Sunday night, December 14, 2014 the ExCel London hosted the 64th annual Miss World competition. The glitzy competition’s grand finale made history when it crowned the First Miss South Africa as Miss World 2014 in more than 55 years. The first time a competitor was crown at the Miss World competition was in 1958 with then Miss South Africa Penelope Anne Coelen. The second Miss South Africa to hold the title was in 1974 when Miss United Kingdom Helen Elizabeth Morgan from Wales won the prestigious title but had to relinquish it just days after being crowned when it was discovered that she had a child. The title was then given to the runner up at the time, Miss South Africa Anneline Kriel.
The 22-year-old Miss South Africa, Rolene Strauss, was one of 122 contestants to take part in the most extravagant pageant competition. She was crowned by the current Miss World, Megan Young of the Philippines, clasped her hands together in complete surprise.
Strauss, a four-year medical student, is the daughter of a doctor and nurse. She wore an off-the-shoulder, romantic pale pink evening gown. She waved ecstatically to the crowd as the blue and gold jeweled crown was placed on her head.
After she was crowned Strauss gleefully stated “South Africa this is for you, I think I will brace myself for what’s about to happen. It’s a huge responsibility.”
The Miss World 2014 runners- up were Miss Hungary, Edina Kulcsar, a former Finalis in the 2009 Miss Plastic Hungary beauty pageant. Miss United States, Elizabeth Safrit, who represented North Carolina in the Miss United States beauty pageant. They placed second and third respectively.
Rounding off the top ten finalists were:
4. Australia: Courtney Thorpe, a marketing student
5. England: Carina Tyrrell, a med student at the prestigious University of Cambridge.
6. Guyana: Rafieya Husain, a business administration student
7. Brazil: Julia Gama, a chemical engineering student
8. Kenya: Idah Nguma, a marketing executive
9. Mexico: Daniela Álvarez Reyes, Miss Mundo Mexico
10. India: Koyal Rana, NGO and director of the Moksha Foundation
Miss Malaysia competed in a live sing-off with Miss Scotland and proceeded to with the Talent portion of the competition. The Heart of Miss World was won by Miss Brazil, Guyana, India, Indonesia and Kenya as the judges was unable to to choose one winner. Miss Finland was won the sporting portion of the competition; Miss United States won the Multimedia competition; Miss Sweden won in the beach fashion section; Miss Bosnia and Hercegovnia won the Top Model round of the competition.
People around the world were given the opportunity to participate in the Miss World competition by choosing one of the contestants to join the top ten contestants for a chance to win the coveted title via a mobile app. The People’s Choice Award was given to Miss Thailand, Nonthawan Nonthawan Thongleng- a singer, TV host and model.
The Miss World finalists plan to travel to the country of Honduras the home of slain contestant, Miss Honduras,19-year-old Maria Jose Alvarado, who was discovered shot to death alongside her sister last month. The contestants plan to build a school for under-privileged kids named in the sisters’ honor.
“We hope that it will really start to impress on the people in Honduras that the violence, and hurting people like those two innocent women… maybe they can think again before they take a gun,” Miss World chairwoman Julia Morley said to AFP in a brief statement.
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