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Miss World 1959

By Julio Rodríguez Matute


                During his three months of convalescence and worried that only twenty countries had sent their representatives to Miss World in 1958, Morley devoted his free time to sending many more letters of invitation to new nations because he wanted to expand his brand globally. He was determined to achieve some forty participating nations that, until that time, had not achieved its main rival, Miss Universe. And preventing that candidates from some confirmed countries did not arrive at the last moment, which always happened every year, he decided to send about fifty invitations to the same number of countries in advance so that the possible directors interested had time to look for sponsors to cover the expenses of travel of their representatives.

                On this occasion, the letters sent were much more professional and explained that the Miss World contest was conducted at the highest level and that it was not a mere beauty contest. In it the girls would be evaluated not only for their appearance but also for their personality and emphasized that the contestants generally had a high educational level. They also mentioned that during the seven or eight days of their stay in London, the candidates would be very well cared for by specialized chaperones and that the organization covered the expenses of lodging, food, entertainment and other expenses during the contest.

               As always, not all of his letters and requests were answered and, once again, he did not get a positive response from the Soviet Union; The same happened with Egypt and Colombia. The National Beauty Contest, chaired by Mrs. Teresa Pizarro de Angulo, again ignored the invitation to join the Miss World contest that year. In Ceylon (today Sri Lanka) and in Poland there were no national competitions for political issues, while in Switzerland and Venezuela there was no election of their beauty queens due to lack of interest. In the case of this South American country, they had just entered a new democratic era after the fall of the military dictatorship on January 23rd, 1958 and there was not much interest of the companies in sponsoring the Miss Venezuela contest, so their director , Reinaldo Espinoza Hernández, decided not to hold the contest in 1959.

                In Malaya (now Malaysia), Morley’s invitation was welcomed and the Alliance party set out to organize the event that would conclude at a festival of culture and talent for four days at the end of July, however, very few girls demonstrated interest in participating and the contest had to be canceled at the end of June.

                After the withdrawal of the newspaper “Sunday Dispatch” as the main sponsor of the event, Morley managed to get another newspaper, the “News of the World” to support him in the 1959 edition. Another of the changes proposed by Morley, was to move the final, which was celebrated in the month of October, to the month of November, so that the countries had a little more time to select their queens and cover their expenses to travel to London.

                On the other hand, the South African Penny Coelen, Miss World 1958, had returned to the British capital to participate in a car show in October but left for the United States in the middle of that month, arriving aboard the Liberty ship to New York City on November 2nd to then continue to Hollywood where she would do a film screening. For these reasons she would not attend the election of the new Miss World.


               Jorunn Kristjansen was crowned in Norway as the new Miss Norway and who would be responsible for representing her country in both the Miss Universe and the Miss World contests. However, after returning from Miss Universe, she presented her resignation to the title so then the Norwegian representation in Miss World was given to her first runner-up, Berit Grundvig.

                Some countries such as Japan, Greece, Korea and Denmark chose two queens in their national competitions, the main one for Miss Universe and the second one for Miss World. In others, such as the United States, Argentina, Peru, Hawaii, Hong Kong and Cyprus, exclusive events were organized for the election of the representative to the world competition.

                This year, Argentina would participate for the first time in the Miss World pageant in London. Miss Argentina for Miss World was Amalia Yolanda Scuffi, 17, born in the city of Mar del Plata. In the United States, the castings began in July to select the North American representative to the Morley contest. The rights were held at the time by Alfred Patricelli, who together with Janette Drayman, a representative of the Miss World contest, and the reporter of the Post-Telegram Journal, Peter Mastronardi, finally elected Mrs. Loretta Powell, 24, of Stratford, Connecticut as “Queen of the United States” on September 1st in New York City. Powell, whose maiden name was Jezierski, was a divorced woman and had been Mrs Connecticut in 1955, in addition to having obtained another seven beauty titles during her lifetime.

                On the night of September 29th, the first edition of the contest “Venus Peru” was held at the Municipal Theater of Lima, the winner was Maria Elena Rosell Zapata from Piura and who was crowned already in the early hours of the next day. On October 9th, the first Miss Hong Kong for Miss World in history was chosen. The winner, Michele Mok, 17, was crowned at the Hotel Peninsula. Her finalists were Lily Wong and Ann Law. In Hawaii, a contest was also held for the first time to choose a representative to the English contest. The event was called “Miss Hawaiian” for being sponsored by the Hawaiian Airlines. It had the participation of 7 young ladies and was held on Friday, October 16th at the Hawaiian Village Hotel. Margaret Brumaghin, who was about to be 27, was the winner.

                Cyprus chose for the second time its beauty queen, Lia Psara, crowned “Miss Cyprus 1960” in October 1959, in an event held at a well-known restaurant in the city of Limassol and directed by Michalakis Schizas. At that time, the candidates did not parade, but attended the dance party at the restaurant and the judges went from table to table watching the girls and from there they chose a queen. Lia received the title from the outgoing queen and first Miss Cyprus in history, Lelia Mavropoulos.

                Meanwhile, in Holland, the winner of the contest in 1959, Peggy Erwich, decided that she would not participate in Miss World due to commitments made in her career of modeling. Therefore, the local organizers decided that they would send the blonde Corine Rottschäfer, Miss Holland 1957 to the British contest instead. The reasons were obvious: Corine had a vast experience in beauty contests as she had won the Miss Europe title in 1957 and had been a semifinalist in Miss Universe in 1958.


Irene Dobler

                On Wednesday, September 23rd, the new “Miss Maple Leaf” was chosen in Montreal, Canada, whose winner would be the representative of that country in the world competition. The new titleholder was Irene Dobler, a 21-year-old Hungarian blonde from Toronto. But on Friday 25th of that same month she was stripped of the title because she had secretly traveled back to Toronto with her boyfriend, Joe Blasko, 25, who said he “wanted a wife, not a queen.” The girl declared to the media that she had resigned after being insulted by the organizers of the event, Joe Tardi and Margie Gecy, but they alleged that she had been dismissed as she preferred to marry. She was then replaced by the first runner-up, Huguette Demers, 21, of Montreal.


                The 1959 Miss World contest would be held from November 4th to 11th with a record participation of 42 candidates. This year, Morley decided to make major changes to the contest. The host hotel would be the iconic The Savoy, a five-star hotel located in the Strand of London on the banks of the River Thames; the participants would stay in a total of 14 suites and would have chaperones at the rate of one for every half a dozen girls. The final of the contest would be held a Tuesday (November 10th) instead of the usual Monday. The rescheduling of the official activities of the contest also underwent changes and the usual Presentation to the Press, which was formally the opening of the contest, would be this time held on Friday, November 6th so that all candidates could be present. Another of Morley’s achievements for that edition of Miss World was that the company sponsoring the car for the winner, would also give another for the first runner-up; another of the changes introduced was that for the first time in history 12 semifinalists would be chosen and that not only the winner, but also the first two finalists would receive a crown. On the other hand, the income of the Lyceum Ballroom would be destined to charities.


                A week before the competition began, Morley moved the press office to a suite at The Savoy Hotel. He received a telephone consultation every five minutes. When the first competitors arrived earlier that week, all of their four phones were busy. Even the Russian and Chinese press had shown interest in the event. Philip Nathan was in charge of serving the press.

                The number of expected candidates dropped to 40 when at the beginning of November they excused themselves from attending due to economic issues. They were Miss Cyprus (Lia Psara) and Miss Tunisia (Habiba Bent Abdallah).

                The first contestant to travel to London was Miss Hawaii (Margaret Moanikeala Brumaghim), who left Honolulu on October 28th, a journey that took her to Los Angeles, New York and finally London, where she arrived on the 31st of that month. That same day, Miss Hong Kong (Michele Mok Ping-Ching) also arrived. On November 1st, the brand new Miss South Africa (Moya Meaker), an 18-year-old nurse arrived at the London airport aboard a South African Airways flight. Interestingly, the plane was piloted by her father. That same day, Miss Jamaica (Sheila Mechtilde Chong), Miss Ghana (Star Nyaniba Annan) and Miss Japan (Chieko Ichinose) also arrived. “I will be the same girl,” said the 18-year-old Japanese girl, upon arrival at the London airport. “I will learn to sew and cook, and I hope that one day I can get married and be a good wife.”

                On the evening of Monday, November 2nd, Miss Israel (Ziva Shomrat) arrived. She was a soldier in her country but who refused to give statements to the press about her position in the army. “My workouts, as well as my rank are military secrets,” said the beauty queen upon her arrival in London. That same night Miss Peru (María Elena Rosell Zapata) also arrived.

                On Tuesday the 3rd, numerous candidates arrived, including the representatives of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (a country that subsequently divided and currently make up Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi), the United States, India, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Canada, Greece, France and Korea, by the way, the latter, a 19-year-old girl from Pusan, was accompanied by two chaperones. They were joined by Miss United Kingdom (Anne Thelwell). That same day, and among the girls who had arrived, several were chosen to participate in a Fashion Show on Wednesday night. Miss United States was eliminated from the Fashion Show for excess body measurements. Loretta Powell had a “generous” 38 inches bust and the jacket she was supposed to wear did not close, it was designed for a 36-inch woman, so she had to be replaced by Miss Korea. The decision of the organizers of the show, which was not related to the Miss World competition, did not cast any doubt on the ratings of the brunette Loretta Powell as the most beautiful woman in the world. It simply reflected the annoyance of a coat designer when he saw one of his favorite creations stretched. Powell had been one of the Miss World candidates who, as professional models, qualified to have the opportunity to be in the fashion show, which would take place the next day. From the beginning it was evident that the jacket they gave her to be tested was not suitable. That same night, the candidates attended the inauguration of a new “pub” on the outskirts of London.

                Finally, on November 4th, which was actually the day the Miss World officially started, most of the remaining beauty queens arrived (Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Honduras, Gibraltar, Iceland, Paraguay, Luxembourg, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Austria, Italy and Jordan). They were received at the Leaden airport by York Noble, Management Director of the company responsible for delivering the Nobel 2N miniature car to the winner and the first runner-up of the contest. That day the girls went for a walk on the Thames Embankment and went shopping. Meanwhile, that night, ten candidates (Miss United Kingdom, Miss Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Miss Peru, Miss Korea, Miss Greece, Miss Israel, Miss Hong Kong, Miss South Africa, Miss Brazil and Miss France) paraded at the Fashion Show held in one of the ballrooms of The Savoy Hotel, while the rest of them applauded them from their seats. Julia Pritchard also participated as a model in this parade, who by that time was already the official girlfriend of Eric Morley.




                At noon on Thursday, November 5th, 33 of the 34 beauties who had already arrived in London attended a lunch with members of parliament in the London House of Commons, all dressed in their national costumes. The girl who did not attend because she was not feeling well was Miss Rhodesia and Nyasaland (Vivien Maxine Lentin). Miss United States said she had some problems with the requirements of wearing a national costume to visit the House of Commons. “I finally decided to go as a cowgirl,” she said. “I have to wear a full cowgirl outfit with two shooters to go to the House of Commons,” she said. “The tight pants are fine, because they move with you, but the boots!” While trying to enter the parliament with her cowgirl costume and two guns at her waist, Loretta Powell of the United States was stopped by two policemen who took her guns. The weapons were taken in accordance with a 355-year-old British law that emerged from the moment Guy Fawkes attempted to fly the House of Lords. Upon leaving and at the time of retrieving her guns, Miss USA told members of the press that she wanted to be a Texan. “I’m not used to cowboy boots. I don’t find them comfortable to walk. But Texans do, see?”

                That same Thursday and while the candidates were in the House of Commons, Miss Argentina (Amalia Yolanda Scuffi) and Miss Norway (Berit Grundvig) arrived in London. A Caribbean telegram came to Morley where they explained that at the last minute Miss Cuba (Irma Buesa Mas) would not travel, (she was expected that day) because she was sick. In the afternoon, the contestants strolled through the city of London, touring the various tourist sites offered by the British capital.

                On Friday, November 6th, during the morning hours the candidate number thirty-seven, Miss Belgium (Diane Hidalgo) arrived. Two more contestants that were expected that day, Miss Turkey (Figen Özgür) and Miss Morocco (Raymonde Valle) never arrived … But in their place an unexpected candidate, Miss Bermuda, who called herself Rosemary Powell appeared at the Savoy hotel.

Eric Morley giving instructions during the Press Presentation

                The 38 beauties attended that afternoon the Press Presentation, as usual, at the Lyceum Ballroom facilities. There, for the first time, their curvy figures in swimsuits appeared in front of the media. In the group photo, 37 of the 38 beauties were shown, as Miss Italy did not pose in the group for reasons that will be explained later. Two of the girls wore bikinis in this presentation, Miss Canada and Miss Denmark. Miss United States, who wore a full turquoise swimsuit said: “I’ve never wore a bikini and I wouldn’t have felt comfortable.” However, there was a shadow of regret in her voice. Loretta said she did not expect the European competition to be as tough as it seems in recent days.

                Miss Finland, at the tender age of 19, owned a modeling school. Miss France’s ambition was “not to be deceived in life,” and Miss Japan was “a lovely housekeeper.” Miss South Africa (a white woman) announced that she feared upon her arrival that people had prejudices against her because of her country’s racial policies. An unofficial Miss South Africa (black), who claimed that she was more representative than the “white”, had been rejected by the organizers because she had not been officially elected. A Sunday newspaper published a photo of the alleged adoptive parents of Miss Ghana, who lived in Britain, but the beauty queen could not recognize them. Miss USA said she didn’t think she could win the title “because these girls are so beautiful.” In fact, she predicted that Miss Italy, one of the brunettes with the best figure in the contest, would be a possible winner.

                But the press apparently did not agree with that prediction. That same day, the columnist of the Star women’s page, a London evening newspaper, published after the presentation that the candidate she liked the most among the contestants of the Miss World competition was Miss Jamaica, Sheila Chong, 24 and black hair. The columnist, who writes under the name of “Joan Reason,” described Miss World participants as an ordinary “lot,” but said she liked Miss Chong, whom she described as “someone with a little encouragement.” Miss Jamaica, an advertising representative of an economy magazine of her Caribbean island, was quoted as saying that when she responded on the official form that she wanted to be a housewife, she said “Well, yes, but that’s not all. I also want to be a politician”. Why did you come to the contest? – she was asked, to which she replied “The prize (when winning Miss Jamaica) was a trip to Europe”.

                Asked about the reason for the contest, the Press Director, Philip Nathan said: “Well, it’s a publicity enterprise, of course.” “But it is more than that. We’re interested in coexistence between the nations. That is not just a line. Our Chairman (of Mecca Dancing), Mr. Carl Heimann, believes in it through the dance-hall medium. These girls are of the people, you see, and when ordinary people get together they make the best ambassadors for peace you can have.” Mr Heimann’s faith in mixing publicity and international understanding into one mighty hunk of cheesecake is a fairly expensive luxury : the organisers expected this contest to cost between USD 15,000 and 20,000.

37 participants posed for the media at the Café de Paris, including an impostor.

                On Saturday the 7th, the participants had rehearsals and at night they went to dance and have dinner at the Edmondo Ros Club, being the guests of the owner of the Latin American music band Edmondo Ros. On Sunday the 8th, the candidates planned to attend church, “Divine Service according to individual requirements” and could walk around the hotel and, at night, they would have dinner at a pompous club in Streatham Hill, in the southwest of the city ​​of London. Monday was the day chosen for the contestants to fix their hair in one of the beauty salons in Mayfair, where they were taken in groups of three, but they were ordered to go to bed early so that they were sufficiently rested for the Great final night. The orders were strict, they could not leave the hotel or receive visitors. “We are really wrapping them in cotton.” ““They’ll have a strenuous day tomorrow.” “So we are not letting them see anyone or do anything that could cause undue strain”. According to the organizers, the candidates had formed a very united group and were like “a big happy family”. The organizers consider that it was “the most interesting group we have had in the nine years that we have been leading the contest”. The general rehearsal was held in the Lyceum Ballroom early Tuesday. By the way, and for the first time, in the rehearsal and with the presence of the American MC Bob Russell, Miss France (Marie Hélène Troué) was crowned as Miss World just for rehearsals purposes.


                A whole day she cheated organizers, journalists and the contestants themselves. Miss Bermuda, who said her name was Rosemary Powell, 23, who said she was a receptionist in the city of Hamilton, was actually an infiltrated journalist of the Daily Sketch. Her real name was Rosemary McLellan and she was Scottish. The alleged Miss Bermuda appeared out of nowhere at the Savoy hotel hours before the Press Presentation and filled out her registration forms. Later she posed for the graphic reporters in the group photo in a bathing suit and, upon returning to the hotel where all the contestants were staying, she was discovered by one of the members of the organization, who recognized her and expelled her from the hotel.

                The next day, the reporter published in the newspaper that “For a whole day I was officially one of the most beautiful girls in the world, as a bogus Miss Bermuda.” “And I proved that any girl with a reasonable figure and an acceptable face can be accepted as a Miss World contestant.” At the reception of the Savoy Hotel, she told the manager her name was Rosemary Powell and that she was Miss Bermuda. She was announced as such, talked to the other girls and posed for photographers. Everyone she said believed her story – without a flicker of an eyelash.


                A few hours before starting the final show of Miss World, Miss Holland discovered holes in her evening gown. Miss Israel was kind enough to lend her a gown, which was the one she wore on the theater catwalk. At 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 10th, 1959, the doors of the London Lyceum Ballroom were opened to the public for the ninth edition of the Miss World contest, organized by Mecca Dancing and sponsored by the “News of the World” newspaper. The entrance to the contest cost five guineas. At 7:55 pm the overture of the event began by the Norrie Paramour orchestra and with fanfare of the central band of the British Royal Air Forces. David Mullins, representative of Lyceum, welcomed Eric Morley, President of the Miss World organization, who, after a few words, introduced the Master of Ceremonies of the night, the American Bob Russell. Next, the stage turned to show the 37 contestants elegantly dressed in their evening gowns and who paraded one after the other in what was called “the nations of the world.” Unlike previous years, the end of the Lyceum catwalk was not a T as usual, but a kind of circle where the girls turned around to return to the main stage. After this, the girls were placed on the stairs of the stage to listen to the British National Anthem.

                Once the protocol was completed, the presentation of the judges of nine members was made, who were chosen to combine the world of art with the world of entertainment and the world of intellect. They were:

                – Sam Wanamaker – American-born actor who went into exile in Britain for fear of being banned in Hollywood for being a supporter of communism.

                – Oscar Santa María – A former Brazilian Politician.

                – John Spencer-Churchill – Duke of Marlborough .

                – Lady Lydford – of the British high society.

                – Reginald Cudlipp – Editor of the British newspaper “News of the World”.

                – Jill Dorothy Ireland – English actress and singer .

                – Godfrey Herbert Winn – English Journalist, writer and actor.

                – Cynthia Oberholzer – South African Model.

                – Claude Berr – from the Miss Europe Committee.

                Subsequently, the 37 participants wearing their evening gowns paraded individually and in alphabetical order, and then there was an intermission by the central band of the British Royal Air Force, conducted by A. E. Sims and with the permission of the Air Council.

                After this, the individual parade of the 37 aspirants in swimsuits started, they arrived one by one on the stage wrapped in their velvet capes, which were removed by two handsome pages to show their figures before the judges and the audience, while Russell announced the body measurements of the contestants.

                Then it was time to call the semifinalists on stage. At first there would be 12 lucky ones, but due to a multiple tie in the twelfth position, Morley decided that there would only be 11 semifinalists. They were: Miss ARGENTINA (Amalia Yolanda Scuffi, 18, from Mar del Plata), Miss DENMARK (Kirsten Olsen, 20, from Copenhagen), Miss GERMANY (Helga Meyer, 23, from Bielefeld), Miss GREECE (Yakinthi Karaviti,n20, from Athens), Miss HOLLAND (Corine Rottschäfer, 21, from Amsterdam), Miss ISRAEL (Ziva Shomrat, 18, from Haifa), Miss JAMAICA (Sheila Mechtilde Chong, 24, from Kingston), Miss PERU (María Elena Rosell Zapata, 17, from Piura), Miss RHODESIA AND NYASALAND (Vivien Maxine Lentin, 17, from Kitwe), Miss SOUTH AFRICA (Moya Meaker, 18, from Pretoria) and Miss UNITED KINGDOM (Anne Thelwell, 22, from Heswall, Merseyside, England).

                The 11 semifinalists were briefly interviewed by Bob Russell and then posed together in front of the judges to choose the five finalists. At that time, at 9:45 p.m., the live broadcast of the last half hour of the contest began on BBC, with comments for television by Peter Webber. This started with the fanfare of the central band of the British Royal Air Forces, the presentation of the 11 semifinalists and the qualifying judges for the television audience. Then the five finalists were called on stage in random order. They were: Miss DENMARK, Miss PERU, Miss HOLLAND, Miss ISRAEL and Miss UNITED KINGDOM, who were again briefly interviewed by Bob Russell for the TV audience. Minutes later, Eric Morley went on stage to announce the results in reverse order. It was the following:

                In the fifth place and winner of a £ 50 prize, Miss DENMARK, Kirsten Olsen; in the fourth position Miss UK, Anne Thelwell, who won £ 60. Third place went to Miss ISRAEL, Ziva Shomrat, who won a prize of £ 75.


                As the runner-up and second place in the contest was Miss PERU, María Elena Rosell Zapata, with a £ 100 prize in cash and a small car; therefore, the new MISS WORLD 1959 was Miss HOLLAND, Corine Rottschäfer, a 21-year-old model, honey-colored hair and blue eyes, 5 feet 9 inches tall, 132 pounds in weight and body measurements 37-23-37. She was crowned by Charles Eade (with a new crown style by the way), she received the scepter from Bob Russell and the silver rose-bowl from the Editor of the British newspaper “News of the World,” Reginald Cudlipp, who was sponsoring the contest. All the finalists received a rose-bowl as a prize, while the first two finalists were also crowned with small tiaras.

               The brand new Miss World won a check for 500 pounds sterling and a small car as part of her awards, which included a week of vacation in Paris and the opportunity to earn thousands of pounds more during her year of reign for various presentations in different countries of the world.

                “I wanted to cry,” Corine Rottschäfer said when she heard the news, “but I thought I shouldn’t because it could ruin my makeup.” Miss Holland was balanced, calm and regal in defeating 36 other world beauties for the title at the Lyceum in London. Corine told reporters: “I think this title will help me earn more money in my modeling profession.” When asked about her future, Corine said she wanted to continue her modeling career and “open a small fashion house.” “Oh, yes, I would like to get married and that my husband has a career ahead of him, but still one must have something to fall back on”, said the girl with long legs. Corine’s taste for men, were those with a sense of humor and understanding men.


                After the event, criticism began on the part of the losers. Was the 1959 Miss World contest rigged? “Poppycock,” contest officials said. Well, if it wasn’t fixed, at least the winner wore falsies, complained American contestant Loretta Powell, a Connecticut secretary. “I’m sure Miss Holland was padded,” said the American beauty. “You certainly can tell. She’s a tall, slender model, not a buxom bathing beauty”. “They ought to check her bathing suit,” Miss Powell said. “She’s padded.” Miss Canada joined the criticism. “From what I’ve heard, her boyfriend is one of the judges,” she said. “If that is true, it is not fair to the other girls. Frankly, she is not a beauty queen,” said the Canadian. Likewise, Miss USA said she heard rumors that Miss Holland was the girlfriend of one of the judges, but “I can’t authenticate this first hand.” Rumors circulated that Miss Holland and Judge Claude Berr of France were engaged, but both denied it the next day in talks with British journalists. “Poppycock” Berr said of both reports: padding and romance. The same was said by Miss Holland and Eric Morley, organizer of the contest. “Pretty fake,” Morley said, looking hurt. “I have heard these rumors, but believe me there is nothing,” Berr said. “Apparently, some of the girls believe that Corine is my fiancee, but that’s impossible. I’m already married.”

                “It is very strange for me that the beautiful Miss Italy could not reach the 11 semifinalists when she is such an outstanding girl,” Miss United States claimed. One of those who did not qualify was Miss Canada (Huguette Demers), 21, with 36-23-36. She disagreed with the American contestant on the issue of fakes. “As far as I know, there has been no padding,” she said. “There were judges who verified it, and they did it.” The judges had to deliberate on two occasions to choose the new Miss World and the last vote was five to four in favor of Corine, daughter of an Amsterdam business machine executive.

                Regarding Claude Berr’s possible preference for Europeans for being a member of the Miss Europe Committee, Morley clarified that “he is completely neutral.” “A few years ago he voted for Miss Venezuela (Susana Duijm) and she was not European,” he added. Regarding Berr’s possible relationship with Miss Holland, Morley said it was “impossible, because (Berr) had a nice home with a beautiful wife.” Morley, who was director of Mecca Dancing, a chain of British dance halls that sponsor the contest, convened a special conference to see if “a better evaluation method can be used in the future.” “We have a specially assigned director to examine the idea of having an electronic brain next year, in other words, a computer, without human feelings,” he said.

               Miss Holland indignantly denied there was anything in her bathing suit. “I had no support, no wires, no padding” said the beautiful winner. “You can take a look at my swimsuit to see by yourself.” However, the Dutch woman told the media that a few hours before the presentation to the press she had discovered that Miss Italy’s swimsuit was padded and that she had made it known to the organizers discreetly. Miss Italy, who was one of her roommates, left the room that morning leaving her suitcase open. “I went through it” the Dutchwoman admitted, “and there was an Italian swimsuit ribbed all over and padded.” “I gasped with amazement when I saw it. All the worst suspicions came true.” “I hurried to tell a chaperone and then put the swimsuit back where it was.” When Miss Italy returned, she said: ‘There were terrible scenes. “Someone must have told her what I had done.” With her hands on her hips, she screamed at me. ‘You took it! You don’t even deserve it. You are not even pretty, “she shouted angrily. The organizers effectively checked the Italian girl and ordered her to remove the padding from her swimsuit. For that reason, Miss Italy could not pose with the group at the Press Presentation, as she was in a lounge unstitching the padding of her swimsuit. Morley said,“ Of course, you can’t stop these things, whether the girls try to use padding or other girls who suspect they do”. For her part, the Dutchwoman said to be satisfied with the charges that the contest had been fixed. “I am a model and I need publicity,” Corine said after her election sparked protests in some contestants. “Now I can charge higher prices.”

                “The ‘falsie’ accusation against Miss World is entirely false,” according to Miss China Altman of the United Press International staff, who said she personally put the tape measure that day on the Dutch girl who won the title the night before. “Miss World and I retired to a small dressing room when she changed into a one-piece bathing suit – limp as a wet tissue and nothing added – for the measuring ceremony.” the reporter said.

                Corine was tolerant of Miss United States charges. “Maybe she was upset,” she said. Then Miss India ran into the room. “You are the perfect girl,” she said. “Don’t worry about what they say.” Reporter Altman continued her mission. Starting at the top of Corine Rottschäfer, Miss Altman put an American measuring tape around her bust. “It stopped almost precisely at the 37-inch (93 cm) mark, and she wasn’t inhaling either.” The waist was exactly 23 inches, and her hips 37, exactly the measurements Corine gave when she entered the contest”. The cameramen cheered and Miss World smiled brightly. Even before the measuring, other girls in the contest had expressed their confidence in the Dutch girl. “I don’t know the English too well,” giggled Maria Rossell, Miss Peru, “but I think Miss Holland is authentic, yes.”

                A semifinalist, Miss Jamaica, said: “I have not enjoyed a minute of this contest. We have been robbed of all our time.” They sent us here; We were sent there. Anyone would think we were kids. Never, never again”. Miss Sweden put it more strongly:”We are cattle”, she said. Miss Germany said it had been”like a fortnight in prison”. Miss Honduras concluded that she does not like these competitions. She traveled 7,000 miles to be a contestant, but sadly added, “I didn’t think it would be like that.” The only really happy girl was the blonde now Miss World, Corine Rottschäfer.

                On the other hand, the semi-official Vatican newspaper I’Osservatore Romano compared Miss World beauty competition with a cattle market, a horse race and a dog show and asked why competitors could not appear fully dressed.

                It should be noted that Miss Argentina returned to participate in an international beauty contest eight years later. On that occasion she competed in the Miss Universe in 1967 without any figuration.


                Corine Rottschäfer was born in Hoord, Holland, on May 8, 1938. In addition to Miss World, she also won the Miss Europe title in 1957, and participated in Miss Universe in 1958, where she managed to be in the top 15 and won the award of Miss Photogenic. After a successful international career as a professional model, she opened her own modeling agency in Amsterdam. Shortly afterwards, in 1962, she married the architect and later politician Edo Spier and lived in a mansion on the banks of the Amsterdam canal. She had two daughters, Ilja and Rose. She was second cousin of Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2012, Bodine Koehler. After more than forty years as the director of the first professional modeling agency in the Benelux, Corine closed her agency upon retirement in 2002. Corine, a former Dutch fashion icon, continued to be recognized by the Dutch people to this day. Of her memories of the event, she said: “I gained a lot of useful experience in the contest. If I had not won, I would have liked to have participated anyway.” She passed away on Thursday, September 24, 2020 at the age of 82.


Thanks to Donald West and Daryl Schabinger


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