SA beauty crowned Miss World

Lesotho Times - - Lifestyle -

LONDON — Miss South Africa, 22-year-old Ro­lene Strauss, was crowned Miss World 2014 at the contest’s glitzy fi­nal in London on Sun­day, with an es­ti­mated bil­lion view­ers watch­ing on tele­vi­sion around the globe.

Miss Hun­gary, Ed­ina Kulc­sar, was judged the run­ner-up and Miss United States, El­iz­a­beth Safrit, came third in the 64th an­nual com­pe­ti­tion, con­tested by women from 121 coun­tries.

Free State Univer­sity med­i­cal stu­dent Strauss clasped her hands to­gether in sur­prise and was crowned by the out­go­ing Miss World, Megan Young of the Philip­pines, to huge cheers in the EX­CEL ex­hi­bi­tion cen­tre. “South Africa, this is for you,” Strauss said. “I think I will brace my­self for what’s about to hap­pen. It’s a huge re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

Straus, from Volk­srust, Mpumalanga, told AFP she wanted to help spread ed­u­ca­tion in her home­land and thereby help other peo­ple re­alise their dreams.

“I am what I am to­day be­cause of the op­por­tu­ni­ties I have re­ceived and I would love to give oth­ers the same op­por­tu­ni­ties; ed­u­cat­ing, the op­por­tu­nity to be ed­u­cated, to make healthy choices and also to live their dreams,” Strauss said.

And she was al­ready get­ting used to the glit­ter­ing crown.

“I’ll def­i­nitely keep it on as long as I can but my par­ents are stay­ing around here so they’ll be hug­ging me and I’m afraid that it might fall off,” she said.

How­ever, this year’s event was rocked by the mur­der of Miss Hon­duras, 19-year-old Maria Jose Al­varado, who was shot dead along with her sis­ter last month.

Po­lice in Hon­duras ac­cuse her sis­ter’s boyfriend of shoot­ing them after see­ing his part­ner danc­ing with another man at a party.

Strauss and other con­tes­tants will travel to the crime-plagued cen­tral Amer­i­can na­tion to build a school named in the sis­ters’ hon­our.

“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 told AFP.

Sun­day’s show started with a spec­tac­u­lar chore­ographed dance rou­tine, with all the beauty queens on stage in cos­tumes in­spired by their home­lands — in­clud­ing Miss Bo­livia in a colour­ful feath­ered head­dress.

While beauty re­mains cen­tral to the event, the women tak­ing part are chiefly judged on their tal­ents and in­volve­ment in good causes.

Miss Malaysia won the tal­ent com­pe­ti­tion in a live sing-off with Miss Scot­land.

In the Beauty with a Pur­pose sec­tion — the heart of Miss World — con­tes­tants present a char­i­ta­ble project they have been work­ing on in their home­land.

In this sec­tion, the judges gave equal first place to Misses Brazil, Guyana, In­dia, In­done­sia and Kenya, un­able to sep­a­rate them.

In rounds held since the con­tes­tants ar­rived in London, Miss Fin­land topped the sport­ing com­pe­ti­tion; Miss United States was the mul­ti­me­dia win­ner; Miss Bos­nia and Herce­gov­ina won the top model round and Miss Swe­den tri­umphed in beach fash­ion. Bol­ly­wood star hon­oured

The event also fea­tured a spe­cial 20-year award for 1994’s Miss World, Bol­ly­wood star Aish­warya Rai.

The 41-year-old In­dian ac­tress ap­peared on stage with her film star hus­band Ab­hishek Bachchan, their daugh­ter Aarad­hya and her mother.

The prize was for the “Dhoom 2” star’s char­i­ta­ble work with chil­dren with cleft palates since be­ing made fa­mous by Miss World.

“I stand here over­whelmed by this hon­our,” she said.

The 10 con­tes­tants who topped the fi­nal score­board were, in de­scend­ing or­der, from In­dia, South Africa, Eng­land, Guyana, Brazil, Hun­gary, Kenya, United States, Mex­ico and Aus­tralia.

They were joined by Miss Thai­land, who won the peo­ple’s choice award, voted for by peo­ple around the world through a mo­bile phone app.

The judges chose Miss Hun­gary, Miss Aus­tralia, Miss South Africa, Miss United States and Miss Eng­land as their top five be­fore pick­ing their top three.

Miss World be­gan in 1951, a year be­fore its chief ri­val Miss Uni­verse.

Strauss is the third South African Miss World, the coun­try hav­ing held the ti­tle in 1958 and 1974.

Venezuela tops the all-time leader board with six ti­tles, ahead of In­dia and the United King­dom on five ti­tles each.

— AFP

Ro­lene Strauss is crowned Miss World 2014 in east london on Sun­day

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