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Miss World 1978

By Julio Rodríguez Matute

EVENTS OF 1978.-

                Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyła is elected Pope with the name of John Paul II after the death of Paul VI and John Paul I (the latter only 33 days after he was appointed successor to Pope Paul VI). In Jonestown, Guyana, a collective suicide of 918 followers of the Jim Jones sect occurs, including some 270 children. Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat sign the Israel-Egypt peace treaty at Camp David and both win the Nobel Peace Prize that year. Israel invades Lebanon and a civil war starts in both Afghanistan and Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). A 7.4-degree earthquake destroys the city of Tabas in Iran, causing some 15,000 victims and another earthquake affects Thessalonica, Greece with fifty deaths. A major winter storm affected the Ohio Valley and the Great Lakes area in the US, causing some 100 deaths. Former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro is assassinated in Rome by the terrorist group Red Brigades, after spending several months kidnapped. Julio César Turbay Ayala assumes as President of Colombia while Luis Herrera Campíns is elected President of Venezuela. Venezuelan TV host and politician Renny Ottolina dies in a plane crash in Caracas. The first legal casino in the US opens in Atlantic City and in England Louise Brown is born, the first test tube baby. Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Dominica become independent from the United Kingdom. The city of Quito is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and in the Zocalo of Mexico City are discovered the ruins of the main temple of Tenochtitlán. A bomb explodes at the Palace of Versailles (Paris) causing significant damage. Argentina wins the Soccer World Cup for the first time in their homeland by defeating the Netherlands 3-1. The star of the World Cup was the Argentine Mario Kempes who achieved six goals in the sporting contest. South African Margaret Gardiner, of white skin, is chosen Miss Universe in Acapulco, Mexico, while Katherine Ruth of the USA obtains the crown of Miss International in Japan and in Paris, the Israeli theme “A-ba-ni-bi” of Izhar Cohen & The Alpha-Beta wins the Eurovision Song Contest. In the cinema the films “Superman” with Christopher Reeve and “Grease” starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John are released, as well as “The Deer Hunter”, “Revenge of the Pink Panther”,” Shark 2″and “Piranha” while the series “Dallas”, “Battlestar Galactica” and “Mork & Mindy” begin to be broadcast on TV. The song “Wuthering Heights” consecrates the English singer Kate Bush; meanwhile, in Mexico, the actor Carlos Villagrán (Quico) renounces his character from the program “El Chavo del Ocho”. In 1978 the songs “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor and “Pedro Navaja” by Willie Colón and Rubén Blades were heard on the radio. The Greek Miss World Irene Skliva, Miss Universe Lara Dutta from India, the actors Ashton Kutcher and Katie Holmes from the US, the Puerto Rican singers Luis Fonsi, Wisin and Don Omar, the ex-Miss World Venezuela 1996 and now an actress based in Mexico, Anna Cepinska, the Venezuelan singer Mayré Martínez, the Philippine boxer Manny Pacquiao were born this year while the Ecuadorian singer Julio Jaramillo, the Spanish soccer player Santiago Bernabéu, the US actor Bob Crane and the Israeli politician Golda Meir died.


                On February 13, it was published in the press that Mecca, the company that organized the Miss World, Miss United Kingdom and Miss England pageants, had ordered a major cover-up. Contestants would no longer be allowed to wear swimsuits at local competitions, as this could deter shy girls from competing. Instead, the girls could wear leggings instead. The national directors were also ordered not to accept any young girl under the age of 17 in their competitions as they would be immediately disqualified and they increased the maximum age to 25 up to the 1st. November of the year of the contest. It was also reiterated that the organization had banned the participation of Miss South Africa this year, to avoid political boycotts such as those that occurred in the last two editions of the Miss World contest (curiously, months later a white South African woman won the rival Miss Universe contest and none had withdrawn for political or racial reasons). In addition, plans to do the Miss World 1978 preliminaries in Singapore failed after the cancellation of the British Airways and Singapore Airlines concord’s flight from London to that country’s capital, as these airlines had agreed to sponsor the candidates’ journey to the far east. The concorde’s flight from London to Singapore had been inaugurated on December 9, 1977, with a stopover in Bahrain, but after three trips, the route was canceled because Malaysia prohibited the flight of the supersonic plane through the Malacca Strait due to environmental issues.


                On Saturday, May 13, it was announced that Eric Morley, founder of the Miss World beauty pageant, was seeking an order from the Hartford federal judge to prevent the man, who had organized his national preliminary in the United States, from continuing to use the Miss World brand. But Alfred Patricelli of Connecticut said he had every right to continue using the title “Miss World-USA” whose 1978 edition was scheduled for October in Bridgeport. Patricelli’s legal documents claimed that the world competition had been unfairly tilted towards English contestants and that it had reflected the conflict of interest of its founder, Eric D. Morley. Patricelli, whose only American winner was Marjorie Wallace in 1973, said in an affidavit before the court, including those of the late racing driver Peter Revson, that in 1974 Morley had allowed Helen Morgan to represent the United Kingdom despite the fact that she had had a child out of wedlock. In 1974, Morley wrote Patricelli a confidential letter, which was now part of the court file, saying that the situations of the two women were different. Morley said: “Our investigations showed that (Miss Morgan) was not a girl who was having sex with a number of men, and we also discovered that the baby was well cared for, in her absence, by Helen’s mother.” “Since our rules did not prohibit the participation of girls who have had babies, we could only fire her on charges of immorality, and on this day, if we excluded all girls who have had sex before marriage, we would find it difficult to have contestants.” “If we had found out that the girl was having sex with several married men, the reasons would probably have been different,” Morley said.

                Patricelli, brother of 1080 Corp. President Leonard J. Patricelli of West Hartford, also charged in his legal documents that Morley was in conflict of interest because of his variety of roles in the contest. Morley was the key figure in the group that sponsored the UK and Miss World pageants, Patricelli said, adding that the UK’s total of four winners was the highest number of winners than any other nation. He also said that conflicts of interest arose because Morley allowed betting on the results of the competitions through the betting branch of Mecca despite being part of the panel of judges and, in addition, selected the rest of the jury. Morley’s court documents said that Patricelli had paid nothing for the right to own and sub-franchise Miss World state pageants in recent years. New York City’s BBS Productions Inc. had recently purchased the rights from Mecca to maintain the American franchise for this year’s contest. Mecca was seeking a court order from United States District Judge Jon O. Newman against Patricelli’s use of the words “Miss World” in connection with a beauty pageant. Patricelli, who represented himself in court, said Mecca was trying unfairly to take away his livelihood and that he had been in the beauty pageant business for 40 years. Meanwhile, Marjorie Wallace was fine, and added Patricelli, that she had recently signed a $ 500,000 contract to advertise hair care products.

                On Tuesday June 20, Alfred Patricelli said he would organize a contest in October in his hometown with a new name (Miss Venus) after the ruling on Monday 19 by a Hartford federal judge in which he could not use the title “Miss World -USA “for the contest. Patricelli, who had organized the national contest in the United States for Miss World for the past 17 years, also said he was confident that justice would finally prevail in his court battle to continue using the disputed title. US District Judge Jon O. Newman issued a preliminary court order, awaiting a jury trial, which prohibited Patricelli from using the title. Miss World pageant founder Eric Morley and his company had sold the franchise for the annual pageant to a New York City company.


                While the American court deliberated in favor of Mecca, Julia Morley was dedicated to organizing the 28th edition of the world competition. She had directors in 82 territories, with new countries such as Dominica, Saint Vincent, Lesotho, and Turks and Caicos. Three had chosen to withdraw permanently: Barbados, Guernsey and Saint Lucia, while South Africa had been banned. There were no contests that year in Liberia and Luxembourg for economic issues, nor in Seychelles for political issues and in Panama they did not select a representative. Meanwhile, the Indonesian government decided to ban beauty pageants. Daoed Joesoef took over as the country’s Minister of Education and Culture in 1978 and supported the conservative feminist movement Kowani, which accused competitions of exploiting women, turning them into sex objects, so the Miss Indonesia pageant had to be canceled. No contest was held in Ecuador, however, Antonieta Campodónico was appointed and crowned by Miss Ecuador 1930, Sara Chacón. On the other hand, the Swiss Directors decided to send their 1976 titleholder, Jeanette Keller, to Miss World this year and, in India, the director of Femina Miss India, Vimla Patil, decided to send Kalpana Iyer to London. She had been Femina Teen 1976, and semifinalist of the Miss Teenage Intercontinental of that same year. Among the national events of the 76 countries that would participate in Miss World we can mention the following:

                – SEÑORITA COLOMBIA.- The Colombian National Beauty Contest was held on November 12, 1977 in Cartagena de Indias, with Bogota’s Shirley Saénz being crowned as Miss Colombia and, therefore, representative of Colombia in Miss Universe. The Vice-Queen, Denise de Castro Santiago from the Atlántico Department, was chosen as Colombia’s candidate for Miss World. The Princesses were Olga Prada of Santander, María Constanza Mejía from Huila and Luz María Maldonado of Risaralda. 15 contestants participated.

                – MISS FRANCE.- On Wednesday December 27, 1977 the election of “Miss France 1978” was held among 55 candidates. The final was held in the Bagnolet Mercurial Towers Hall and was won by Pascale Taurua from New Caledonia. After being chosen, she preferred to return to her island and not assume her role as Miss France for a year, so the title was assumed by the first runner-up, Miss Paris, Brigitte Konjovic. The beautiful blonde went to Miss Universe and later she had to go to Miss World, but for health reasons she could not travel to London, so she was replaced in this contest by Miss Reunion, Kelly Hoarau, who had been the second runner-up for Miss France.

                – MISS DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.- It was held on Saturday, April 15 at the Fountain of the Jaragua Hotel in Santo Domingo. The winner, Raquel Jacobo, was crowned by Miss Universe, Janelle Commissiong from Trinidad and Tobago, while the first runner-up, Jenny Polanco, would be in charge of representing the country in Miss World. The second runner-up was Carmen Cecilia Reyes, who was later second rnner-up of the Miss Tanga Internacional contest held in Caracas, Venezuela.


                – MISS VENEZUELA.- The Sub-Officers Club of the Armed Forces in Caracas was the venue for the “Miss Venezuela 1978” contest on Thursday, April 28. Marisol Alfonzo, representative of the Guárico state, was the young woman selected to represent the country in Miss Universe. The first runner-up, Miss Falcón, Patricia Tóffoli, was chosen to go to Miss World. The remaining finalists were Miss Anzoátegui, Doris Fueyo (to Miss International) and Miss Lara, Liliana Mantione (to Miss Young International). This year there were only four girls chosen.

                – MISS HOLLAND.- On Saturday May 6, at the Amsterdam Hilton hotel, the “Miss Holland 1978” contest was held among 19 candidates, an event won by the brunette Karin Gustafsson and who represented the country in Miss Universe. The finalists were Ans van Haaster (to Miss World), Nicole Cohen (to Miss Young International) and Nanny Nielen.

Miss Honduras

                – MISS HONDURAS.- Olimpia Velázquez Medina, Miss Cuyamel, was crowned as the new sovereign of Honduran beauty on her way to Miss Universe in the event held in May at La Ceiba’s Mayan Cinema. The finalists were Miss La Ceiba, Lorena Irías Navas; Miss El Progreso, Maly Hawith; Miss San Pedro Sula, María Elena Bobadilla Hohl; and Miss Siguatepeque, Eva Rita Trochez. The director of Miss Honduras, Norma Simón de Funes, negotiated with María Elena that trip to London to Miss World because her sister Alba María had competed in that event in 1967.

                – MISS ICELAND.- It was held on Sunday May 28 at the Hotel Sogu with the presence of Janelle Commissiong, Miss Universe 1977. The winner was Halldora Bjork Jónsdottir, who had already competed in Miss World 1975 and now had to compete in Miss Universe 1979. The finalists were Asdis Loftsdóttir (to Miss World), Silja Allansdottir, Sigrun Bjork Sverrisdottir and Svava Kristinsdottir.

                – SEÑORITA MÉXICO.- The Miss Mexico contest was held at the National Auditorium in Mexico City also on May 28. The title went to Alva Margarita Cervera from the state of Yucatan, who became the hostess of Miss Universe because this year it was held for the first time in Mexico. Martha Eugenia Ortiz Gámez from the Federal District ranked second, earning the right to go to Miss World. The other finalists were Mirna Pérez del Río from Baja California, Carla Serrano Sánchez-Rojo from Sinaloa and Maricarmen Montesinos from Oaxaca. 32 entrants participated.

                – MISS PERU.- Thirty candidates signed up for “Miss Peru 1978” held at the Municipal Theater of Lima on Thursday 1st. of June. The winner chosen for Miss Universe was Olga Zumarán and the first runner-up, who would participate in Miss World, turned out to be Karen Noeth. The remaining finalists were Karin Von Gordon, Cecilia Barboza and Elizabeth Draguilon.

                – MISS DOMINION OF CANADA.- Saturday July 1st, in Niagara Falls, the new Canadian beauty queen was crowned among 19 competitors. It was won by Brigitte Hofmann, 17 years old and 5 feet 10 inches tall, from Hamilton, Ontario, who was the lucky young woman who represented her country in Miss World. The finalists were Cynthia Moore and Tracy Steadman. In 1978 the 20th anniversary of the pageant was being celebrated and starting this year, the event lost the rights to send a girl to the Miss Universe pageant.

                – MISS BRAZIL.- Twenty-four participants competed for the title of “Miss Brazil 1978” on Saturday, July 8 at the Presidente Médici Gym in Brasilia. The winner was Suzana Araújo dos Santos of Minas Gerais,who went to Miss Universe while the first runner-up, Laura de Oliveira Pereira from Bahia, went to Miss World. The remaining finalists were Ángela Soares Chichierchio from Rio de Janeiro, Tanara Régia Bier from Brasilia and Angela Agra Galvão from Pernambuco.

                – MISS ISLE OF MAN.- It took place on Thursday, July 20 at the Villa Marina Royal Hall in the city of Douglas and was won by Carol Ann Kneale among 14 candidates.

The Miss Isle of Man contestants

                – MISS COMMONWEALTH BAHAMAS.-  On Sunday July 30, on Paradise Island, Donna Marie McCook was crowned as the Bahamas representative to Miss World. She also took the Miss Friendship and Miss Photogenic awards. The finalists were Sherry Strachan, Abigal Charlow, Donna Reckley and Katherine Stuart. Twelve contestants participated.

                – MISS JAMAICA.- The National Arena in Kingston was the venue for the contest held on Sunday, August 20. Joan Mc Donald, 23, a dance teacher, was proclaimed the new “Miss Jamaica” in a pageant that hasn’t been held since 1974. The finalists were Bridget McLeod, Bernardette McKinley, Sandra Henriques, and Noelle Silvera.

                – MISS UNITED KINGDOM.- Elizabeth Ann Jones, Miss Wales, won the “Miss United Kingdom 1978” crown and £ 3,500 prize on Friday September 1st. in Blackpool, among 26 contestants. She had previously represented her country in Miss Universe that same year. The finalists were Janet Whitey and Beverley Isherwood (Miss England).

                – MISS ITALY.- Loren Cristina Mai was awarded the title of “Miss Italy 1978” on Wednesday September 6 in Reggio Emilia. Daniela Palma was Miss Elegance and Ramona Dell´Abate, Miss Cinema.

                – QUEST OF QUESTS.- The contest was attended by Julia Morley and Miss World 1977, Mary Stavin, who crowned Denise Coward as Miss Dream Girl and Miss World Australia 1978 on Wednesday September 20 at Sydney Town Hall. Other winners were Ngaire Hallam (to Miss Young International), Gina Read (to Miss International) and Tracy Christopherson (to Miss Asia).

                – MISS WORLD AMÉRICA.- The first edition of “Miss World America” brought together 51 candidates and was held on Saturday, September 30 at the Von Barun Civic Center in Huntville, Alabama. It was won by Debra Jean Freeze of North Carolina. The finalists were Debra Sue Maurice from Massachusetts and Debbie Elaine Palmer from Texas.

                – MISS SPAIN- The 1978 Miss Spain contest was held in Playa de las Américas, Tenerife, on Sunday October 1st. The winner was the representative of Lanzarote, Gloría María Valenciano Rijo, 19 years old. As “Miss National” was chosen the representative of Andalusia, María Jesús Pineda Rufino, who also won the title of “Miss Sympathy” and as Maid of Honor María Dolores Carmona García, representative of Costa del Sol. As a curious fact, this year neither “Miss Euskadi” nor “Miss Basque Coast” participated because of the political and social situation in the region at the time and due to the decision of the Miss Spain organization to exclude all Basque personalities from the judges and not admitting them to the media accredited to the competition.

                – MISS ARGENTINA.- The election of the Argentine representative for the Miss World pageant was made on Monday, October 2 at the studios of Canal 13. The winner was “Miss Mar del Plata”, Margarita Susana Heindryckx, 16 years old and 5 feet 7 inches tall, who turned 17 on November 18, two days after the Miss World final. For this reason, she was not accepted by the Morleys to participate, being replaced at the last minute by the candidate who ranked second, “Miss Córdoba”, Silvana Rosa Suárez, who had just competed and won the Miss Argentina for Miss Universe, but who decided to resign because she did not agree with the clauses of the contract. The remaining princesses were Verónica Ivonne Gargani from La Plata, Virginia Álvarez from Greater Buenos Aires and Beatriz Salomón from San Juan.

                – MISS SINGAPORE WORLD.- It was celebrated on Saturday, October 14 and won by Rosie Tan, 20 years old and 5 feet 4 inches tall, being finalists Melinda Ho and Jennifer Leong. The event raised $ 80,000 to benefit the Onn Lok Nursing Home. Julia Morley had to cancel her presence due to a last minute event that you will read next.



                Eric Morley, 60, the man behind the Miss World pageant, was fired from the Mecca emporium on Saturday, October 7, for alleged staff incentive trouble, despite having demonstrated his great business skills. Morley had made Mecca the most profitable company in Grand International, the company that bought the majority of Mecca’s shares in 1970. When Morley became president of the company in 1969, which he joined in 1946, the profit was about 3.3 million. In 1977 the profit had been £ 16.9 million. Rumors had circulated that, despite his diligence, Morley had always been a “source of irritation” for the parent company. He had introduced an incentive bonus scheme for his staff of some 17,000 people before Mecca was bought by Grand Metropolitan, but this was not to the liking of the new owners, who asked Morley to back down on the incentive, but Morley refused to do so.

                Maxwell Joseph, the billionaire owner of the Grand Metropolitan hotel chain and majority partner in Mecca, sent Morley, who was earning £ 35,000 a year as Chairman of the company, a letter of dismissal and offered him an amount of money for him to go quiet, but Morley did not accept the deal and said he would fight his position because “integrity is more important to me than money.” The problem could trigger a court battle !!. Julia Morley was on a tour of beauty pageants in Malaysia and was about to travel to Singapore and from there to Tunisia with the Miss World entourage when she received the unexpected news. She had to immediately return to London, canceling those trips. Julia said that her husband, who had been given 12 days to leave on condition that he did not say anything about his sacking, would fight his dismissal at the Grand Metropolitan directors’ meeting on Monday, October 9 and that he planned to attend it despite being banned from attending. Mrs. Morley, executive director and Chairwoman of the Mecca subsidiary that ran the Miss World contest, returned to London in an emergency from the Far East and said that her husband did not wish to discuss his position until after that meeting. She claimed that the dispute arose because Mecca’s profit-sharing scheme was not in line with the rest of the Grand Metropolitan group.

                “My husband’s integrity is at stake. I will support him whatever his decision is, but I know he will fight,” said Julia, 38, a mother of five, who also added that she, too, could be fired. “I hope I don’t have to quit my job, but given what is happening right now, that wouldn’t surprise me.” When asked about the future of Miss World, she said she thought the pageant would still go ahead, unless Grand Metropolitan decided to kick her out as well, but that she believed they would ask Eric to do Miss World before leaving. “The BBC’s contract with Mecca is based on the guarantee that Eric Morley would produce the event.” In the event that both were fired, Julia said they would survive. “We would probably do any kind of thing. It is not a matter of money. We are not hard up.” She said that her husband would not fight for money, but for respect because he only wanted to maintain power and glory. One thing Julia was sure of was that Grand Metropolitan was not going to be able to silence her.

                The other Mecca executives, who had obtained significant financial deals thanks to Morley, said they supported him 100% because no one could maintain the company as he had. Meanwhile, Eric said that he assured that the Miss World contest would continue even if he was fired. “People could lose faith with me, but I wouldn’t lose faith in 80 countries around the world.” It was rumored that Grand Metropolitan was going to replace Morley with Ernest Sharp, a 47-year-old accountant and joint managing director. It was also said that the constant friction between Morley and Sharp was also part of the reasons for their dismissal and that the professional relationship between the two had deteriorated after Morley sought greater autonomy for Mecca.

                At the meeting on Monday, October 9, it was agreed that Eric, along with his wife, would continue to organize the Miss World competition for the next five years while they thought about whether they would keep it or if they would sell it. Morley said he hoped that contract would be renewable although in the event that Mecca decided to sell the contest, he would have the first purchase option. Eric, who that same year had decided to enter the political career, running as a candidate for the conservative party in Dulwich, ended up accepting the dismissal for £ 200,000 with the leadership of Miss World while Julia would continue to fulfill her own obligations with the sponsors of the contest to be held in London a month later. At that time, Mecca had 650 betting shops, 130 social centers, 125 dance halls and a chain of casinos. The truth is that after the battle in the boardroom, Morley was confirmed his dismissal, although Mecca’s parent company, Grand Metropolitan, agreed to keep him in office until December 31 of that year.


                Due to all this situation, this year’s Miss World edition was shorter than that of 1977, which was three weeks. The contest this time would be only for 12 days, from November 5 to 16 and the contestants would no longer stay at the Britannia, a hotel belonging to the Grand Metropolitan group, but would return to the Waldorf hotel. However, some candidates arrived in London long before the requested date (November 3-4) due to the last-minute change. The first to arrive in the British capital was Miss Uruguay, who arrived on Saturday, October 28, followed by Miss Australia on October 31. Miss Singapore turned 21 on November 2 and celebrated her birthday twice. First at the Singapore airport before taking the flight to Heathrow, and then when arriving at the Waldorf Hotel in London. By the way, the Singaporean beauty was about to not compete in the contest because a week before her trip she was hospitalized in an emergency due to severe gastritis. Another of the contestants who arrived ahead of time was Miss Colombia, who decided to take advantage of the time and get some publicity from the press, who photographed her in numerous activities that the girl did on her own, such as the visit to the El Dorado Exhibition on November 3. On Saturday the 4th, a dozen applicants participated in the BBC pre-recording in Hyde Park, as many had not yet arrived. In order not to show the group so scrawny, the BBC had to use images from the previous year.

                The first official activity of the contest was held on Sunday, November 5, when the 56 candidates who until then had arrived in the British capital, paid a visit to the Beaulieu Estate Mansion in Hampshire on board an old bus. They were later joined by Swedish Mary Stavin, Miss World 1977, who that same day took part in an early century car race from London to Brighton aboard a 1903 Daimier car driven by Lord Montague de Beaulieu. Lord Beaulieu and Mary then flew by helicopter from Brighton to Hampshire to greet the contestants. He gave them a tour of his National Motor Museum aboard vintage cars and they had lunch at the facilities of the luxurious mansion. That day Miss Mexico began to sound strong as the great favorite for her great resemblance to actress Raquel Welch. In the evening, after returning to London, they enjoyed the Welcome Dinner at the Waldorf Hotel sponsored by a renowned airline.

                On Monday 6th, the contestants again traveled out of London. This time they went for two days to the island of Jersey, in the Channel Islands, being received by Miss Jersey 1978 and where they made a tour, they walked along the beach and were entertained with a dance party to benefit charity in a renowned St.Helier hotel organized by Billy Butlin.


                At that party, Randy Roy, a romeo from the ballrooms and owner of an antique shop in Jersey, bothered two of the contestants when taking them out to dance, he touched “too much.” The first of his victims was Miss Costa Rica who wore a short, waist-length gold lamé suit. The man squeezed her and she, as best she could, managed to wriggle out of the seducer’s grasp. Later, the same man teased her again, and she ran after that second incident. Crying, she sought protection from her chaperone and complained that the man, who was very drunk, had made her feel very bad. The second victim of the lustful character was Miss Mauritius, who was also harassed by the man while dancing to a theme of “Saturday Night Fever”. The miss asked her chaperone for help and left crying. “The man touched my whole body with his hands, that is something that does not happen in my country,” said annoyed Miss Mauritius. Roy, who brought his wife to the party, had paid £ 15 to sit at a table with nine other people and the two aforementioned candidates. A chaperone later said that perhaps the man thought that those 15 pounds gave him the right to go overboard with the girls. The man later excused himself from making the girls feel bad and said that “the last thing I would have wanted to do was bother them,” but considered that he was “behaving well”, since he was being jealously guarded by his wife.

                The first losses of Miss World 1978 were Miss NICARAGUA (Claudia Herrera Cortéz), Miss LESOTHO (Joan Libuseng Khoali), Miss PAPUA NEW GUINEA (Angeline Tukana) and Miss TURKS & CAICOS (Rosemary Forbes) whose directors announced that they would not finally travel to London , the first for political problems in the country and the others for economic issues. Thus, 72 candidates remained on the participant list. Meanwhile, Miss SOUTH AFRICA (Yolanda Kloppers) complained in her country that she had not been allowed to take part in the contest.





                The girls returned to London on Tuesday, November 7. The next day, the girls visited the Spa of the Dance Center on Floral Street to enjoy moments of relaxation and made the customary tour of the city of London, visiting Buckingham Palace, the famous Tower and the Cathedral of Saint Paul. On Thursday the 9th the talent elimination competition was held at the Waldorf Hotel, where the group was reduced to twenty girls, who had sung, danced, recited poems, played the guitar, demonstrated their skills in painting and sports. They highlighted the Miss Singapore chandelier dance, the Miss Jamaica contortion dance, the Miss El Salvador marimba performance, the personification of a wooden doll of Miss Belgium, the Miss Sweden tap dance, the Miss Finland ballet dance , the Miss Switzerland gymnastics test and the Miss Aruba karate test with the bodyguard Dennis Martin. The most surprising seemed to have been the singers. Miss Cayman Islands performed the song “The Way We Were”, Miss Bahamas sang “I´ll stand by you” and Miss Isle of Man sang a song about a marine tragedy. The twenty selected as the best in the talent show went to the BBC studios where they recorded their presentations for the NATIONWIDE program in the section called “Miss World of Talents”. That same day, Miss Cayman Islands was visited at the hotel by the renowned athlete from her country Nick Ackers. To end the activities on that Thursday, the girls had a dance dinner at the Lyceum Ballroom.

                The first talent show aired that same afternoon and where viewers were able to meet the 20 girls, all dressed in a uniform made up of shorts and a white shirt with blue trim. Right away, the first four girls showcased their talents for one minute each: Miss Korea, Miss Curacao, Miss Dominica and Miss Malta. The Korean ballet demonstration and the poetic talent of the Curacao’s girl was highly applauded. All of the 20 talented contestants would be shown during five shows, with four ladies for each day and the winner would be announced on the show on Thursday the 16th, three hours before the grand finale of the contest. The winner of the best talent would be chosen through the calls of the viewers. In addition, a group of six candidates, led by Miss Singapore, appeared on Saturday the 11th on Larry Grayson’s “Generation Game” program, which was also broadcast by the BBC.

                On the NATIONWIDE program on Friday 10, Miss Singapore, Miss Israel, Miss El Salvador and Miss Tahiti presented their talents. On Monday the 13th Miss Bahamas, Miss India, Miss Switzerland and Miss Belgium; on Tuesday the 14th, Miss Aruba, Miss Cayman Islands, Miss Sweden and Miss Philippines, and on Wednesday the 15th, the last four entrants: Miss United States, Miss Jamaica, Miss Isle of Man and Miss Finland. At the end, the BBC did not allow Miss United States to present her talent test due to “copyright” issues since the song she would perform had been recorded at Motown Studios and they did not have those rights. On Thursday 16 it was announced that the winner had been Miss Philippines, who performed a song of her own inspiration while playing the guitar.


                On Friday, November 10, the lunch offered by the Variety Club of Great Britain was held with the assistance of the competitors in their national costumes and who brought the gifts that would be auctioned to benefit the children’s charities that the aforementioned Club managed. On this occasion, the event was held at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane. In the evening, the girls attended the EVITA music show in the West End. Saturday 11 was a shopping day and the beauties attended the procession of the Mayor of London, Sir Kenneth Cork, a show through the streets of the city whose theme that year was called “The World in One” that demonstrated how the square mile of the city was a microcosm of world business life. In the afternoon the customary “Children´s Tea Party” took place with the visit of a group of children to the Waldorf Hotel.

                On Sunday, November 12, the Press Presentation was held at the Waldorf Hotel and where 67 of the 68 candidates posed for the photographers in the official white uniform with blue edges that consisted of shorts and a shirt where it was read the name of the country represented. By the way, Julia Morley had banned bookmakers from attending this presentation, accusing them of making the contest look like a “cattle market.” The year before, Mrs Morley had expelled Terry Probert, from the gambling affiliate in Mecca, who had grouped the candidates in a circle to study their forms. “I don’t see why they have to look at the girls like they’re in a cattle market,” said Mrs. Morley furiously. However, some of them managed to sneak in as reporters and discreetly take note of the contestants.


                On the day of the Press Presentation, Miss Tunisia had refused to show herself in that uniform, as she attended everywhere with her Arab robe called “yashmak” and a veil covering her face. “I am not here for sex but for beauty,” said the Muslim candidate. After the girl’s refusal, Julia Morley informed her that she would be disqualified. “Enough is enough. We respect the traditional customs of each country but while the girls are here they must work together as a team.” “There is a point where we must handle the girls as a whole. If she (Miss Tunisia) is not willing to work alongside the other entrants, she cannot be on the final night of the contest,” said Julia Morley. Miss Tunisia, who said that her father was very rich and that she usually dressed that way in the south of her country where she lived, said that she had agreed to take off her clothes only for the finals, but not before and that it was something that she had promised her father. But, curiously, a photo of her parading in a swimsuit at her contest in Tunisia started to be shown, and where she did not object to showing her body and her charms before the Tunisian people. Her national director said that Miss Tunisia could not show herself for religious reasons but it was also commented that she had refused to change her clothes to generate publicity and not out of disrespect for her tradition. After being disqualified by Julia Morley, Miss Tunisia thought better of it, consulted with her director and decided to change her clothes, although it was already late for the group photo, so Julia Morley readmitted her to the contest minutes after being disqualified.

                The press grouped their favorites for the required photos. The DAILY MIRROR newspaper published Miss Costa Rica, Miss Holland, Miss Mexico, Miss United Kingdom, Miss Spain, Miss Australia, Miss India, Miss United States and Miss Finland, as their favorites. Other media also mentioned Miss Belgium, Miss France, Miss Uruguay and Miss Bermuda with opportunities to win the coveted crown. In Ladbrokes, Miss UK was 8-1 while Miss Mexico followed closely with 9-1. This year representatives from Dominica and Saint Vincent were debuting in the contest. Representatives from Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Costa Rica, El Salvador and the United Kingdom (as Miss Wales) had already participated in Miss Universe of that year. Of these, Miss Belgium had been a semifinalist and Miss Costa Rica had won the Miss Photogenic award. Miss Guam had participated in Miss Universe but from 1974 and in Miss Young International in 1975. Miss Mexico had been chosen as Miss Photogenic and second runner-up of Miss Young International 1978, where Miss Norway also participated, while Miss El Salvador was a semifinalist for the Miss World Amber and had also competed in the Miss Teenage Intercontinental that same year along with the Norwegian candidate, an event in which Miss India had been a semifinalist two years earlier. Miss Ecuador and Miss Greece competed in Miss Maja International 1978. Miss United Kingdom had won the 1977 Miss Teenage Intercontinental representing England. The press was surprised when some candidates, such as Miss Thailand, Miss Costa Rica and Miss Dominica said they had no ambitions in life. The most honest girl turned out to be Miss El Salvador, who said her ambition was to be Miss World while Miss Costa Rica rose that day in betting with 25-1 on her odds. Miss Honduras complained about favoritism towards some contestants and regretted being rejected by the press after a photographer asked where she was from. When saying that she was Honduran, he replied: “Honduras ?, then I don’t care” …

                After the Press Presentation, the contestants went to the Colonial House, where they held the thematic party “Our World´s Christmas Party” at the Baronnial Hall and where several of the contestants were invited to show their talents, including Miss United States, who had not been able to sing her song on national television. That night Miss YUGOSLAVIA (Ljiljana Djogovic) arrived in London, but due to some mix-up, she had misunderstood the arrival deadline. Unfortunately she was not allowed to compete for arriving too late to the contest. Other girls who did not arrive in time for the contest despite having been officially registered were Miss BOLIVIA (Liliana Gutiérrez Paz), Miss GUATEMALA (Claudia María Iriarte) and Miss LEBANON (Graziella Abu Fadel).

                The following is the table of the 68 contenders for the title of Miss World 1978:

ARGENTINA Silvana Rosa Suárez Clarence 20 Architecture student
ARUBA Rose Anne Marie Lejuez 19 Secretary
AUSTRALIA  Denise Ellen Coward 23 Receptionist for an advertising company
AUSTRIA  Doris Elizabeth Anwander 18 Model
BAHAMAS  Donna Marie McCook 20 Bank clerk
BELGIUM  Françoise Helene Julia Moens 19 Model
BERMUDA  Madeline Francine Joell 19 Secretary in a hotel
BRAZIL  Laura Angélica Viana de Oliveira Pereira 20 Student and works on statistics
CANADA  Brigitte June Hofmann 18 Photographic Model
CAYMAN ISLANDS  Wendy Lorraine Daykin 18 Public relations officer
CHILE  María Trinidad Sepúlveda Pavón 22 Model and works on TV
COLOMBIA  Denise de Castro Santiago 19 Student and Model
COSTA RICA  Maribel Fernández García 19 Psychology student
CURACAO  Silvana Angely Trinidad 21 Public relations officer
CYPRUS  Mary Adamou 19 Secretary
DENMARK  Birgit Stefansen 21 Sales woman
DOMINICA  Mona Jno-Lewis 19 Bank clerk
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC  Jenny del Carmen Polanco Rivera 20 Fashion Design student
ECUADOR María Antonieta Cecile Campodónico Aguirre 19 Secretary and Model
EL SALVADOR  Iris Ivette Mazorra Castro 19 Architecture student
FINLAND  Eija Hillevi Laaksonen 22 Student
FRANCE  Kelly Hoarau 18 Nurse
GERMANY  Monika Greis 23 Student
GIBRALTAR  Rosanna Bonfante 17 Clerk
GREECE  Ariana Dimitropoulou 23 Political Science Student
GUAM  Elizabeth Clara Tenorio 22 Travel agent
HOLLAND  Ans van Haaster 22 Model
HONDURAS  María Elena Bodadilla Hohl 21 Secretary
HONG KONG  Faustina “Fiona” Lin Wai-Ling 22 Secretary
ICELAND  Asdis Loftsdóttir 20 Model
INDIA  Kalpana Iyer 21 Model and professional dancer
IRELAND  Lorraine Marion O’Conner 24 Secretary and part-time Model
ISLE OF MAN  Carol Ann Kneale 20 Bank clerk
ISRAEL  Sari Alon 19 Serving Military Service
ITALY  Loren Cristina Mai 17 Student
JAMAICA  Joan Marcia McDonald 23 Dance teacher
JAPAN  Yuko Yamaguchi 21 Student
JERSEY  Chantal Angeline Gosselin 22 Dance student
KOREA  Eun-jin Je 19 Student
MALAYSIA  Kartina Osir 22 Tax assistant
MALTA  Mary Cumbo 18 TV model
MAURITIUS  Geneviève Chanea 19 Croupier
MEXICO  Martha Eugenia Ortíz Gámez 18 Student
NEW ZEALAND  Lorian Dawn Tangney 20 Teacher student
NIGERIA  Irene Omagbemi 20 Student
NORWAY  Elisabeth Klaeboe 17 Student
PARAGUAY  Susana Del Pilar Galli Romañach 19 Student
PERU  Karen Inés Noeth Haupt 19 Bilingual secretary and model
PHILIPPINES  Louvette Monzon Hammond 17 Student
PUERTO RICO  María Jesús “Marichu” Cañizares 21 Art student
SAINT VINCENT  June de Nobriga 23 Student of fashion
SAMOA  Rosalina Sapolu 23 Ledger clerk machinist
SINGAPORE  Rosie Tan 21 Secretary
SPAIN  Gloria María Valenciano Rijo 18 Student
SRI LANKA  Manohori Vanigasooriya 20 Law student
SWAZILAND  Nyamalele Nilovu 21 Works in a spa and croupier in a casino
SWEDEN  Ossie Margaretha Carlsson 21 Dancer and model
SWITZERLAND  Jeanette Keller 20 Law student
TAHITI  Moeata Schmouker 18 Student
THAILAND  Orasa Panichapan 20 Student
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO  Kathleen Thomas 18 Student
TUNISIA  Malek Nemlaghi 19 Student
TURKEY  Sevil Ozgultekin 18 Student
UNITED KINGDOM  Elizabeth Ann Jones 20 Model
UNITED STATES  Debra Jean Freeze 20 Makeup artist
URUGUAY  Mabel Rúa 22 Student
VENEZUELA  Katy Patricia Tóffoli Andrade 18 Model
VIRGIN ISLANDS (US)  Enid D’Lores Francis 18 High school senior


                Monday, November 13 and Tuesday, November 14, were dedicated to rehearsals. This year the customary visit to parliament was not held for unknown reasons. On Wednesday 15 the Dress Rehearsal was held where Miss Germany was crowned and the court included Miss Denmark, Miss Australia, Miss United Kingdom and Miss Mexico. In addition, the pre-recording in national costumes for the BBC and Sacha Distel’s serenade for the candidates, where Miss Mexico was also awarded as Miss Photogenic and Miss Cayman Islands as Miss Personality. At the farewell dinner at the Waldorf Hotel, the award for the best work of “Beauty with a Purpose” was presented. Julia Morley was very pleased with the wonderful work done by her directors around the world. She highlighted the work done in countries like the Bahamas, which had disposed of part of the proceeds from its local contest to help the Hardecker Children’s Clinic and in the Cayman Islands, the money collected had been directed to the community service of the Jaycee Club of Grand Cayman. Meanwhile, the organizers in Cyprus had donated £ 7,000 to help a group of refugee girls and all of the proceeds in Honduras went to the Red Cross in that country. In Jamaica, a fund called the “Kington Peace Fund” was created to help a group of citizens who had been victims of the political war in that country for years. In Mauritius, the local contest had helped regenerate girls who had fallen into crime, and Puerto Rico donated the money raised to help the Society for Crippled Children. In Samoa they were working on creating a foundation related to the Variety Club and in Switzerland they would start donating money for a foundation that would help disabled children living in the mountains, while in the Turks and Caicos islands, the contest contributed to the house of the elderly and helped needy children. This year, the award went to the Jamaican representation. Mrs. Mickey Haughton-James, wife of the owner of the Spartan Health Club and organizer of Miss Jamaica, received the trophy on her behalf and the £ 1,000 that would go to the charity with which her country’s organization worked.

                What the girls did not know was that this year the Morleys had changed the evaluation process a bit. In previous days, the girls had been interviewed through informal conversations by a panel of nine people, different from the final judges, made up of people linked to Mecca, something that they were completely unaware of. This panel, in addition, had examined the contestants during the swimsuit and gown parades of the Dress Rehearsal and were in charge of reducing the group of 68 participants to only 15 who would be the semifinalists and who would be judged by the second panel of judges, the one of the celebrities who would attend the final night. “That was done this way to give more time to assess the girls’ personality during the two days of interviews,” said Julia Morley. The girls only realized this situation after the final night’s swimsuit parade, as they barely entered the dressing rooms, the contest staff told some of them that they could go home now. That, of course, annoyed several of the contestants, who found no reason to have paraded that night before the judges if they had already been eliminated beforehand.


                Before starting the final night of the contest, Miss Mexico was emerging as the great favorite, followed by the representatives of Belgium, Australia and the United Kingdom. The Ladbrokes agency had Miss Australia leading the table with 7-1 in the betting, followed by Miss Mexico with 8-1, while the William Hill agency had Miss Costa Rica in first place, followed by the Mexican and Miss United Kingdom. That morning Eric Morley woke up with laryngitis, but that did not stop him to be present at his event and announce the result in reverse order as he had done for many, many. At 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, November 16, the doors of the Royal Albert Hall opened to the public and at 7:55 p.m. the opening of the show by Phil Tate and the Miss World orchestra began, followed by the British National Anthem. Eric Morley, as usual, was in charge of the welcoming and introduced the 68 contestants in their first show of the night, in evening dress, who paraded, one by one, in alphabetical order. Immediately the individual parade in swimsuits came and, later, they all returned to the stage to pose in small groups of five and six girls in front of the judges. After a brief musical intermission by Phil Tate and his orchestra, the 15 semifinalists were named who lined up on stage, ready for the judges to get to know a little about the personality of each of them. The jury then proceeded to ask one or two questions to each semifinalist. The 15 lucky ones were:

                Miss ARGENTINA (Silvana Rosa Suárez Clarence, 20 years old, from Córdoba); Miss AUSTRALIA (Denise Ellen Coward, 23, from Parkdale, Victoria); Miss AUSTRIA (Doris Elizabeth Anwander, 18, from Bregenz); Miss COSTA RICA (Maribel Fernández García, 19, from San José); Miss FINLAND (Eija Hillevi Laaksonen, 22, from Tampere); Miss INDIA (Kalpana Iyer, 21, from Bombay); Miss MEXICO (Martha Eugenia Ortiz Gámez, 18, from Mexico City); Miss PUERTO RICO (María Jesús “Marichu” Cañizares, 21, from Río Piedras); Miss SPAIN (Gloria María Valenciano Rijo, 18 years old, from Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands); Miss SRI LANKA (Manohori Vanigasooriya, 20, from Colombo); Miss SWEDEN (Ossie Margaretha Carlsson, 21, from Stockholm); Miss SWITZERLAND (20-year-old Jeanette Keller from Zurich); Miss UK (Elizabeth Ann Jones, 20, from Welshpool, Wales); Miss UNITED STATES (Debra Jean Freeze, 20, from Mooresville, North Carolina) and Miss VENEZUELA (Katy Patricia Tóffoli Andrade, 18, from Caracas).

TOP 15:

                At 9:25 pm, the broadcast of the contest began on BBC-1 for 70 uninterrupted minutes. The French singer Sacha Distel, special guest to the contest, gave a serenade with the theme “The Good Life” to the 68 contestants who were on stage in their national costumes. Following this, Sacha introduced British radio personality Paul Burnett who would be the commentator for the event. Immediately came the introduction of the candidates in national costumes, where they said their name, age and occupation. Paul Burnett then proceeded to introduce the nine celebrities who made up the judges panel. They were:

01- Stuart Wagstaff, Australian actor and member of the Variety Club.

02- Phil Lynott, Irish singer, songwriter and musician of the group Thin Lizzy.

03- Christopher Cazenove, English actor.

04- Susan George, British actress.

05- Eric Morley, Chairman of Variety International and of the judges, who did not vote.

06- Miss World 1970 and High Commissioner of Grenada in Canada, Jennifer Hosten-Craig.

07- Ricardo Villa, Argentine soccer player.

08- Belgian-born French singer Regine Zylberberg.

09- Michael Chow, restaurateur, interior designer and former actor born in China.

10- Seow Peck Leng, Director of Singapore.


                Once the jury panel was known, Burnett presented the 15 semifinalists in their individual swimsuit parade, enlivened by the theme “Tell me More” of the movie Grease with the voices of the Mike Samms Singers and comments by Sacha Distel, who gave to know the statistical data of each semifinalist. Distel interviewed Mary Stavin, the outgoing Miss World, on stage and then introduced the 15 semifinalists in their individual parade in evening gown, with comments from Burnett. In the end, the 15 girls posed together for the judges before heading to the dressing rooms to await the results. Sacha Distel returned to the stage to call the 7 finalists in random order, whom she interviewed as he named them. They were: Miss MEXICO, Miss ARGENTINA, Miss UNITED KINGDOM, Miss SWEDEN, Miss AUSTRALIA, Miss SWITZERLAND and Miss SPAIN. Miss UK dropped the number on her wrist while being interviewed, aided by Distel, who also assisted with translations for the Latin finalists. Miss Argentina said that she had studied music for 13 years and that she directed a children’s choir. While the judges deliberated, Sacha Distel performed the song “For Your Love”. After completing his performance, Paul Burnett called Julia Morley to present the awards and Eric Morley to announce the results in reverse order, but not before commenting that the judges had selected five different winners so they had to vote again. It had been a “momentous decision” in the words of Sacha Distel.

                The results was as follows: In fifth place, Miss SPAIN, Gloria Valenciano, who won a prize of £ 250; fourth, the great favorite, Miss MEXICO, Martha Eugenia Ortíz with £ 500. In third place and with a prize of £ 1,000, Miss AUSTRALIA, Denise Ellen Coward. Second, Miss SWEDEN, Ossie Carlsson, who took £ 2,000 home and narrowly managed another “back-to-back” for the Scandinavian country. As was traditional, they all received tiaras behind the scenes and their silver trophies were presented by Julia Morley on the stage. Behind the scenes, Miss Argentina, Miss United Kingdom and Miss Switzerland were waiting.


                Then Eric Morley announced that MISS WORLD 1978 was … Miss ARGENTINA !!. Silvana Suárez, incredulous and tearful, received her sash and went on stage to receive her silver cup from Julia Morley, who led her to the throne to receive the crown from the outgoing Miss World, the Swedish Mary Stavin. Silvana, a 20-year-old brunette, 5 feet 6 inches tall, brown eyes, body measurements 36-24-36 and whose hobbies were classical dance and writing poetry, was awarded a prize of £ 5,000 and a contract of work for about £ 15,000 more. A page gave her the royal scepter before beginning her triumphal walk accompanied by the popular Miss World coronation march. After the broadcast ended, the queen and her finalists squad posed for the photographers before heading to the Grosvenor House Hotel where the Coronation Ball was held. “I never expected to win. It’s too good to be true,” said the excited new queen, who added that she was exhausted and wanted to go to sleep. At the party, the winners received their checks as did the rest of the semifinalists, who each received a prize of £ 50. Meanwhile, Miss United Kingdom and Miss Switzerland obtained £ 150 and £ 100 respectively after reaching sixth and seventh position in the contest. Miss Peru, Silvana’s best friend in the contest and roommate, helped her all the time and was her interpreter since Silvana did not speak English. The worldwide broadcast of the event was estimated to reach 300 million people, although in many places it would be broadcast on a delayed basis.

                The next morning, while having strawberries and champagne for breakfast during the press conference held at the Waldorf Hotel, Silvana confessed that her family was very poor and that the entire prize money would be given to her mother. She also said that she would like to visit India because she liked yoga and that country was the ideal place to practice it. “This is the year of my country,” said the brand-new Miss World, in clear reference to the fact that months before, Argentina had also won the Soccer World Cup. She was not among the favorites of the contest, as her odds at the bookies were 25-1. Despite her beauty, Silvana said that she believed that the greatest thing in the world was the spirit and that she had no boyfriend. It was revealed that 16.5 million people had tuned into the contest in the United Kingdom through BBC-1, a couple of million less than the previous year.

               Weeks later, on Friday, December 22, Silvana returned to her country, dressed in a peasant outfit by designer Lola Ramini with a silver coin harrow at her waist. With trophy in hand, she was received by her uncle and by “Miss Córdoba” Susana Sánchez. Then, she was taken to tour the city aboard a fire truck and was accompanied by twenty girls in ponchos. In a special program she danced tango with Juan Carlos Copes, sang the song “Amor mío” with Juan Marcelo and sang together with the Córdoba choir, specially brought to the program. After sharing the Christmas holidays with her family, she returned to London to fulfill her commitments as world sovereign of beauty. She toured the United Kingdom and traveled to numerous countries during his year of reign, including Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, the United States, Spain, Belgium, France, Monaco, Barbados, Grenada, and Trinidad-Tobago, and in November 1979, she relinquished her crown to her successor in London.


                Silvana Rosa Suárez Clarence was born in the province of Córdoba on September 29, 1958, the daughter of the sculptor Horacio Suárez and Norma Clarence, a teacher of Fine Arts, potter and painter. Three children were born from that marriage, Horacio, Silvana Rosa and Norma. Her brother was intellectually gifted and highly sensitive until at age 16, these conditions began to affect him mentally. His illness ended up separating the marriage Suárez and Silvana lived with her mother and sister Norma, today a lawyer, while her father dedicated himself to caring for her brother Horacio. At the age of five, Silvana entered the “Domingo Zípoli” School of Singing Children, the only one in South America and recognized worldwide for its level of education. Parallel to the school, she began studying at the music conservatory and at 18 she was already a teacher and choir director. She lived her childhood and adolescence in the midst of art and culture. Classical music on the radio and going out to the San Martín de Córdoba theater were something very daily in her life. After finishing high school, she began to study architecture as she continued singing in the choir.

                In the summer of 1978, her mother urged her to send a photograph to participate in the “Miss Sierras de Córdoba” contest in the city of Carlos Paz. This contest was a preliminary of the Miss Argentina pageant and whose winner would represent the country in the Miss Universe 1978 pageant in Mexico. Silvana won the regional contest, so she traveled to Buenos Aires in June to participate in the national contest. Thanks to her great beauty, she managed to obtain the crown of Miss Argentina, but when she had to sign the contract, she did not agree with some clauses, so she decided not to sign it and renounce her title. It was assumed by the first runner-up, Stella Maris-Muñoz, who traveled to Acapulco for Miss Universe. Silvana entered and later won the “Miss Córdoba 1978” pageant, Miss Argentina’s regional elimination for Miss World, but in the national pageant she turned out to be the First runner-up. The winner was the representative of Mar del Plata, Margarita Susana Heindrycks, 16 years old, so she could not attend the international pageant and Silvana Suárez was appointed at the last minute to represent Argentina in the Miss World 1978 contest that was held on November 16 at the Royal Albert Hall in the city of London. She took some clothes, including the mesh with which she participated in Miss Argentina and her sister’s wedding dress, which were all the rage, to captivate the public and the judges. In London, according to Silvana herself, she did not seek at any time to be the favorite of photographers as it was ussual in those years, or to attract attention with extravagant clothes or makeup, but simply to be authentic. This gave her the victory and she became the second Argentine woman to obtain the coveted title of world beauty.

                During her year of reign, she was hired for a series of shows on London’s “Thames Television” and toured the Asian continent, Europe, and the Caribbean. After fulfilling her reign and handing over the crown in 1979, Silvana modeled in several countries in Europe, the United States and Japan, where she lived for more than a year. She recorded an album with John Travolta and acquired one more foreign language to enlarge her curriculum. She won six other awards including “Miss Revlon International” and was a member of the Miss World 1981 jury. She twice posed for “Playboy” magazine. The first, before the camera of the Belgian photographer Pierre Eggermont, recreating the works of the painter René Magritte. The second time was for the launch of the first edition of the aforementioned magazine in the Argentine Republic. In the year of 1983 she had an affair with the Argentine stylist Rubén Orlando, who was separated, but the romance did not last. Then she returned to Spain, where she began her career as a photographer and decided to leave the catwalks for good. She set out to return to Argentina and start her career as a businesswoman. That was how in October 1988, a month after arriving in the country, fate surprised her and at a dinner she met the man she would marry just three months later. Julio Ramos, 53, separated, Director and founder of the newspaper “Ámbito Financiero”. Julio lived a very painful moment in his life, two years before he had lost in two different accidents, his sons Gabriel, 27 years old and Darío, 18 years old. Without knowing each other very much, Julio acknowledged being impressed by Silvana’s beauty. But he also said he was impressed by her cultural level, her knowledge of music and her command of several languages. They were married in the civil registry of San Isidro on Tuesday, December 27, 1988. The wedding was attended by very important people from politics and entertainment, including President Carlos Saúl Menem and his wife. Silvana wore a beautiful dress in lace and white tulle made by Gino Bogani. The striking thing about her outfit was the red shoes. Ten months later Julia Silvana was born and a year later Augusto Alfredo. The Ramos-Suárez couple lived together for many years in an excellent way. Happiness and progress were a daily thing. Silvana worked alongside Julio as head of the cultural section of the newspaper. But in the mid-1990s the problems began that led the couple to a terrible separation where Silvana must have had bodyguards to protect her of her husband’s physical attacks. Finally, in 1999, Silvana got her divorce to end that ordeal.

                In the summer of 1998, after a fashion show by the stylist Roberto Giordano, Silvana had to make a note for the “Charlas de Quincho” section of the newspaper in which she worked. There she met French businessman Stephan Attia who was director of programming for France’s national television, among other things. He had arrived in Argentina accompanying his friend, the actor Alain Delon. She was still married and he was single. Then she separated and he got married. But in 2004, Stephan started looking for Silvana. He invited her to Monaco for a sample of his ships, but she declined the invitation. Little by little they fell in love and on October 10, 2004 they married civilly in Paris and eight days later they married under the Hindu rite on the Indonesian island of Bali. Despite the fact that Stephan was a man with many companies around the world, they settled in Argentina. Years later Silvana also separated from Stephan. In 2012 she had a romantic relationship with African-American Wanlee Young, whom she met in New York, but the relationship did not prosper. Silvana Suárez lived alone in an important neighborhood of the Federal Capital and dedicated herself to painting. Later, she decided to go live in the city of Nono, 160 kilometers from Córdoba, in an ecological house that she had built and where she ran a boutique, a job that she combined with her passion for painting. Her last appearance at a beauty event was during the Miss Argentina election for Miss World 2011, where she was a member of the jury. In 1999, in the program “Lunching with Mirtha Legrand” Silvana got up from the table and left the emblematic host planted live after having a tense intersection with her. The discussion began when Legrand asked her about her separation from Julio Ramos. Legrand told her with some irony that what bothered the former Miss World was that she asked her about her personal life. Suárez, standing and looking directly at the hostess, did not shrink. “You cannot use me and challenge me. Excuse me the public”, insisted the guest to later the lunch diva said an unforgettable phrase: “I don’t need you to have an audience, Silvana Suárez!”. — “Today, yes”, replied Silvana, pointing to her floor with two fingers, as if to reaffirm her position. She then turned around and left the study. For the first time in the three decades that it had been on the air, a guest left Legrand’s program, a fact that is still well remembered by the Argentine community. She passed away on the afternoon of Friday, October 21, 2022, in Nono, due to advanced colon cancer.


                Miss Ireland, Miss Saint Vincent and Miss Spain participated in Miss Universe 1979 held in Australia, while Miss Japan participated in that contest but in 1983. The Irish also competed in Miss International 1979 with Miss Belgium. Miss Peru competed in the 1979 International Coffee Queen contest and Miss Canada in Miss Young International that same year. Meanwhile, Miss Greece participated in Mrs World in 1989. Miss Venezuela worked as a television actress. She participated in the soap operas Leonela (1983), Mundo de Fieras (1991) and Samantha (1998). She currently lives in Killeen, Texas. Miss Mexico also became a recognized soap opera actress in her country and continues to live in the Mexican capital. Miss United Kingdom currently lives in Mexico with her two daughters and recently debuted as a grandmother. Miss India was a film actress and singer and was well recognized in Indian cinema in the 80s and 90s.

Costa Rica

                Miss Costa Rica is another of the Misses of this year who became quite a celebrity. She moved to Mexico where she made a career as a film and soap opera actress, adopting the name of Maribel Guardia, as she is recognized today. She was married to the Mexican singer-songwriter Joan Sebastian, separating from him in the middle of the recording of the soap opera that both starred in “You and me” in 1996. She is also a singer and television presenter and has a son named Julián. Miss Chile entered the Miss World Chile pageant while she was still working as a model on the program Sábados Gigantes. The election took place in a central cinema in Santiago and was televised on Canal 13 TV. Despite the beauty title that led her to compete in London that year, she later confessed with humor in an interview, that she was more remembered as a model of Sábados Gigantes than as Miss Chile in Miss World. Miss Peru is a Commercial Advisor in sales of land and houses and also an English teacher. She currently lives in San Bartolo, Lima. Miss Uruguay is a famous plastic artist in her country. Miss France made a modeling career in Paris. Years later and for two years, she agreed to manage the Miss Reunion committee, but aspiring to a calmer life, she received training and got a position as a documentarian on the general council. Miss Dominican Republic became a renowned fashion designer. Unfortunately she died on March 24, 2020 of a respiratory arrest caused by the coronavirus after returning to Santo Domingo from a presentation of one of her collections in Spain, where she contracted the disease. Meanwhile, Sacha Distel died on July 22, 2004 in Rayol-Canadel, France, when he was 71 years old and was still active in music at the time of his death.

Dominican Republic




Thanks to Donald West, Daryl Schabinger, Neil Craig, Jon Osborne, Jorge Alejandro Bravo, Junior Zelaya, Mario Jérez, Henrique Fontes, Kahaan Kumaar, Sally-Ann Fawcett, Rafa Delfin, Pepe Medel, Toni Hidalgo, Andrés Carmona, Miss Holland Now and Glamour Argentino.

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