK
Ann Sydney from Poole, England, won the 1964 Miss World contest, representing the United Kingdom. She became the second woman from her country to win the title; after Rosemarie Frankland had won the title in 1961. The pageant was held in London, England and with Ann’s winning, it was the second time that the winner of Miss World had won the crown in her own country.
Lesley Langley – UK
Lesley Langley from Weymouth, England was Miss United Kingdom and Miss World in 1965, making UK the second country to win Miss World back-to-back. She became the third woman from her country to win the title. Lesley attended the Royal Merchant Navy School, near Wokingham, Berkshire, (now known as Bearwood College) in the 1950s. Lesley was married to famous Jazz organist Alan Haven and they had one daughter named Cleo. They divorced and it is believed that Leslie now works as a Dental practice assistant.
Reita Faria – India
Reita Faria was the first Indian woman to win the Miss World title of 1966. After winning the Miss Bombay crown earlier that year, she won the Eve’s Weekly Miss India contest (not to be confused with the Femina Miss India competition won that year by Yasmin Daji.) She was the first Asian to win Miss World. After her one year tenure, she refused modeling and films and instead concentrated on medical studies. Now Dr. Reita Powell, she lives in Dublin, Ireland with her husband David Powell, and has two children and five grandchildren. Reita has come back to judge the Miss World competition on a few occasions.
Madeleine Hartog Bell – Peru
Madeleine Hartog Bell won the 1967 Miss World contest, representing Peru. She was born in Camaná, Arequipa. After making it to the semi-finals of the Miss Universe pageant in 1966, she went on to win the Miss World title in London a year later. Madeleine now resides in Florida, she is married and has a daughter.
Penelope Plummer – Australia
The one-time librarian from Kempsey, New South Wales, was 18 when she won the title. For two years, she was feted like royalty. She toured Vietnam with Bob Hope and, during her reign, earned up to $1,500 a day – a fortune at the time. Two years later, Penny broke her contract with the Miss World organisers to marry Michael Clarke. Today, she has three adult children.
Eva Rueber-Staier – Austria
Rueber-Staier was born in 1951 in Bruck an der Mur, Austria. She won the title of Miss Austria and participated in the Miss Universe contest in 1969, in which she was a top 15 semifinalist. She went on to win the Miss World pageant that same year. During her tenure, Eva starred in the Bob Hope USO tour in Vietnam. On 1st January 1973, then aged 23 she married film producer Ronald (“Ronnie”) Fouracre, (15 years her senior), at Caxton Hall register office, London. Her acting career contains a recurring James Bond credit: she played General Gogol’s assistant Rubelvitch in the films The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, and Octopussy. She has lived in an Elizabethan Grade II listed house in Pinner for 23 years with her current husband, publisher Brian Cowan and loved son Alexander. She also appeared naked in the soft-porn Mayfair magazine in the UK. Eva also played the Cadburys Flake girl in the 1980s Austrian Skiing advert directed by Ridley Scott. She now produces metalwork sculptures – these were exhibited during Hertfordshire Visual Arts Forum’s “open studios 2008”.
Femenists Attack The Pageant
When Miss World held its first competition of the new decade, the feminist movement’s second wave was just reaching high tide. Popular magazines had declared 1970 to be the “Year of Women’s Liberation.”
Protest against the Miss World competition prior to 1970 had been in the form of small-scale actions easily contained. But when comedian Bob Hope stepped onto the stage of Royal Albert Hall in London to host the competition that year, he was bombarded by protestors hurling smoke and flour bombs. Feminists declared the protest a triumph. It became one of a handful of demonstrations in the early seventies that many believed strengthened the feminist movement in Britain. Five years later, women’s rights supporters in Britain succeeded in winning passage of the Sex Discrimination Act and Equal Opportunities Act.
The revolt by feminists also inspired the founding of the Alternative Miss World Competition, a kitschy spoof in which drag queens competed with one another. And through the years, pageant protestors’ tactics became more militant with feminists staging counterdemonstrations, including events at which women dressed in gowns made of raw steaks, bologna and hot links. In the following decade, one activist even infiltrated a U.S. competition as a contestant, unfurling onstage a silk scarf that read “Pageants Hurt All Women.”
The competition weathered other political controversy as well. A United Nations boycott was organized in 1977 because of participation by the apartheid government of South Africa. The U.N. dropped the boycott after the country pulled out the following year.
And Miss World contestants continued to suffer the personal indignities of the sort that had surfaced in the 1960s. Four months after United States delegate Marjorie Wallace was crowned Miss World in 1973, she was dethroned for dating too many high-profile men. A year later, Helen Morgan, Miss United Kingdom, relinquished her crown just four days after it was revealed she was a single mother.
Despite a decade of notoriety, by the end of the 1970s, the number of countries sending delegates to compete for Miss World had more than doubled, and the competition’s worldwide audience had grown to more than 300 million viewers.
Jennifer Hosten – Grenada
Jennifer was born in St. George’s, Grenada. She was 22 when she won the Miss World contest in December 1970 and so the more likely of the two dates of birth that are reported is 12 March 1948. She studied in London and then worked for the BBC’s Caribbean radio service before becoming a flight attendant. The 1970 contest was held in London, United Kingdom. It began with a row because the organisers had allowed two entries from South Africa, one black, one white. Then during the evening there were protests by Women’s Liberation activists and flour was thrown. The comedian, Bob Hope, was also heckled and scarcely raised a laugh. Even greater controversy then followed after the result was announced. Jennifer Hosten won and the black contestant from South Africa was placed second. The BBC and newspapers received numerous protests about the result and accusations of racism were made by all sides. Four of the nine judges had given first-place votes to Miss Sweden, while Miss Grenada received only two firsts, yet the Swedish entrant finished fourth. Furthermore the Prime Minister of Grenada, Sir Eric Gairy, was on the judging panel. Inevitably there were many accusations that the contest had been rigged. Some of the audience gathered in the street outside Royal Albert Hall after the contest and chanted “Swe-den, Swe-den”. Four days later the organising director, Julia Morley, resigned because of the intense pressure from the newspapers. Years later Miss Sweden, Maj Christel Johansson, was reported as saying that she had been cheated out of the title. (In 1979 Eric Gairy was overthrown as Prime Minister because of corruption, favouritism and abuses of human rights.) Julia Morley’s husband, Eric Morley, was the chairman of the company (Mecca) that owned the Miss World franchise. To disprove the accusations, Eric Morley put the judging panel’s ballot cards on view and described the complex “majority vote system”. These cards showed that Jennifer Hosten had more place markings in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th positions over Miss Sweden and the other five finalists. Julia Morley then resumed her job. However many still felt Sir Gairy on the judging panel had influenced the other judges to give Jennifer token placings. After her reign, Jennifer joined Bob Hope on his annual tour to U.S. forces overseas and made numerous other personal appearances all over the world with quiet dignity despite the controversy surrounding her victory. Jennifer then worked with Air Canada in customer relations, and married one of the airline’s executives, David Craig. They lived in Bermuda until 1973, when they moved to Ontario, Canada. Hosten gained a Masters of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from Carleton University, Ottawa. She has two children, a daughter: Sophia Craig, and son: Beau Craig. Jennifer Hosten Craig was High Commissioner to Canada from Grenada from 1978 to 1981. In 1998 she served as Technical Adviser on Trade to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) while living on the island of St. Lucia. More recently she worked as a Canadian diplomat (Aid Division) at the Canadian High Commission in Dhaka, Bangladesh before returning to the Caribbean. She published an academic study Jennifer Hosten Craig (1992). The Effect of a North American Free Trade Agreement on the Commonwealth Caribbean. Edwin Mellen Press. With her second husband, Shaun Sarsfield, Jennifer Hosten opened Jenny’s Place; their tourist apartments, restaurant and bar on Grand Anse beach in Grenada in August 2005. In late 2006, Jennifer was appointed the National Director of the Miss Grenada World Contest. The event will take place on March 31, 2007, and will chose only the third Grenadian woman in history to compete at the Miss World finals.1971
Lucia Tavares Petterle – Brazil
Representing the State of Guanabara, Lucia placed first runner-up in the national pageant, hence, earning her the right to compete as Brazil’s delegate in the Miss World pageant in London, United Kingdom. She became the first woman from her country and the fourth South American woman to win the title. After her reign, Lucia went on to finish her medical studies and became a doctor.
Belinda Green – Australia
Belinda Roma Green won the 1972 Miss World contest, representing Australia, at the age of 20. Growing up in Sydney, she became the second woman from her country to win the title; the first, Penelope Plummer, was crowned Miss World in 1968. The pageant was held in London, United Kingdom. Her triumph came in a year that saw Australia win the Miss Universe crown, the Miss Asia Pacific title, and placed first runner-up in the Miss International. After a year touring the world, including a stint with Bob Hope in Vietnam, Belinda returned to Australia to “go back to normal life”. Gren was married to advertising entrepreneur John Singleton for several years until 1987. They had two daughters, Jessie and Sally. She now works as a media presenter and was a panellist on Australian TV’s Beauty & The Beast1973
Marjorie Wallace – USA
The first American to win the Miss World contest, Wallace was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. After winning the Miss Indiana World contest in Clarksville, Indiana, she entered the 1973 Miss World contest, and won the final in London representing the United States, beating 53 other contestants. Later euphemistically called a “fun loving girl,” prior to winning she had been dating Indiana professional musician Steve Meyers. After a high-profile public series of photographs appeared with various men, Wallace was sacked 104 days later in March 1974, because she “had failed to fulfill the basic requirements of the job.” Other sources claim that the real reason behind her losing her crown was a statement she made in one of her public appearances, where she said: “As Miss World I can get laid with any man I pick.” Her noted and admitted male friends included professional soccer star George Best, tennis star Jimmy Connors, and singer Tom Jones. She also dated professional race car driver and Revlon heir Peter Revson. Wallace later became a television host for Good Morning Los Angeles and Entertainment Tonight.
Helen Morgan – UK
Helen Elizabeth Morgan, of Barry, Wales, is the 1974 winner of the Miss United Kingdom pageant. She earned the right to represent the United Kingdom in Miss World, eventually becoming the second Welsh woman and the fourth UK representative to win the competition in 1974. The celebration was short-lived, however, when she resigned four days after her victory, upon the discovery that she had a child. Although this did not violate the competition rules (which stipulated only that entrants must be unmarried), she was made to resign. First runner-up Anneline Kriel of South Africa succeeded her. Helen became the first winner to resign, and the second not to finish her reign as Miss World. Marjorie Wallace, the titleholder in 1973, was fired in March 1974, but the crown was not offered to any of the runners-up. Prior to competing in Miss World, Morgan represented Wales in the 1974 Miss Universe Beauty Pageant, where she finished First Runner Up to Amparo Muñoz of Spain. When Amparo Muñoz resigned as Miss Universe before the end of her reign, the crown was not offered to Helen or anyone of the runners up. She currently resides in France.
Anneline Kriel – South Africa
Anneline Kriel won the 1974 Miss World contest, representing South Africa, after UK’s Helen Morgan had resigned only four days after her victory. She became the second woman from her country to win the title. The pageant was held at The Royal Albert Hall in London.. Anneline was married to entertainment and casino magnet Sol Kerzner, (of Sun City fame). Also to Peter Bacon and the late Phillip Tucker whome she has two daughters. Anneline still lives in Johannesburg.
Wilnelia Merced – Puerto Rico
Wilnelia Merced became in 1975 the first and to date only winner of the Miss World title from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Merced faced a difficult year: the last Miss World before her had caused controversy by having a child out of wedlock. It was important for the winner to restore the contest’s reputation. She travelled widely during her reigning year and was invited to pre-civil war El Salvador by that country’s government. She fell in love with England, which she would later make her home. After passing on her crown, in 1976, she was signed by Ford Models in New York. In 1978 a giant poster of Wilnelia was displayed in Times Square, and she was introduced, in London at the 1980 Miss World competition gala to British television entertainer Bruce Forsyth. Merced and Forsyth married in 1983. While still a public figure at home in Puerto Rico she retired as a model after her wedding. They had a son in 1986, and she became in the 1990s, the owner of Miss World Puerto Rico. She also has a foundation to help Puerto Rico’s under-privileged children, for which she organizes charity balls. Merced lives with her husband and their son, Jonathan Joseph, in London. In 2002, during one of her visits to Puerto Rico, her London home was broken into by thieves, who injured one of her maids.
Cindy Breakspeare – Jamaica
Cynthia Jean Cameron Breakspeare, better known as Cindy Breakspeare, is a Jamaican jazz musician and former model. She was crowned Miss World 1976, and is the mother of Grammy-winning reggae musician Damian Marley. Breakspeare was born in Toronto, Canada, to a Jamaican father and a Canadian mother. She moved to Jamaica when she was four years old, and as a teenager she began participating in beauty pageants, including Miss Jamaica Body Beautiful and Miss Universe Bikini. She was invited to participate in the Miss World competition in 1976; she traveled to London and won the title, only the second Jamaican woman ever to do so. Her relationship with musician Bob Marley produced her son, Damian Marley, who was born in 1978. Marley wrote the song “Turn Your Lights Down Low” about his relationship with her. She married senator and attorney-at-law Tom Tavares-Finson in 1981 with whom she has son Christian (1982) and daughter Leah (1986). Breakspeare and Tavares-Finson later divorced in 1995. Christian attends law school in the UK, while Leah attends university in Canada. Breakspeare is now married to Rupert Bent II, a pilot and guitarist for Byron Lee & the Dragonaires. She and her husband perform together as jazz musicians and Cindy also works as an interior decorator.
Mary Stavin – Sweden
The third woman from Sweden to capture the Miss World title, Mary Ann-Catrin Stävin is a Swedish actress. She was an ex-girlfriend of George Best, the late acclaimed Northern Ireland-born football player and also Don Shanks a footballer with QPR. Mary is probably best known for her appearances in two James Bond movies, Octopussy and A View to a Kill (as agent Kimberley Jones). Mary also hosted Miss World Pageant in 1986 and released an exercise album with Best called Shape Up and Dance .She currently lives in Beverly Hills, California with her British businessman husband, Nicholas Wilcockson.
Silvana Suarez – Argentina
Silvana Rosa Suárez won the 1978 Miss World contest, representing Argentina. She became the second woman from her country to win the title Suarez was 19 years old and was an architecture student when she won the titile. Suarez, who speaks four languages, showed that her country rules the world in beauty as well as sport. Argentina won the World Cup Soccer tournament in 1978.
Gina Swainson – Bermuda
Gina Ann Casandra Swainson, born 1958 in Bermuda, was the first runner up in the Miss Universe contest of Miss Universe 1979. That same year she was crowned Miss World 1979. She is the only woman to win a major beauty title for Bermuda and is the joint highest placed woman and joint most successful at both pageants. Like Swainson, Rosemarie Frankland was runner up at Miss Universe in 1961 and triumphed at Miss World later that year. Helen Morgan, who five years earlier than Swainson, was first runner up at the Miss Universe 1974 pageant and won Miss World the same year. However Morgan was dethroned as Miss World making Swainson and Frankland the most successful women at both pageants.
Miss World Facelift
The Miss World competition entered the 1980s without the support of its longtime television network carrier, the BBC. After broadcasting the show for two decades, the network sold its telecast rights to a rival British broadcaster, which transmitted the contest globally via satellite. While Miss World’s popularity increased internationally, the contest’s following in Britain began to shrink.
In an effort to revamp the pageant’s tired image, organizers kicked off a new marketing campaign. Julia Morley, a former model and the wife of Miss World founder Eric Morley, coined the mantra “Beauty With a Higher Purpose.” New elements — including a personality and intelligence segment — were added to the contest. Though the intelligence segment took just two minutes for each contestant, organizers marketed the revised criteria for judges as an earthshaking marker in the history of the competition.
British bookmakers tip these eight contestants as favorites to win the Miss World 1983 title. Miss World contest organizers struggled in the 1980s to maintain the event’s popularity. “Beauty With a Higher Purpose” became the show’s mantra, and organizers introduced a personality and intelligence segment to the contest. (AP/Wide World Photos)
While the makeover briefly helped the contest dodge controversy, by 1984 protestors had found a new cause for revolt. At the event held in London that year, radical animal rights activists campaigned against Miss Venezuela, Astrid Herrera, for her support of toros coleados (“pulling the bulls’ tails”), a popular South American rodeo sport. Britain’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also weighed in, protesting the wearing of leopard fur by Bolivia’s delegate. Yet despite anonymous bomb threats, the 1984 Miss World competition was staged with little disruption, with the exception of a few picketers who waved signs that stated “Miss World Is the Queen of Torture” when Miss Venezuela won the 1984 crown.
The protests in the latter half of the decade seemed mild compared with past years. But there was another potential danger — the contest’s antiquated feel. Newspapers and magazines declared Miss World a relic of a bygone era. In Britain, the contest lost so much favor that broadcasters stopped telecasting the event altogether in 1988. Miss World vanished from the airwaves in the very country where it had been created.
Gabriella Brum – Germany
Gabriella Brum won the 1980 Miss World beauty pageant and resigned one day later.She stated that this was because her boyfriend disapproved, but it was later claimed that she was forced to resign because she had posed nude in a magazine. She later posed in Playboy and modeled in Los Angeles for a few years.She still lives in Los Angeles. The Guiness Book World of Records stated that Brum’s winning Miss World was the shortest reign in record with 18 hours.1980
Kimberley Santos – Guam
Kimberley Santos won the 1980 Miss World contest (representing Guam) after Germany’s Gabriella Brum had resigned the day after her victory but there was a little bit of difficulty in searching for Santos to receive the Miss World title. The next morning after the contest, Miss World Organisation thought Santos had boarded a flight to San Francisco at London’s Heathrow Airport to return home. That was before the news broke that the winner, Gabrella Brum, had abdicated in tears after reporters’ questions about her 52-year-old boyfriend. But when the plane reached California, she was not on it, and baffled officials launched a widespread search. They eventually discovered that she had switched flights at the last moment to travel with Miss Australia and Miss New Zealand, and landed in Los Angeles where she was met by her father, Ben Santos, a master sergeant in US Army. Mrs. Julia Morley finally tracked her down in Los Angeles and asked her by telephone if she wanted to accept the title. Kimberley accepted immediately. Mrs. Morley, said she told her she should sleep on it and make absolutely sure. Kim told Mrs. Morley: “I think I can do the title justice.” After her reign Kim became a Gospel singer. She went back to judge the pageant several times.
Pilin Leon – Venezuela
Chestnut-haired Pilin Leon, then, 18-year-old computer engineering student student from Venezuela, was crowned Miss World 1981 on Thrusday November 12, 1981 night and immediately vowed to serve her full year on the beauty throne – unlike her predecessor who quit in less than a day. “This is mine and I’m going to keep it,” the tearful Leon told reporters after being selected from among 67 entrants at the 31st annual Miss World Contest. Despite having been made the pre-contest favourite by British bettors, the lanky brown-eyed Leon declared, “I didn’t expect to win. There are so many pretty girls.” Leon was also named winner of the Americas Queen of Beauty Trophy, one of five continental prizes awarded for the first time that year. To Leon went the top prize worth $51,192 including a fur coat amd a one-year employment contract. During the finals Leon was asked what kind of men she liked. “Intelligent,” she answered. “Just Intelligent?” asked host Judith Chalmers. “And very tall,” replied the five-foot-ten Leon. After relinquished her Miss World crown, Leon did not let her Miss World fame go to her head. She returned to university to study and finished a degree in computer engineering. Leon since worked as a TV presenter and formed her own company organising product launches. She is now married and has a wonderful family with three sons. We last saw her at the 2002 pageant in London where she was invited to joined the show as one of the judging panel.
Mariasela Alvarez – Dominican Republic
Mariasela Álvarez Lebrón was born in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. She won the 1982 Miss World contest, representing the Dominican Republic and became the first woman from her country to win this title. The pageant was held in London, United Kingdom. As an architect Mariasela has designed many buildings in her home country, including one of Santo Domingo’s landmarks, Torre Cristal. Mother-of-four Mariasela, who is now living in Spain, is due to start filming her own TV show. She is one of the most popular figures in Dominican Republic due to her long career on TV which includes a successful eight-year run with her award-winning show Esta Noche Mariasela.
Sarah-Jane Hutt – UK
Sarah-Jane Hutt, from Poole, England, was the fourth delegate of the United Kingdom to win the Miss World pageant in 1983. Her victory caused a stir among other contestants, citing that she was not really the most beautiful among the group, with a delegate refusing to attend the coronation ball held thereafter, and another one challenging the judges’ decision. She is a former pupil of the Mountbatten School in Romsey, Hampshire.
Astrid Herrera – Venezuela
The third woman from Venezuela to win the Miss World contest, Astrid was crowned the 1984 Miss World in London. The Miss World title opens many doors and a considerable number of its recipients have moved into television and film. Astrid Carolina Herrera Irazábal has been more successful than many. Today she is a movie star icon in South America with major television and movie credits to her name. The last time she came back to the pageant was in 1995 when Miss World traveled to Sun City, South Africa for the fourth consecutive year. Astrid was one of the judges that evening and was overwhelmed with joy when she learned that her very own citizen, Miss Venezuela, Jacqueline Aquilera Marcano, won the Miss World title for 1995.
Hofi Karlsdottir – Iceland
Blonde Miss Iceland, Holmfriour ‘Hofi’ Karlsdottir won the 1985 Miss World contest before a cheering audience in Royal Albert Hall, narrowly beating runners-up Miss United Kingdom and Miss USA. Hofi, then a 22-year-old kindergarten school teacher receives the 5,000-pound prize and a work contract worth 25,000 pounds in the competition entered by young women from 78 countries. “I can’t believe it really,” said Hofi, the first young woman from her country to win the world title. “I’ll have to leave my nursery children for a year as well (as her law student boyfriend) and I just hope they’ll miss me,” she added. Ron Pollard, spokesman for bookmakers’ Ladbrokes, said there had been little betting because no British newspaper had published a photograph showing all the contestants. “If they can’t see them, they can’t bet on them,” Pollard said. “It’s been the quietest Miss World that anyone of us can remember.”
Giselle Marie Laronde – Trinidad and Tobago
Giselle Jeanne Marie Laronde won the 1986 Miss World contest, representing Trinidad and Tobago. She became the first woman from Trinidad and Tobago to win the title. The pageant was held in London, United Kingdom. Giselle was born in Port of Spain, but moved with her family to San Fernando at the age of 10. One of four children, she attended St. Peter’s school at Pointe-à-Pierre and St. Francois Girls High School. After winning the Miss World title Laronde used her prize money to attend the University of London where she completed a degree in Sociology and Communication. Laronde was awarded the Chaconia Medal and had a BWIA plane named after her. She is married to Heathcliff West and has two sons. Laronde is the Corporate Communications Manager with Angostura Ltd.
Ulla Weigerstorfer – Austria
Ulla Weigerstorfer won the 1987 Miss World contest, representing Austria. A veterinary science student from Vienna said it was all like a dream: “I’m so happy, I couldn’t say,” the then 20-year-old student and part-time model told reporters after being crowned Miss World in the 37th annual pageant at London’s Royal Albert Hall. “I didn’t think I would win,” she said. “I feel there were 78 Miss Worlds here.” The 5-foot-11 blue eued blonde, the first Austrian to win the title since 1969, was chosen from among 78 contestants. The bookmakers had offered odds against her winning of 20-1. Weigerstorfer also was named the winner of Queen of Beauty trophy for Europe, one of five continental prizes. After relinquish her title, Ulla returned to her home country of Austria and has starred in TV series, presented her own radio sport show, written two books about cosmetics and worked in the fast food industry. She also finds time for charity work and show jumping her three horses, a sport which she loves.
Linda Petursdottir – Iceland
Linda Pétursdóttir won the 1988 Miss World in the last pageant to be held at the historic Royal Albert Hall. The second Miss Iceland to win the title, Linda, 1.7 meters blonde hotel receptionist received a prize of 30,000 pounds after being chosen from among 84 contestants. Linda had been the bookmakers’ third favourite to win before the contest. She also was named winner of the Queen of Beauty Trophy for Europe, one of five continental prizes first awarded in 1981. Linda said she was a body-builder, swimmer and organist and that travelling was one of her life’s ambitions. She is now a successful business woman running Baðhúsið, The Bath House, a ladies-only health spa. After a period in Vancouver, Canada, she has returned to her native Iceland and given birth to a daughter Isabella. The daughter’s father has not been publicly revealed.
Aneta Kreglicka – Poland
Aneta Beata Kreglicka won the Miss World contest on 22 November 1989 in Hong Kong, representing Poland. She became the first woman from Poland to win the title in the first Miss World to be held outside England. In the same year, she also landed as first runner-up in the Miss International pageant, held in Kanazawa, Japan. In 2006, she took part in a popular world show, the third season of the Polish version of Dancing With The Stars. She was also one of the judges in Miss World 2006 pageant, which was held in Poland. She graduated economy at Gdansk University and started studying on Szkola Glówna Handlowa in Poland (Warsaw School of Economics).
A Globalized Culture Clash
The pageant was confronted in the 1990s by a new kind of resistance, rooted this time in growing anxiety about a changing world. Unlike earlier protests, which had been centered largely on sexism, opposition to the competition now played out against the backdrop of rising concern over the global dominance of multinational corporations and the widening gap between rich and poor.
In the 1990s, the Miss World competition looked for stages across the globe. South Africa had been banned from the competition for 13 years, but a postapartheid government hosted four competitions in this decade. These contests were held at the lavish Sun City casino resort and African theme park, which is groomed with man-made rain forests and carved out of the bush adjacent to the impoverished township of Ledig.
As the Miss World pageant stepped beyond its traditional borders, some viewed its over-the-top extravagance and Western standards of beauty emblematic of a kind of threatening, homogenized global culture. Concern of this sort mounted when India — which has the greatest share of the world’s poor and an extremely low literacy rate among women — hosted Miss World’s 45th annual competition.
India’s bid to host the competition had already triggered broad opposition across the spectrum, from Indian farmers to women’s groups, from right-wing Hindus of the Bharatiya Janata Party to members of India’s left-wing Communist Party. In the months leading up to the event, protests focused on Miss World as a symbol of global consumerism and an affront to Indian culture.
A women’s coalition sought a court-ordered injunction against the staging of the pageant. Newspaper editorials warned of the parade of “Mattel -manufactured Barbie dolls” poised to invade. Opposition turned violent when a group of protestors attacked the offices of the Bangalore company organizing the pageant. Activists also vandalized the showroom of a main sponsor of the event, spreading cow dung around.
As the international beauties began arriving in Bangalore in 1996, public demonstrations and sit-ins drew thousands of people. The protests spread to Delhi. Demonstrators burned Miss World effigies. Women staged their own mock competitions, wearing makeshift crowns reading “Miss Unemployment,” “Miss Disease” and “Miss Illiteracy.” With 20,000 armed policemen ready to control the crowds India poised for casualties. Threats of mass public suicide and reports of Maoist insurgents planning attacks fueled the government’s panic. By the competition’s end, though, only one protestor had died. He’d set himself on fire in protest of Miss World.
Never before in its history had the Miss World competition been so fiercely buffeted in the crossfire of social and political unrest. And more than 2 billion people watched the pageant from more than 150 countries.
Gina Tolleson – USA
Gina Marie Tolleson won the title of Miss South Carolina USA 1990 and was 1st runner up at Miss USA 1990. She went on to win the Miss World beauty pageant in 1990, representing the United States. She later went on to meet television personality Alan Thicke when she hosted the 1992 Miss World USA pageant. Shortly afterwards, the two were married. They had a son, Carter Thicke in July 1997, divorcing in 1999. Gina became executive editor of Santa Barbara Magazine in 2002. She married Christian Wiesenthal in 2003 and have two sons, Luca, born September 2005 and Tiago, born December 2006. Gina was also the first Miss World to host and give up the crown in the same stage. She along with British television personality Peter Marshall hosted the 1991 pageant from World Congress Center in Atlanta.1991
Ninibeth Leal Jimenez – Venezuela
1991 was an interesting year for the Miss World contest which, after last-minute scheduling the pageant was held in Atlanta, Georgia. Good news was that South Africa was back in the pageant after an absence of some 13 years and its representative, the lovely Diana Tilden-Davis, sailed in as second runner up. The judges, however, thought Venezuelan Ninibeth was the loveliest of all the contestants and she certainly accepted the crown with that regal mix of grace and joy. After her year of world travel Ninibeth fast realised that she could choose to live anywhere she chose. She eventually got married to an Australian model. Now an Australian citizen, she resides in that country with her husband, Travers Beynon and two children, Luciano and Valentina.
Julia Kourotchkina – Russia
Julia Alexandrovna Kourotchkina, Miss Russia, a voluptuous 1.8-metre-blonde, was crowned Miss World 1992 amid an extravaganza of glitz in the first pageant held at South Africa’s Sun City desert resort. Eighteen-year-old Kurotchkina beat Miss United Kingdom Claire Smith, 21, by a margin of one point, the closest in the 42-year history of the pageant. The crowning of Miss Russia was a coup for South African leisure magnate Sol Kerzner, who brought the Miss World pageant to Africa for the first time as part of the opening celebration of his 830 million rand ($275 million) Lost City hotel complex here.When Kourotchkina was asked by veteran British TV journalist Alan Whicker whether she thought beauty contests were demeaning to women, she replied with a giggly smile: “Everybody loves women.” It was an answer which won her over $90,000 worth of prizes and world’s most coveted beauty title.
Lisa Hanna – Jamaica
Lisa Hanna was the third Jamaican to win the Miss World title. She won the title in 1993 in Sun City, South Africa at 18 years old. Hanna had a small role in How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and she has hosted the popular Jamaican talk show, Our Voices. Lisa migrated to the U.S. in 2004 to pursue a career in broadcasting and was a guest presenter on the entertainment show Xtra. However, in late 2005, she relocated back to Jamaica and has been the communications consultant for the Hilton Hotel in New Kingston, the financial hub of Kingston. One of Jamaica’s most beloved beauty queens, Hanna went to the Queen’s School in Kingston and is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, where she successfully pursued a Bachelors and Masters degree in Communications. She is of African & Lebanese ancestry. During June 2007, she was catapulted into the public’s eyes again when the ruling political party, People National Party announced her as a candidate for key constituency for the country’s next general election which was constitutionally due in October 2007. However Hanna’s selection by the People National Party for the vacant South East St. Ann constituency has drawn the ire of her potential constituents. It has also sparked intense public discussions about the timing, her eligibility and her capability of functioning as a politician. After almost a week of protests by the constituents it was revealed that Hanna’s name is not on the voters list. However, it was later revealed by the electorial office of Jamaica that this would not prevent Hanna from running as MP. As persons do not have to be on the voters list to run for Member of Parliament. Hanna’s selection to represent the ruling Peoples National Party in the upcoming general election may prove to be a catastrophe in what is believed to be the safest non garrison seat for the governing party. It was reported that the former Miss World was handpicked by Prime Minister of Jamaica Hon. Portia Simpson Miller to represent the constituency. However, since the announcement Hanna as been the center of a public debate and protests by members of the constituency, as they claim Hanna does not live or work in the area. On September 3, 2007, Lisa Hanna went on to win the South Eastern St. Ann constituency by 2678 votes over the JLP’s Peter Fakhourie. This was a bitter and sweet victory for Hanna however as the Peoples National Party that she represents went on to lose their first general election after 18 years. Hanna was viewed as a possible Minister of Tourism if her party was victorious, She will however be sitting on the opposition side during her tenure as member of parliament.
Aishwarya Rai – India
Probably the most successful Miss World title holders, Rai won the Miss World crown in 1994 the same year that her fellow country girl Sushmita Sen won Miss Universe. After relinquished her crown, Rai made her movie debut in Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film Iruvar (1997) opposite Mohanlal. She had her first commercial success in the Tamil movie Jeans (1998), and came to the attention of Bollywood in the Hindi movie Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Her performance in the film won her the Filmfare Best Actress Award, and she successfully performed in Bhansali’s next project, Devdas (2002), for which she won her second Best Actress Award at the Filmfare. Since then, she has acted in over forty movies in Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, and English, including the international productions Bride & Prejudice (2003), Mistress of Spices (2005), and The Last Legion (2007) in English. The first woman from India to ever judge the Cannes International Film Festival, Rai is now the face of Bollywood. She She is now married to Indian actor Abhishek Bachchan. The wedding took place on 20 April 2007.
Jacqueline Aquilera Marcano – Venezuela
Nineteen-year-old Jacqueline Aguilera was one of 112 Miss World contestants who gathered together in spectacular Sun City, South Africa, for the 1995 pageant. A university student from Nueva Esparta, Jacqueline was 19 years old when she won the coveted crown. She also took home the Miss Photogenic Award. Her first words as Miss World 1995 were: “I am very happy with my triumph; now what I desire the most is a united world fighting for progress, for the sake of the future of our planet”. Since winning Miss World, Jacqueline has stayed in the modeling and promotions business. She now runs her own agency in Valencia, ‘Instituto Jacqueline Aguilera’, searching for the faces of the future.
Irene Skliva – Greece
A Greek native Irene Skliva won the 1996 Miss World. After winning the title “Miss Hellas” at the Miss Star Hellas pageant, she represented Greece in Bangalore, India during the highly-regarded Miss World contest in 1996. Afterwards the 18-year-old said she didn’t quite believe it was real: “I had the feeling it was just another rehearsal – in the rehearsals, in one rehearsal, they’d used me as the mock winner”. After completing her year as Miss World, Skliva returned to Greece where she pursued a career in television and modeling, her face appearing on the covers of numerous Greek magazines such as Diva and LipStick. She has participated in some of the world’s largest fashion shows in Athens, Milan and Munich. She is currently represented by Ace Models Agency. She was married in September 2002 and had her first child, a daughter, in July 2003. During the 2004 Summer Olympics, Skliva (like numerous other celebrities) left her signature on The Olive: The Tree of Athens, a sculptured olive tree located in the Water Plaza fun park which visitors flooded during the games, that represented the homecoming of the Olympics.
Diana Hayden – India
Hayden is of Anglo-Indian descent. As a teenager, she was a tomboy, tall and gangly. She went to St.Anns High School, Secunderabad but dropped out in the 8th standard to take family responsibilities. She continued her studies through open schooling and correspondence and graduated from Osmania University in English. Before modeling, she used to work for an Event management company called Encore. She then worked as a Public relations officer at BMG Crescendo where she managed careers for models Anaida and Mehnaz. After Anaida’s recommendation, she filled in for the Miss India contest. After winning Miss India she proceeded to win the coveted Miss World title. Hayden came into limelight at the 1997 Miss World pageant. She became a celebrity at 24 after winning the crown. Hayden became the third Indian woman to win the Miss World pageant. Like Aishwarya Rai, she entered Bollywood acting career in the Indian film industry and internationally. She became the third Miss World from India after Reita Faria and Aishwarya Rai. After trying to make a mark in Bollywood, Hayden moved to Los Angeles, California and devoted herself to social causes. In 2008, Diana Hayden became a wild card entry on the popular Indian show, Bigg Boss, which is based on the original UK show, Big Brother. She was voted out from Bigg Boss 2 house on the episode that aired on Nov 7th 2008. Following her tenure as the global representative for the prestigious Miss World organization, Hayden moved to the UK and studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. She also studied at Drama Studio London, where she concentrated on the works of Shakespeare and earned a Best Actress nomination from the studio. In 2001, she made her screen debut in the film version of Shakespeare’s Othello in South Africa. In 2005, the History Channel did a three-month series, Biography with Diana Hayden. In addition to featuring prominent world leaders, Hollywood actors and sports champions, the series also included special monthly interviews with Indian celebrities. The engagement, which marked the first time the History Channel had signed an Indian host for one of its shows, was rated one of the most successful educational television programs of the year. In 2006, Diana was signed by the Avalon Aviation Academy as the face of the Academy and currently serves as a celebrity guest lecturer for airline personnel training programs. In 2008 she was a contestant in reality Big Boss 2.
Linor Abargil – Israel
Linor Abargil is an Israeli model, who was the winner of the Miss World beauty pageant in 1998, after she had been crowned Miss Israel. She is 176 cm (5 ft 9 1/4 in) tall. Two months before being crowned Miss World, Abargil was raped in Italy by an Israeli Shlomo Nur, who was working as a travel agent in Milan. She made her case public and Nur was arrested in Israel, charged with and found guilty of rape. Abargil called for other women to follow her example. February 2006 newspapers announced that Lithuanian basketball superstar Šarunas Jasikevicius proposed to Linor Abargil, and the two started planning their wedding. Soon after Ynetnews announced that Baruch Marzel, the Chairman of the Jewish National Front party, wrote a letter to Linor Abargil Jasikevicius, in which he called on her to turn down Šarunas’ marriage proposal unless he converts. Abargil and Jasikevicius married in a ceremony near Barcelona, Spain, in July, 2006. In 2007-2008 Linor Abargil added Šarunas’ surname to her own name, now she is – Linor Abargil Jasikevicius.
Yukta Mookhey – India
A native of Mulund, Mumbai, Mookhey was crowned Miss World in December 1999 at the Olympia theatre in London. Mookhey’s family is from northern India, but she and her family lived in the Middle East until Mookhey was seven years of age. The Mookhey family migrated back to Mumbai (then Bombay) in June 1986. Mookhey’s mother Aruna runs a grooming workshop in Mumbai, while her father was a clothing company executive. Mookhey studied zoology at Kelkar college prior to winning the Miss World competition. Mookhey has a diploma in computer sciences and has studied Hindustani classical music. Mookhey is an active member of the right-wing organization BJP. Yukta and Prince Tuli, a 33-year-old ex financial analyst from New York, were engaged on September 7, 2008 at the Grand Maratha in Mumbai. Prince is the son of Bachetar and Harminder Kaur Tuli. Prince’s family owns a business empire in central India that runs into Logistics, Hotels, Malls, Education, and Construction Equipment. The two got married on November 2, 2008. The wedding was a traditional ‘Sikh’ ceremony which took place at a Gurudwara in Nagpur, which also happens to the Prince’s hometown. A grand reception was organized the same evening at the Tuli International hotel in Nagpur. Mika Singh along with his troupe of 14 people performed at the pre wedding cocktail and sangeet party. Prince Tuli danced on stage with Mika. The 49th Miss World pageant was held on 4 December 1999 at London’s Olympia Hall. The pageant was hosted by Ulrika Jonsson and model Melanie Sykes. The 1999 pageant attracted 94 delegates from all over the world. The 1999 pageant also marked the first time that Scotland and Wales fielded their respective delegates.
The Show Must Go On
After nearly a half-century, the Miss World pageant was staged for the first time without its architect, Eric Morley, in charge. Morley died during preparations for Miss World 2000. Even though Morley’s wife had long ago taken over the day-to-day operations of the contest, fans mourned the death of the man they knew as “Mr. World.”
But the new millennium also ushered in exciting firsts for the Miss World competition. For the first time, viewers from around the world could weigh in on their favorite contestants by telephoning in votes. The competition also broke its record for the number of international delegates competing for the title.
In 2001, Nigeria’s Agbani Darego became the first black woman from Africa to be crowned Miss World. When Darego proclaimed in her acceptance speech, “Black is beautiful,” she made pageant history. Her crowning also ignited the worst year of trouble for the Miss World contest.
After Darego won the title, Nigerian leaders grabbed at the chance to host the event in 2002. They banked on the promise of the boost to tourism expected to accompany the pageant. They hoped to improve Nigeria’s image. But as soon as the country’s leaders won the bid for the 2002 Miss World contest, protests began.
A Muslim woman walks past a church destroyed during riots in Kaduna, Nigeria, in November 2002. Violence erupted between Christians and Muslims after a newspaper article about the Miss World pageant suggested that Prophet Mohammed might have chosen one of the contestants as his wife. More than 200 people were killed in the riots, with hundreds more injured and thousands displaced from their homes. (AP/Wide World Photos)
Human rights advocates called for an international boycott of the contest, protesting the treatment of women under sharia, the code of law based on the Koran recently enacted in 12 of Nigeria’s northern states. Some Miss World contestants answered the call to protest. Several countries’ delegates dropped out of the competition and rallied behind the campaign to save a Muslim Nigerian woman, Amina Lawal, sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery. Amid growing international attention to the case, the Nigerian government promised that Lawal’s sentence would not be carried out.
The Miss World contest would go on. But inside Nigeria, some Muslims expressed their own discontent over the competition, condemning it as an indecent spectacle. Contest organizers tried to quiet the criticism by postponing the pageant, originally scheduled during Ramadan, until after the Muslim holy month.
But after a young fashion writer in Nigeria wrote that Prophet Mohammed probably would have chosen one of the Miss World contestants as his wife, old tensions between Christians and Muslims exploded. Riots erupted in the northern city of Kaduna, where two years before, 2,000 people had died in religious clashes. The trouble spread to Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. The death toll exceeded 200 people, with hundreds of others reported injured.
The restaging of the Miss World contest didn’t spare its organizers from further controversy. London’s mayor blamed the contest for bringing “tragedy and strife” to Africa. British author and broadcaster Muriel Gray opposed the competition’s relocation, charging, “These girls will be wearing swimwear dripping with blood.” No British television channel agreed to broadcast the event.
But even with bloodshed linked to Miss World, the world’s oldest beauty pageant has persevered. In 2003, contestants will pack their bags for the tropical shores of the island of Hainan in South China. The ever-expanding Chinese market offers contest sponsors the prospect of a huge audience and offers Miss World organizers enormous potential for advertising revenue.
Priyanka Chopra – India
Former Miss India World and later becoming Miss World 2000, Chopra made her acting debut with the Tamil film Thamizhan (2001). Two years later, she made her Bollywood debut with Anil Sharma’s The Hero: Love Story of a Spy and had her first commercial success with her second release, Andaaz from the same year, for which she won a Filmfare Best Female Debut Award. Becoming the second woman to win the Filmfare Best Villain Award for her critically acclaimed performance in Abbas-Mustan’s Aitraaz (2004), Chopra later went on to deliver commercial success with films like Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004), Krrish (2006), her biggest commercial success so far, and Don – The Chase Begins Again (2006), establishing herself as a popular actress. Born in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand to Dr.Ashok Chopra and Dr.Madhu Akhauri, both doctors, Chopra spent her childhood in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, Newton, Massachusetts and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Her mother comes from a Bihari Kayastha family settled in Jamshedpur, while her father comes from a family of Punjabi origin, settled in Bareilly. She also has a brother, Siddharth, who is eight years younger than her. Since her father was in the Army, her family frequently moved. Chopra studied at St. Maria Goretti in Bareilly, as a young girl and later went to the United States, where she was a student at Newton North High School in Newton, Massachusetts and North Surrey Secondary School in Surrey, BC before returning to India to complete high school at Army School (Bareilly). She began college at Jai Hind College in Mumbai but left after winning the Miss World pageant. Chopra was crowned Miss India World and later Miss World in 2000. In the same year, Lara Dutta and Dia Mirza, both from India, won the Miss Universe and Miss Asia Pacific crowns, in a rare triple. When she won the Miss World crown, she became the fifth Indian woman to win the title, and the fourth Indian woman to win in a span of seven years. Her most recent releases, Fashion and Dostana, however, have succeeded at the box office, and her performance in the former garnered her critical acclaim.2001
Agbani Darego – Nigeria
Darego was crowned Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria in 2001. Contrary to popular belief, Darego did not replace Valerie Peterside after the latter was dethroned – Peterside had won Miss Nigeria. Before MBGN, Darego had participated in the Face of Africa modelling competition, but failed to make it past the first round. While a first-year student of the University of Port Harcourt, she represented Nigeria in the 2001 Miss Universe competition, held in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. She placed among the top 10 semi-finalists, finishing seventh. She was the only black semi-finalist that year – and the only finalist to wear a maillot swimsuit. In November 2001, Darego traveled to South Africa to compete in the Miss World competition, beating Miss Scotland and Miss Aruba in the final round to become the first black African winner of the title. Her victory in the pageant, hosted by American talk show host Jerry Springer, was widely welcomed in her home country. Her one year tenure included goodwill trips and scheduled appearances on behalf of the pageant. In addition, the organizers of the competition began preparations to host the 2002 finals in Nigeria, as the pageant is often held in the winner’s home country the subsequent year. One week before the 2002 pageant, riots erupted in Kaduna (source required) and other cities in northern Nigeria after small protests against the competition inflamed simmering religious tension between Muslims and Christians. Several hundred died in the violence that ensued. The 2002 Miss World competition was moved from Nigeria to the United Kingdom, where it was staged in London that December. Darego left the University of Port Harcourt after her reign as Miss World ended in 2002. She is signed to Next Model Management, and is currently pursuing a modelling career in Europe. She has modelled for L’Oreal cosmetics.
Azra Akin – Turkey
Azra Akin was crowned Miss World 2002 at the annual pageant held on December 7, 2002 at Alexandra Palace in London, England, representing Turkey. She was born on December 8, 1981 in the Dutch town of Almelo, and was raised in the Netherlands by Turkish parents. Akin enjoys ballet and plays the flute. She also won the pageant’s Best Gown award. At 17, she was selected Elite Model Look 1998 of Turkey. In 2003 she won a gold medal when she participated in the British reality TV show The Games. Akin has also played the leading role in the long term TV series Yagmur Zamani, minor role as an actress in Turkish TV shows including Teberik Sanssiz and the 2005 feature Istanbul Tales (Anlat Istanbul). She speaks Dutch, Turkish and English. She has been dating model and actor Kivanç Tatlitug since 2002.
Rosanna Davison – Ireland
Rosanna Diane Davison was the winner of the Miss World 2003 title. She is the daughter of musician Chris De Burgh. The song “For Rosanna” was written by her father in her honour for his 1986 album, Into the Light. Rosanna attended Rathdown School, a private, Protestant, all-girls school located in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin. She has stated that she was “just grateful (she) was brought up in a Protestant way”. In 2006, she graduated from University College Dublin with a degree in Sociology and History of Art. December 2003 saw Rosanna, along with 106 other contestants, compete in the ‘Miss World’ competition in China. Rosanna went on to win the crown and is the first ‘Miss Ireland’ to win the ‘Miss World’ title. She was also chosen as the Irish representative for the Miss Hawaiian Tropic 2003 beauty pageant, but declined the offer to participate in order to concentrate on her exams. Rosanna is currently the face of ‘Holiday On Ice’, and has also been involved in two campaigns for Newbridge Silverware and Rally Ireland. Rosanna is currently signed to Assets Modelling Agency in Dublin and Storm Model Management in the UK. Rosanna and boyfirend Wesley Quirke found each other on Bebo. According to reports in the media the couple met up when Wesley contacted Rosanna via her Bebo webpage and the romance evolved from there.
Maria Julia Mantilla Garcia – Peru
María Julia “Maju” Mantilla García was born in 1984 in Trujillo, a city in Peru’s northern coast. On December 4, 2004, in the Beauty Crown Theatre located in the Chinese beach city of Sanya, she was crowned Miss World 2004 by the reigning champion, 2003’s Miss Ireland Rosanna Davison, daughter of singer Chris de Burgh. During her reign, Mantilla performed a variety of duties focused on fundraising for charitable organizations. She has travelled to Indonesia, Russia, Peru, United States, Russia, Czech Republic, China and many other countries during her reign. Popularly known in her country as “Maju” Mantilla, her aunt Maria Julia Mantilla Mayer was Miss Peru 1969. She won the right to represent Peru in the Miss World contest as runner-up to Liesel Holler (Miss Peru Universe 2004) and was one of the major favorites in the run-up to the pageant, which was decided by a global television/telephone/online vote. The final contest was held in the southernmost Hainan province. The pageant, in its 54th edition, included contestants from 107 nations and attracted about 2.5 billion TV viewers around the world. Mantilla is studying to become a high school teacher and plans to start a second career in tourism. Mantilla is the older of two sisters. She has worked as a model and as the Hostess of a popular TV show in Peru. She is currently studying to become a high school teacher and plans to start a second career in Tourism. One of her dreams is to own an online tourism company to promote her native town and country all over the world. Her city, Trujillo, is a mixture of colonial and pre-Columbian architecture. In 2001, Mantilla became the Peruvian national champion of Triathlon and Penthathlon, and was elected national athlete of the year. She is a professional in The Marinera, a typical local dance. With a group of ladies, developed a program in Trujillo to give breakfast to hundreds of children in poor areas.2005
Unnur Birna Vilhjalmsdottir – Iceland
Unnur Birna Vilhjálmsdóttir was crowned Miss World 2005 on December 10, 2005 in the Beauty Crown Theatre located in the Chinese beach city of Sanya. For the past year Unnur has been studying anthropology at the University of Iceland and next autumn she will commence her studies in law as she plans to graduate as a lawyer, as well as an anthropologist. During the summer of 2005 Unnur Birna temped as a police officer at Keflavík International Airport. She is the chairman of the college social club and teaches dance. She enjoys acting, singing, all types of dancing, snow-boarding, hiking, camping, horsemanship and has a special talent for choreography and playing the piano. Her mother, Unnur Steinsson, won the Miss Iceland pageant in 1983 and was a finalist at the 1983 Miss World pageant. Unnur’s mother was 3-4 months pregnant during the 1983 pageant. This was against the pageant rules and warrants disqualification. However, this was not found out until after the pageant was over. Unnur is the third Miss World from Iceland, the former two were Linda Pétursdóttir in 1988 and Hólmfríður Karlsdóttir in 1985. Unnur’s reign only lasted 9 months because the pageant was scheduled for September 2006.
Tatana Kucharova – Czech Republic
Tatána Kucharová won the title of Miss Czech Republic and Miss World 2006. In doing so, she became the first woman from the Czech Republic to win the title at the final event of the Miss World competition, held on September 30, 2006, in Warsaw, Poland. Kucharová beat 103 other women in voting among a panel of judges and from television viewers around the world during a two-hour finals ceremony in the Polish capital, where the president of Warsaw watched the finals, and presented the new Miss World with a scroll, dubbing her as an honorary ambassador of Warsaw, and asking her to carry a message of peace around the world. Kucharová, a 177cm tall high-school student with long blond hair, was born in Trnava, Slovakia and grew up in the town of Opocno, Czech Republic. She told the judges that she wants to attend university and then become a model, which she hopes will enable her to travel. She likes tennis and horse riding and has many pets, including a turtle, bird, many cats, rabbits and guinea pigs. Her personal motto is “Always be an optimist.” Tatána handed over her crown on December 1, 2007, to the next Miss World, Zhang Zilin of China in Sanya, China. Among the nations she has travelled to during her reign were her very own Czech Republic, besides Poland, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, United States, China, England, Northern Ireland, Russia, Sri Lanka and Latvia.
Zhang Zi Lin – China
Zhang Zilin is the Miss World 2007 title holder, representing the People’s Republic of China as Miss China World 2007. She is the first Miss World of East Asian origin.Zhang was born in Shijiazhuang, Hebei, on 22 March, 1984. She then moved to the Chinese capital, Beijing, where she attended high school from 1996 to 2002. She later completed her studies at the University of Science and Technology Beijing and obtained a degree in business administration in 2006. Zhang is now working as a fashion model. Having grown up in an academically oriented family, Zhang has always valued her education and has made many achievements in her studies. Both a scholar and an athlete, Zhang Zilin began training in various types of sports at the tender age of eight. She excels in the Triple Jump and Hurdles and has undergone professional training in the 100 meter Hurdles alongside Olympic Gold Medalist Liu Xiang. In 2002, Zhang finished high school and commenced her studies at the University of Science and Technology Beijing where she graduated in 2006. As an undergraduate, she competed and won many athletic competitions. In 2005, she won the “Sports Advance Distinction Award” at her university. Zhang’s career in modeling and pageantry started in 2003 where she participated in a beauty pageant organized by New Silk Road Modeling Agency. As a first timer in pageantry, Zhang only managed to land herself in the top 10 due to lack of experience. However, she was later discovered by the executive manager of the agency, Lee Xiao Bai, who declared that Zhang had the potential to become a supermodel. Since then Zhang has graced the runways in major fashion capitals of the world including Paris and Berlin. In 2006, she was shortlisted as one of the top ten professional supermodels during the Chinese Fashion and Culture Awards. After that she participated in Giorgio Armani’s 2007 Autumn/Winter Collection show in Paris and later earned herself the title of “Top Model of the Year” from New Silk Road modeling agency. Zhang lent her voice for the 2008 Summer Olympics soundtrack and also appeared in the music video for the same song entitled “Beijing Welcomes You.”
Ksenia Sukhinova – Russia
Ksenia Sukhinova appeared in all of the postcards that introduced every participating song in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. Born 1987 in Nizhnevartovsk, Russian SFSR, she lives in Tyumen, Siberia, where she is a fifth-year student at the Tyumen State Oil and Gas University, studying cybernetic systems. She has an excellent academic record; according to the university’s deputy president Veronika Yefremova the discipline is very difficult, “but Sukhinova’s grades are all A’s and B’s.” Ksenia’s measurements are 1.78m (5’10”), she has blonde hair and blue eyes. Her first name is often romanized Ksenya or Kseniya. She is a big fan of sports, and has been doing calisthenics, swimming and biathlon since childhood. Her favorite book is Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. When asked a question about her private life, she confessed that her heart was “still free.” She was the Miss World 2008 Beach Beauty competition second runner-up, placing after Miss Mexico who was the eventual winner, and Miss South Africa, the first runner-up. She won the Miss World Top Model competition on December 3, 2008. Both her placements at the two first fast track competitions remind Zhang Zilin’s successes at Miss World 2007. On December 13, Ksenia was crowned the new Miss World at the finals in Johannesburg, South Africa after beating 108 contestants. The first runner up was India’s Parvathy Omanakuttan and second runner up was Gabrielle Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago. She is the second Russian contestant to win Miss World, the first was Julia Kourotchkina in 1992. The finale was watched by 1 billion viewers from 187 countries. In a press conference after her victory, she said: “I am very glad to have brought this crown to Russia. I am proud that it is Russia that got the crown and I devote my victory to the whole country and to its every citizen… and to my grandmother.” She also said that she hoped to improve Russia’s international image to show the world that a girl from Russia could personify kindness, beauty and happiness. She says raising funds for charity will be one her main tasks in 2009.
Kaiane Aldorino – Gibraltar
Aldorino was born in Gibraltar where she still resides. Prior to becoming Miss Gibraltar 2009, she had been working as a human resources clerk at St Bernard’s Hospital in Gibraltar for five years. As with most Gibraltarians she is bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish. She enjoys playing netball and training at the gym. She has been a dancer since the age of 14 with Urban Dance Group, and has experience performing locally and abroad. She has performed in Gibraltar and Spain, and has trained in Modern, Hiphop, Contemporary and Commercial styles. The highlight of her dancing career, and an experience she has mentioned for many Miss World interviews, has been when she participated at the 2008 International Dance Organisation World Showdance Championships, in Riesa, Germany, where she represented Gibraltar in the Formation category as part of the Gibraltar National Dance Team. They obtained a 17th place, and made history by being the first time Gibraltar passed the first round, in the Formation category. On 27 June 2009, Aldorino was crowned Miss Gibraltar 2009, succeeding Krystle Robba, during a beauty pageant held at the Alameda Open Air Theatre. Aldorino made history on the 12 December 2009 by becoming the first ever Miss Gibraltar to be crowned Miss World. She was also the first Gibraltarian contestant to have reached the beauty pageant’s semifinals after receiving the title of Miss World Beach Beauty. Shortly after Aldorino was crowned by her predecessor, Ksenia Sukhinova of Russia, Gibraltar burst into celebration as many Gibraltarians took to the streets. The masses waved the Flag of Gibraltar and chanted in jubilation as cars hooted their horns and fireworks were set off. Chief Minister of Gibraltar Peter Caruana hailed her win as a “wonderful achievement for her and for Gibraltar” and promised a “homecoming fit for a queen”. On 15 December 2009, the Government of Gibraltar announced Kaiane would be flown into Gibraltar from London on a private jet the following afternoon. On 16 December 2009, the Government issued a press release in which it detailed the events that would take place upon Kaiane’s arrival. These included a public greeting at Gibraltar Airport a parade through Main Street, where Kaiane would ride in the same open-top car as Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Charles during their honeymoon visit to Gibraltar. On 17 December 2009 Gibraltar came to a standstill as she paraded down Main Street preceded by the band of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment and then appeared at the City Hall balcony.This was followed by a press conference and reception at the Rock Hotel. The celebrations culminated with a fireworks display from Gibraltar Harbour. The government also requested all businesses in Gibraltar who were reasonably able to do so to close between 4pm and 6pm on this day to allow their staff to take part in the welcoming celebrations
Alexandria Mills – USA
Mills was crowned Miss World 2010 on October 30, 2010 in Sanya, China. Mills is the first woman from the United States to win Miss World since Gina Tolleson in 1990 and the 60th Miss World in the history of the pageant. Mills, a resident of the Louisville suburb of Shepherdsville, Kentucky, had an interest in modeling at least as early as the eighth grade; following Mills’ victory in Miss World 2010, a counselor at her middle school recalled that she had a modeling portfolio even then. The counselor also recalled her as being “very outgoing and very confident”, and that Mills had demonstrated fearlessness by volunteering to sing “God Bless America” over the school intercom. Prior to participating in Miss World, 18-year-old Mills was homeschooled for high school, graduating shortly before the competition, and wanted to become a teacher. According to her mother, she also has an interest in landscape photography. A vegetarian, Mills is also a fashion model and is listed with Elite Models agency. Mills was appointed as Miss World United States 2010 to represent her country at the 2010 Miss World pageant held in Sanya, China. She placed first runner-up during the Miss World Beach Beauty fast track event held on October 19 and second-runner-up in Miss World Top Model held on October 23, becoming the eventual winner of Miss World 2010 on October 30, beating early bookie’s favorite Mariann Birkedal of Norway who finished in the top seven. Thus far during her reign of Miss World, she has traveled to Australia, China, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Trinidad & Tobago, Kenya, United Kingdom and the USA.
Ivian Sarcos – Venezuela
Ivian Sarcos is a Venezuelan beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss World 2011 on November 6, 2011 in London, United Kingdom. Sarcos is the first woman from her country to win Miss World since Jacqueline Aguilera in 1995 and the 61st Miss World in the history of the pageant. Ivian is a Diplomacy student at the Universidad Central de Venezuela who stands 1.80 m (5’11”) tall. Being an orphan at the age of 8 as her parents died, Sarcos was raised by the nuns in a convent in Cojedes. She had intended to become a nun, but she found a new passion in the world of fashion and started her career as a model. Sarcos comes from a family of 12 brothers and sisters. Sarcos competed as Miss Amazonas in her country’s national beauty pageant, Miss Venezuela 2010, on October 28, 2010, and obtained the title of Miss World Venezuela 2010. She also won the L’bel Most Beautiful Face award. On 6 November 2011, Sarcos won the 2011 Miss World pageant held in Earls Court Exhibition Centre, in London, United Kingdom. She placed third runner-up during the Miss World Beach Beauty event held on October 29 and fifth-runner-up in Miss World Top Model also held on October 29, becoming the eventual winner of Miss World 2011 on November 6. She became the sixth woman from Venezuela to capture the Miss World crown. In a press conference after her victory, she said: “This has taught me that life, although it may be bad, doesn’t have to end badly. Although I no longer have my parents, it has taught me to be stronger”. “I want to carry on doing the wonderful work that ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ and the Miss World organization does and to help people in need,” she said, “I want to help people like me”. The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, congratulated Sarcos, by telephone and on twitter. Ivian was interviewed on Univision for two TV programs (Despierta America, Don Francisco Presenta) in Miami (USA) and had a big homage during 7 hours special on Venevision in her homecoming in Venezuela reaching 73% share of the viewing audience. A press conference for her victory in Miss World 2011 was held in Caracas with several journalists. She appears on Hello (magazine) for UK and OK! magazine for Venezuela. On January 4, 2012, President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, received Sarcos with flowers and plants a kiss on the hand of Miss World 2011 Ivian Sarcos after their meeting at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas. On the other hand, he also gave his government’s support. Ivian has a foundation, called Belleza con Proposito (Beauty with a purpose), for people in need.