By Julio Rodríguez Matute. PAYPAL.ME/RODRIGUEZMATUTE2
2002, A TUMULTUOUS YEAR.-
The euro begins to circulate as the official currency in 12 of the 15 countries of the European Union. A SARS epidemic begins, originating in China, which lasted two years. Earthquakes shake the mountain ranges of Afghanistan, Qazvin (Iran), Sulawesi (Indonesia), Afyon (Turkey), Molise (Italy), New Britain (Papua New Guinea), Baluchistan (Pakistan), Mindanao (Philippines) and Hualien (Taiwan), leaving almost two thousand victims in total. Hurricane Kenna affects the Mexican Pacific coast. On April 11, the Puente Llaguno massacre occurred in Venezuela, when loyal members to Hugo Chávez assassinated 19 Venezuelans and shot another 127 people who were peacefully marching against his government. The next day there was an “alleged” coup against Chávez, who regained the presidency 48 hours later. Months later, gunmen in Chávez’s service assassinate several opponents concentrated in the Plaza Francia in Altamira (Caracas) and a 62-day oil strike against the communist government of Chávez began. Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva and Álvaro Uribe are elected Presidents of Brazil and Colombia and during Uribe’s assumption, the FARC tried to assassinate him. The Bojayá massacre perpetrated by the FARC in Colombia occurs, with more than a hundred victims. The candidate for the presidency of Colombia Ingrid Betancourt, and her head of debate, Clara Rojas, are kidnapped by the FARC. The Shining Path terrorist group sets off two car bombs near the US Embassy in Lima, Peru. Al Qaeda commits terrorist acts on the island of Bali (Indonesia), leaving more than 200 dead. Chechen terrorists kidnap almost a thousand people in Moscow’s Dubrovka theater, threatening to blow up the building if the Russian government does not withdraw its troops from Chechnya. Three days later, the Russian government attacked the theater with a lethal gas, ending the kidnapping, but killing, along with the 40 terrorists, more than 200 hostages as a result of the poisonous gases. In Mexico, the sisters of the singer Thalía are kidnapped, who were released 18 days later, the Netherlands legalizes euthanasia and East Timor gains independence from Indonesia. Civil wars end in Angola and Sierra Leone. Former US President Jimmy Carter wins the Nobel Peace Prize. Brazil wins the Soccer World Cup for the fifth time by defeating Germany 2-0 in the World Cup held jointly between Japan and South Korea. threatening to blow up the building if the Russian government did not withdraw its troops from Chechnya. Three days later, the Russian government attacked the theater with a lethal gas, ending the kidnapping, but killing, together with the 40 terrorists, more than 200 hostages as a result of the poisonous gases. In Mexico, the sisters of the singer Thalía are kidnapped, who were released 18 days later, the Netherlands legalizes euthanasia and East Timor gains independence from Indonesia. Civil wars end in Angola and Sierra Leone. Former US President Jimmy Carter wins the Nobel Peace Prize. Brazil wins the Soccer World Cup for the fifth time by defeating Germany 2-0 in the World Cup held jointly between Japan and South Korea.
Russian Oxana Fedorova is selected Miss Universe in Puerto Rico but four months later she resigned the crown for personal reasons, being replaced by the first runner-up, Panamanian Justine Pasek, while Lebanese Christina Sawaya achieved the title of Miss International in Japan. For her part, Dzejla Glavovic from Bosnia & Herzegovina wins the second edition of Miss Earth in the Philippines. Seven months later, she is dethroned for not meeting her obligations. Latvian Marie N wins the Eurovision Song Contest held in Estonia with the song “I wanna”, “A Brilliant Mind” wins the Academy Award for Best Picture and former Miss World USA, Halle Berry, wins the Oscar for Best Actress for “Monster’s Ball”. The video game “Mortal Kombat” is released. In the cinema the films ‘Spider-Man’, ‘Men in Black II’, ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’, ‘Die Another Day’, ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers’, ‘The Ice Age’, ‘Star Wars, Attack of the Clones’, ‘Scooby-Doo’, ‘Halloween: Resurrection’, ‘Chicago’, ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’, ‘Signs’, ‘Collateral Damage’, ‘Monster’s Ball’, ‘The Pianist’, ‘Dragonfly’, ‘Resident Evil’, ‘Red Dragon’, ‘The Ring’, ‘Home Alone 4’ and ‘Frida’ are released. In the US, the programs “Al Rojo Vivo” begin to air on Telemundo, “American Idol” on FOX and “CSI-Miami” on CBS. The songs ‘Asereje’ by Las Ketchup, ‘A Dios Le Pido’ by Juanes, ‘Objection’ by Shakira, ‘Dilemma’ by Nelly and Kelly Rowland, ‘Complicated’ by Avril Lavigne, ‘Die Another Day’ by Madonna, ‘Gimme the Light’ by Sean Paul, ‘I love Rock’n’ Roll’ by Britney Spears, ‘Heaven’ by DJ Sammy, ‘Hero’ by Chad Kroeger & Josey Scott, ‘Hey Baby’ by No Doubt & Bounty Killer, ‘One Day in Your Life’ by Anastacia, ‘Satisfaction’ by Benny Benassi, ‘The Tide Is High’ by Atomic Kitten, ‘Y Tú Te vas’ and ‘Torero’ by Chayanne, ‘Eres Mi Religión’ by Maná, ‘Kilometres’ and ‘Sirena’ by Sin Bandera, ‘Ave María’ and ‘Lloraré Las Penas’ by David Bisbal, ‘La Negra Tiene Tumbao’ by Celia Cruz and ‘Que El Ritmo No Pare’ by Patricia Manterola. This year the Queen Mother of England, her daughter Princess Margaret, the musician Ray Conniff, the actors Robert Urich (SWAT) and Jonathan Harris (Dr. Smith from the series “Lost in Space”), the Mexican actress María Félix, the Venezuelan actress Hilda Carrero, Yolanda Leal who was the Venezuelan beauty queen of the VII World Series of Amateur Baseball in 1944, the former Peruvian President Fernando Belaúnde Terry and the former Dominican President Joaquín Balaguer cease to exist. This year, the Mexican actor Emilio Osorio was born.
MISS WORLD IN NIGERIA.-
Although during the visit of the Nigerian Agbani Darego (Miss World 2001) and Julia Morley to Port Harcourt in December 2001, it had been speculated that the Miss World 2002 pageant could be held in Nigeria, it was on May 22 when it was confirmed that this African country would host the event. This West African nation was reported to have won the right to host it after defeating other contenders including Singapore and Puerto Rico. And in recognition of the magnitude of the event, the federal government took charge of the preparations for the assembly of the contest that had been obtained by ‘Silverbird Production Limited’, the organizing company of the ‘The Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria’ contest. The venue for the global event, which was expected to attract 2.4 billion spectators worldwide, was the National Stadium in Abuja, to which construction giants Julius Berger were putting the finishing touches. 110 nations were expected to participate in the event, generally seen as an ecotourism driver for any host nation. One source pointed out that Miss World would be a massive publicity item for Nigeria.
Inspectors quietly came to Nigeria to assess the facilities in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Calabar and other places that the contestants would visit and were satisfied with Abuja as the host city for its excellent facilities. The source, a senior official from the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), stated: “The NTA will learn incredible lessons from the event, as 150 foreign television crews will work with the 150 members of the NTA. When you work with the best, you benefit from the experiences of others”. Narrating the likely benefits of the event, the senior official said: “We are going to fly 110 flags. It’s great because as the world moves, everyone turns their attention to where the most beautiful women are.” He added: “The federal government has promised unconditional support. The government is happy with the venue rights for the event which will be broadcast live to the world”. The Cross Rivers and River State governments were co-sponsors of the event. The candidates were also expected to visit Obudu Cattle Ranch in Cross Rivers, where they could see to baboons who were in danger of extinction. “The event is a great driver of tourism. Ecotourism is critical, as conservation is the most critical global issue right now. The world will see how we continue to do so. And the world press will tell the story”.
THE CANDIDATES INVITED TO MEET THE BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY.-
The more than 100 contestants of Miss World 2002 would receive an audience with the Royal Family in London in November, as reported on August 1. The delegates had been invited to join the Royal House of London for a royal ceremony on Sunday, November 3. The meeting with the royal family had been fitted into the Miss World calendar in London. This ceremony was normally an entertainment provided by the royal family. According to the schedule, all contestants were to arrive in London on or before Friday, November 1. The next day, the beauty queens would go to a photo shoot and a television presentation. After attending the royal ceremony, the aspiring Miss World delegates would depart for Abuja, Nigeria, where the final of the contest would take place. The candidates would also have the opportunity to explore that beautiful country, learn about their rich culture and they would be filming in different areas. The competition would take place at the 60,000-seat National Stadium in Abuja, which was considered one of the best in the world.
As it was mentioned already, this year 110 countries were expected to be represented at the Miss World. The organization had 119 franchises in the world, but Bangladesh, the British Virgin Islands, Portugal, Saint Martin and Uzbekistan announced that, due to financial problems, they would not hold their local Miss World contest this year. The ‘Miss Cayman Islands’ was postponed to early 2003, as part of a restructuring of the event. In this way, it was sought to recruit a greater number of applicants since the call in 2002 had not obtained the expected results, so they would not participate in Miss World 2002. Madagascar and Moldova announced that they would not be present because their contests were postponed to the end of year and Zambia, which intended to return this year, also had to postpone its contest due to lack of support from sponsors. Due to criticism after having accepted Hawaii as a participant being a state of the American union, Julia Morley decided to suspend this franchise. For their part, Honduras, Samoa and Taiwan also gave up.
This year’s contest would feature the return of Belize, Mauritius, Morocco, Lesotho and Ivory Coast, while Albania, Algeria and Vietnam would debut, as well as Cameroon, Gabon and Togo. Some countries did not hold a contest but appointed their representatives. In the case of Antigua, they chose Zara Razzaq, 2nd. runner-up from the previous year, and who had achieved a good role in Miss Intercontinental 2001. In Estonia, the organizers appointed Triin Sommer who had won the title of ‘Maybelline Beach Girl’ and had participated in the singing contest ‘Fizz Superstar 2002’, as well as dancing in the dance show ‘Bad Angels’. Due to the political situation, the ‘Miss Lebanon’ contest was postponed to February, but the 1st. runner-up of 2001, Bethany Kehdy, would be sent to Miss World. In Argentina they appointed Daniela Estefanía Puig, who had been 1st. Runner-up of the World Miss University 2001, but for personal reasons she declined to participate, so model Tamara Henriksen was later selected. In the Dominican Republic there was no contest either, but Claudia Cruz, who had participated in Miss Universe 2001, was appointed. Nepal, who would initially participate, postponed their contest to December 7, so they would not have a representative in Nigeria either. Here are the results of the national events heading to Miss World 2002:
* MISS JAPAN INTERNATIONAL.- The contest was held jointly with Miss International on Thursday October 4, 2001 at the Nakano Sun Plaza hotel in Tokyo. The winners were Hana Urushima and Yuko Nabeta who would go to Miss International and Miss World 2002.
* MISS & MR. LATVIA.- It was held on Friday, November 2, 2001 in Malta. Baiba Svarca won the title of ‘Miss Latvia 2001’ and Edijs Kremainis that of ‘Mister Latvia 2001’. As runner-ups were Kristine Bumbure and Rolands Pauliņs, while Kristine Sleicere and Janis Feldmanis were Miss & Mr. Photogenic. 5 girls and 5 men participated.
* MISS DENMARK.- Masja Juel, 23 years old and 1.68 m tall, was crowned on Saturday, November 10 for Miss World. The organizers of this event took up the franchise in 2002.
* MISS PERU WORLD.- It was held on Saturday, November 10, 2001 at the Swiss Hotel in San Isidro with 18 participants and the event featured the compering of Jéssica Newton, Marian Valero and Salvador ‘Speedy’ Gonzales. The 21-year-old candidate from the department of La Libertad, Marina Mora, won it. Marina, who had the title of Miss International Tourism 2001 (elected in March in San Cristóbal, Venezuela) would now represent her country in Miss World 2002. The runner-ups were the representatives of Tumbes (Paola Castrillón) and Cajamarca (Janin Von Dewits) . The remaining semifinalists were the candidates from Puno (Adriana Quevedo), Lima Region (Fiorella Rivas), Ica (Mirna Cabrera), Pasco (Gisela Bravo), San Martín (Ivette Santa María), Ancash (Dennise Marín) and Ucayali (Johana Pinedo).
* MISS & MR. ALBANIA.- Anisa Kospiri won in Tirana on Saturday, November 24, 2001, while Olti Xhezo was elected Mr. Albania in the same event. Albania debuted with Kospiri in Miss Universe 2002. The runner-ups were Edona Sllomniku, Mirjeta Zeka, Teuta Dauti and Mirvjena Mucolla. However, they sent one of the semifinalists, Anjeza Maja, to Miss World. 34 girls and 15 boys participated.
* MISS MAURITIUS.- Karen Alexandre, a 22-year-old interior decorator, won on Thursday, November 29, the ‘Miss Mauritius 2001’ contest held at the ‘Indira Gandhi Center for Indian Culture’ in Vacoas-Phoenix, on her way to Miss Universe and Miss World 2002. The runner-ups were Johanne Mussodeee and Sabrina Lecluse. Twelve candidates participated.
* MISS BELIZE.- Karen Russell was elected on Friday, November 30, 2001 as the new Miss Belize, heading to Miss Universe and Miss World 2002, among 7 entrants. The contest was held after a year of interruption. The runner-ups were Tiffana Reynolds (later dismissed) and Becky Bernard.
* MISS BELGIUM.- On Friday, December 7, 2001, the new ‘Miss Belgium 2002’ was chosen for Miss Universe and Miss World 2002. The winner was Ann Van Elsen, 21 years old and an Administration student. The runner-ups were Sylvie Doclot and Stephanie Wirtz.
* MISS BOTSWANA.- It was held on Saturday, December 8, 2001 at the Ditshupo Hall in Gaborone. The winner was Lomaswati Dlamini, whose name means “beautiful Swati”. She beat 19 other girls to compete in Miss World 2002. The runner-ups were Lorato Kwelagobe and Rita Machibe.
* MISS SOUTH AFRICA.- Vanessa Do Ceu Carreira, a 21-year-old communications student of Portuguese origin, from the city of Boksburg, became Miss South Africa on Saturday, December 15, 2001, chosen in the Sun City Superbowl, heading to Miss Universe and Miss World 2002. The runner-ups, among 16 girls, were Claire Sabbagha and Bonneventia Pule. They completed the Top 5 Ibet Stanley and Leigh Kearns.
* MISS ANGOLA.- Geovana Pinto Leite, from Benguela, was crowned ‘Miss Angola 2002’ for Miss Universe, on Saturday, December 15, 2001. Malange’s candidates, Rosa Muxito (to Miss World 2002) and Namibe, Rosindra Manuela Graça.
* MIS LIETUVA.- The Lithuanian national beauty contest was held on Saturday, December 22, 2001 in the Vilnius Congress Hall with 17 participants. The winner was 19-year-old Oksana Semenishina from the city of Kaunas. The runner-ups were Giedre Raugeleviciute and Raimonda Valinciute.
* FA-FEMINA MISS INDIA.- It was held at the ‘National Academy of Construction Grounds’ in Hyderabad on Saturday, January 19 with 26 candidates. The winners were: Fa-Femina Miss India Universe 2002, Neha Dhupia from the city of Delhi, Fa-Femina Miss India World 2002, Shruti Sharma from Mumbai, and Fa-Femina Miss India Earth 2002, Reshmi Ghosh, from Calcutta. The other two runner-ups were Gauahar Khan and Tina Chhatwal, who were sent to Miss International 2002 and Miss Asia Pacific respectively.
* MISS MALAWI.- Blandina Mlenga, 21, was elected ‘Miss Malawi 2002’ on Saturday, January 26.
* MISS GERMANY WORLD.- On Sunday, January 27, Germany elected its representative to Miss World 2002, in a 2-hour show that was televised on SAT1. The winner was Miss Berlin, Katrin Wrobel, a 24-year-old dental assistant. The first runner-up was Miss Hessen, Simone Wulf-Reinfurt, and the second, Miss Bayern, Indira Selmic. For the first time there was a black candidate among the 22 entrants. It was “Miss Schleswig-Holstein”, Dayan Tweneboah-Kodua, who was born in Ghana.
* MISS BAHAMAS WORLD.- On Saturday, February 2, the ‘Miss Bahamas World’ contest was held at the Rainforest Theater of the Crystal Palace Cable Beach Resort in Nassau, with 19 contestants. The winner was T’Shura Ambrose, 25. The runner-ups were Shameka Fernander and Shenique Darling.
* MISS COSTA RICA.- On Saturday, February 9, at the Melico Salazar Theater in San José, the beauty queens who represented Costa Rica in the 2002 international competitions were chosen among 10 finalists. As Miss Costa Rica Universe 2002 was elected Merilyn Villalta Castro, 21, and as Miss Costa Rica World 2002, Shirley Álvarez Sandoval, also 21. Silvia Barrantes was the runner-up.
* FROKEN SVERIGE.- Miss Uppland, Malou Hansson, 19 years old and of African origin (her mother is from the Gambia) was crowned among 28 girls as the representative of Sweden to Miss Universe 2002 on Monday, February 25. For her part, Sophia Hedmark, Miss Varmland, was the first runner-up, with the right to go to Miss World 2002. The second runner-up, Miss Öland, Emma Fredriksson, would go to Miss Europe 2002.
* MISS UKRAINE.- It was held at the Frank Theater in Kiev on Tuesday, February 26, with the participation of 30 candidates. The winner was Olena Stogniy, a 25-year-old student, while Lilja Kopytova was elected as Miss Ukraine Universe and Veronika Bondarenko as princess. The other runner-ups were Marina Shevkunova, Irina Ozheredova and Irina Udovenko. Due to the age of the winner, the organizers decided to send runner-up Irina Udovenko, from Mariupol, to Miss World.
* MISS WORLD NICARAGUA.- It was held on Wednesday, February 27 at the Best Western Las Mercedes Hotel, among 12 contestants. The winner was Hazel Calderón Chavarría, 25, and the runner-ups were Marianela Lacayo, Silvia González, Carmen María Cabrera and Cynthia Valle.
* THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN NIGERIA.- On Saturday March 2, at the Meridien Eko Hotel in Lagos, the election of ‘The Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria’ was held in its 15th version, with 22 candidates. The winner was Miss Anambra State, Chinenye Ochuba, 18, heading to Miss Universe and Miss World. The runner-ups were Chinyere Iwuchukwu, Miss Abia, and Onyekachi Okereke, Miss Taraba.
* MISS ISRAEL.- Yamit Har-Noy, 20, won on Wednesday, March 13, the crown of ‘Miss Israel 2002’ among 20 candidates, and the right to represent her country in Miss Universe. As representative of Miss World was Karol Lowenstein, Miss International was Shelly Dina’i and Miss Europe, Dina Serby. The other runner-ups were Chaja Rafaliny and Hadar Sabag. As a special guest was Mpule Kwelagobe, Miss Universe 1999.
* MISS TURKEY.- On Thursday, March 14, the ‘Miss Turkey 2002’ contest was held at the ‘Lütfi Kırdar Convention and Exhibition Center’ in Istanbul with 20 girls and the musical participation of the Colombian singer Shakira. The winner was Azra Akin, 20, heading to Miss World. The runner-ups were Cagla Kubat (for Miss Universe), Esra Eron (for Miss Europe), Nihan Akkus (for Miss International) and Melikke Akkaya.
* BINIBINING PILIPINAS.- On Saturday, March 16, at the Araneta Coliseum, a contest was held to elect the Philippine representatives to international beauty pageants, which had the participation of 23 candidates. The three queens of the night were Karen Loren Agustin, 19, from Quezon City (to Miss Universe 2002); Katherine Anne Manalo, 22, from Parnaque (to Miss World 2002) and Kristine Alzar, 21, from Lipa, Batangas (to Miss International 2002). The runner-ups were Margaret-Ann Bayot and Maria Lourdes Magno.
* MISS NORWAY.- It was held on Sunday, March 17 in Oslo with 12 candidates. The winners were Hege Hatlo, 21 (to Miss Universe) and Katrine Sorland, 21, of Stavanger (to Miss World).
* MISS SPAIN.- The ‘Miss Spain 2002’ gala concluded on Sunday, March 17 at the Sports Pavilion of the City of Algeciras, Cádiz, with Miss Almería, Vania Millán, 24 years old, as the winner, heading to Miss Universe. The Maids of Honor were Miss Sevilla, Lola Alcocer (to Miss World); and Miss Toledo, Gemma Ruiz Garvía (to Miss Europe). The remaining semifinalists, chosen from a previous group of 26, were the representatives of Asturias (Olivia Yera), Cádiz (Miguelina Cabral), Ceuta (Carmen Jiménez), La Rioja (Martina Ruíz), León (Arianna Álvarez), Madrid (Vírginia Arrabal ), Murcia (Juana Acosta), Tarragona (Lidia Sánchez) and Tenerife (Patricia Maluenda). The two-week contest included a trip to Tunisia. Miss Alicante, Gema García Marcos, was disqualified on the night of Wednesday, March 13, when it was discovered that she had falsified her age (she was 31 years old) and was also an undercover journalist for a report about the contest for World TV. In addition, it was learned that her bosses from World TV had ‘bought’ the Miss Alicante title for 24 thousand euros from the local organizer, María Elena Dávalos, so that Gema could reach Miss Spain.
* MISS GUATEMALA.- It was held on Monday, March 18, at a hotel in Guatemala City. The winner, heading to Miss Universe, was Karina Maribel Velásquez Portillo, 20 years old. Also in the honor roll were Paula Alonso (as Miss World Guatemala), Evelyn Arreaga (Second Runner-up); Elsy Palma (Third Runner-up), and Elinor Martínez (Fourth Runner-up and Miss Internet).
* MISS SWAZILAND.- On Wednesday, March 20, ‘Miss Swaziland 2002’ was elected at the Royal Swazi Sun Convention Center in the capital Mbabane. The winner was Miss Shiselweni, Nosipho Shabangu, who won 7 other contestants and obtained her direct passport to Nigeria, to represent the country in Miss World 2002. The queen was accepted by her compatriots, but the runner-ups were questioned by the press and by the relatives of the other contestants.
* UNGFRU ISLAND.IS.- The Icelandic beauty pageant for Miss World was held on Saturday, March 23 in Reykjavik and the winner was Solveig Zophoniasdottir. The runner-ups were Signy Kristinsdóttir, Áslaug Bórisdóttir and Brynhildur Gudlaugsdóttir. For her part, Eyrun Steinsson won the award for Best Face of the contest, courtesy of ‘Maybelline’.
* MISS ECUADOR.- Isabel Ontaneda, from Quito, on Tuesday, March 26, became the new ‘Miss Ecuador 2002’ in a contest that brought together 11 entrants and that was held at the Art Center of the city of Guayaquil. Ontaneda, 23 years old and graduated from Hospitality and Tourism in Switzerland, represented her country in the Miss Universe in Puerto Rico. As representative of Ecuador in Miss World was elected Jessica Angulo and the remaining runner-ups were Viviana Carbo, María José Ortiz and Fátima Fuentes. The contest featured the animation of the former Venezuelan Miss, Ruddy Rodríguez.
* MISS LESOTHO.- On Saturday, March 30, the contest that had not been held for several years was held in Maseru, and the winner, Annie Andrews, a native of Mohale’s Hoek, would go to Miss World. The runner-ups were Seeng Mphutlane and Mampuo Motsepa. 14 candidates participated.
* MISS UNIVERSE CURAÇAO.- Ayanette Mary Ann Statia, a 19-year-old Administration student, won the right to represent Curaçao in Miss Universe 2002 on Sunday, March 31st. Her runner-up was Tatianna Maria Inmaculata Dijkers. After her participation in Miss Universe, Ayanette was invited on Saturday, September 14 to compete in Miss World, which she gladly accepted.
* MISS CZECH REPUBLIC- On Saturday, April 6, at the Boby Centrum in Brno, the ‘Miss Czech Republic 2002’ contest was held and the winner turned out to be Katerina Pruzová, 18, from the city of Chrastava (to Miss Universe). The runner-ups were Katerina Smrzova, from Prague (to Miss World) and Radka Kocurova, from Karviná (to Miss Europe). Miss Internet, Lenka Taussigová, was sent to Miss International 2002.
* MISS AUSTRIA.- Celine Roschek, 18, from Bisamberg, became the new ‘Miss Austria 2002’ on Saturday, April 6. The runner-ups were Nicole Kern, Lena Birnstingl, Katrin Wachter, and Lisa Kretzner.
* MISS GREECE.- Lena Paparrigopoulou, 20, from Athens, won the ‘Star Hellas’ crown on Tuesday, April 9, at the Vergina Theater of the Hyatt Regency Casino in Thessaloniki on her way to Miss Universe. As ‘Miss Hellas 2002’ (to Miss World) was Katerina Georgiadou, 22, from Thessaloniki; and as “Miss Greek Beauty” was Ioanna Kafkopoulou. The runner-ups were Stella Giamboura, Georgia Miha and Chryslisa Ermisoglou, while Julia Alexandratou was elected ‘Miss Teen’. 25 girls participated.
* MISS SLOVAKIA.- It was held on Saturday, April 13 in the capital, Bratislava. The winner was a 20-year-old red-haired gymnast, Eva Veresová (for Miss World) and her runner-ups were Hana Burianova (for Miss Europe) and Zuzana Gunisova (for Miss International).
* MISS BRAZIL.- Josiane de Oliveira, Miss Rio Grande Do Sul, 20 years old, won the right to represent Brazil in Miss Universe 2002 on Saturday, April 13, in a contest that brought together 27 candidates and was held in Barra de Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro. In second place was Miss Santa Catarina, Thaisa Thomsen, 19 years old (to Miss World), and in third place Miss Pernambuco, Milena Lira, 21 years old (to Miss International). The other runner-ups were Miss Paraná, Kelly Kaniak and Miss Rio de Janeiro, Gisele Leite.
* MISS BULGARIA.- Teodora Burgazlieva, 16, won the ‘Miss Bulgaria 2002’ contest, which was held on Sunday, April 14 at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, with 40 candidates. Burgazlieva received as a prize a “fiat punto” car and her participation in Miss World. As ‘Miss Bulgaria Universe’ was crowned Elena Georgieva Dimitrova, 19, while the 1st runner-up was Desislava Guleva, 18.
* QUEEN OF THE CARNIVAL OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS.- It was held on Sunday, April 14 in St. Thomas and won by Cubie-Ayah George. Traditionally, the winner was sent to Miss World, however, for some unknown reason, she was replaced in Nigeria by Miss St. John, 16-year-old Hailey Cagan.
* MISS ALGERIA.- On Friday, April 26, the election of ‘Miss Algeria for Miss World’ was held with 24 candidates. The winner was Lamia Saoudi, 20, from Oran. As a runner-up was Salima Smail.
* MISS KOREA.- On Sunday, May 19, ‘Miss Korea 2002’ was chosen at the Auditorium of the Sejong Cultural Center. The winner was 19-year-old Na-Na Geum (to Miss Universe 2003) and her runner-ups were Yoo-Kyoung Jang (to Miss World 2002), Yoon-Joo Khi (to Miss International), Jin-Ah Lee, So- Yoon Kim, Jae-Nam Lee, and Yeon-Soo Kim. 64 beauties from all over Korea took part in the pageant.
* MISS NAMIBIA.- It was held on Saturday, June 1 in the capital, Windhoek, and the winner was Ndapewa Alfons (to Miss World’02 and Miss Universe’03). The runner-ups were Christa Engelbrecht and Anja-Mari Nel (also Miss Photogenic).
* MISS COTE D’IVOIRE.- 26 candidates participated in the event held at the Palace of Culture in Treichville (Abidjan suburb), on Saturday, June 1. The winner was Azebian Yannick, a 17-year-old Marketing student from Yopougon, who would go to Miss World 2002. The runner-ups were Bladi Désirée Marie Carine and Sanou Mélanie.
* MISS TAHITI.- On Friday, June 7, at the Beachcomber Intercontinental Hotel in Papeete, the election of ‘Miss Tahiti 2002’ was held. The winner was Rava Maiarii from the Island of Taha’a (to Miss World 2002). The first runner-up was Tahia Balderanis (to Miss International 2002).
* MISS NORTHERN IRELAND.- It was held on Monday, June 10 at the Hotel Europa in Belfast and had the participation of 24 candidates. The winner was Gayle Williamson, from the city of Lurgan, who won the right to go to Miss World. The runner-ups were Stephanie Henning and Jennifer Brown.
* MISS MACEDONIA WORLD.- Jasna Spasovska, 20, from Skopje, won the contest on Friday, June 14th among 15 participants. The runner-up and Miss Photogenic was 18-year-old Maryana Stanoykovska.
* MISS BELARUS.- The Palace of the Republic of the city of Minsk was the venue for the third edition of the contest on Sunday, June 30. The winner was Olga Nevdach, 22, from the city of Drogichin, who prevailed against 16 other competitors. The runner-ups were Natalia Kuemenko and Ekaterina Taran. Olga Sereznikova was Miss Photogenic and Nelly Selitskaya was Miss Charm.
* STAR CYPRUS.- The national beauty contest of Cyprus was held on Thursday, July 4, with 12 beautiful participants. The winner was Ivi Lazarou, 19 years old (to Miss Universe 2003). As ‘Miss Cyprus 2002’ (heading to Miss World) was Angela Drousiotou, 21 years old. María Pelekanou was ‘Miss Mesogeios’ and Valentina Christoforou, ‘Miss Carlberg’. The runner-ups were Melina Iorsanou and Elena Andreou.
* MISS GIBRALTAR.- Damaris Hollands, 21, won the title on Saturday, July 6 at the Queen’s Cinema among 11 candidates. The runner-ups were Natalie Monteverde and Bianca Chiara. Janice Cruz was Miss Photogenic and Ajaishah Williams, Miss Congeniality.
* MISS ARUBA.- Malayka Rasmijn won the title of ‘Miss Universe Aruba 2003’ on Saturday, July 6 at the Allegro Beach Resort & Casino and as such would represent the island in Miss Universe. The runner-ups were Yuraney Toppenberg (who was also voted Miss Friendship), Rachelle Oduber, Vanessa Fraser, and Jerianne Tiel. The Miss Aruba organization reported that it would evaluate each runner-up to determine which of them would represent Aruba in other international competitions. In the end, Rachelle Oduber was sent to Miss World and Jerianne Tiel to Miss International. Twelve candidates participated.
* MISS EGYPT.- Horreya Farghally, 25, became the new ‘Miss Egypt Universe 2003’ on Friday, July 12, at the Sandorini Club in Alexandria, and was also Miss Photogenic among 17 candidates. The runner-ups were Ingie Nour El-Samary and Sarah Nashaat. Ines Gohar, who was one of the semifinalists and who won the Miss Elegance award, was selected to Miss World, however she was only sent to Miss Earth. Horreya resigned from the crown on October 10, due to criticism after her coronation. After resigning, Farghally decided to marry outside the country, so the first runner-up, Ingie Nour El-Samary, attended Miss Universe 2003.
* BEAUTY OF RUSSIA.- On Thursday, July 25, the new Russian beauty queen was chosen at the Circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard in Moscow, with 34 girls. The winner was Anna Tatarintseva, from Nizhny Novgorod, heading to Miss World. The runner-ups were Ekaterina Filimonova, Ksenia Volkova and Elena Zueva.
* MISS UGANDA.- Rehema Nakuya, a 23-year-old Muslim medical student from Mbarara who represented the western region, was crowned on Saturday, August 10 at the Speke Resort Munyonyo as ‘Miss Uganda 2002’, a title that would carry her to Miss World in Nigeria. The runner-ups were Juliet Opio and Connie Nankya. 20 candidates took part in the contest.
* MISS WORLD COLOMBIA.- Natalia Peralta Castro, 21, representative of Antioquia, won the title of ‘Miss World Colombia 2002’ on Saturday, August 10, in Hall 4 of Corferias in Bogotá. The vice-queen was Beatriz Juliana Muñoz, from Valle del Cauca and the first princess, María Fernanda Kergelén, representing Barranquilla. The girls from Cauca (Melina Rodríguez), Medellín (Alexandra Zapata), Atlántico (Flavia Albore) and Cali (Diana Patricia Botero) completed the Top 7. The remaining semifinalists were the young women from Chocó (Angélica Castillo), Magdalena (Heydi Manotas), Bogotá (Jurani Triviño), Casanare (Isabela Balaustre) and Vaupés (Carolina Vaupés). Thirty candidates participated in the event hosted by Venezuelans Daniela Kosán (NBI 1997) and Ernesto Calzadilla (Manhunt Intl ’99).
* MISS HONG KONG.- On Sunday, August 11, the ‘Miss Hong Kong 2002’ contest was held at the Hung Hom Coliseum. The winner was Tiffany Lam Man-Lee, 21 (to Miss Chinese International). The runner-ups were Victoria Jane Jolly, 20 years old (to Miss World) and Cathy Wu Kar-Wai, 19 years old (to Miss International). The remaining runner-ups were Cerina Da Graca and Nikki Chung.
* MISS CAMEROON.- Agathe Pascaline Nomgne won the crown on Sunday, August 11 in Yaoundé. The runner-ups were Diane Ngo Mouaha, Bilkissou Maïmounatou and Mireille Ewo Tegha.
* MISS WORLD OF PUERTO RICO.- The representative of Guaynabo, Casandra Polo, won the crown of ‘Miss World of Puerto Rico 2002’ on Thursday night, August 15, in an event held at the Centro de Bellas Artes de San Juan among 46 girls. The runner-ups were Rosalem Ramos (Aguadilla), Ingrid Marie Rivera (Barranquitas), Vanessa Claudio (Caguas), and Luz Iraida Morales (Lares). Among the ten semifinalists were Yuliana Vargas (Cabo Rojo), Jazmín Rivera (Luquillo), Griselle Rivera (San Juan), Evelyn Santiago (San Lorenzo) and Liany Hidalgo (Moca). Precisely, the delegate from Moca could not go out to answer the judge’s question, because she fainted behind the scenes and had to be treated in an emergency. Miss World 2001, Nigerian Agbani Darego, crowned the new queen. The contest was organized and hosted by the former Miss Puerto Rico, Desirée Lowry and Luis Vigoreaux (junior).
* MISS HUNGARY WORLD.- Miss Renata Rosz, 21, won the crown of ‘Miss Hungary World 2002’ on Monday, August 19. The runner-ups were Zsuzsanna Laky and Veronika Orban.
* MISS CANADA INTERNATIONAL.- Miss Ottawa, Lynsey Bennett, defeated 24 other competitors in Mississauga on Saturday, August 24, crowning herself as ‘Miss Canada International 2003’ and winning her pass to Miss World 2002. The first runner-up was Lorenza Sammarelli from Vancouver.
* MISS BOLIVIA.- At the Portales hotel in Cochabamba, a judges chose Irene Aguilera as Miss Bolivia Universe on Friday, August 30, among 18 girls. For the ninth consecutive year, Santa Cruz achieved the crown of the most beautiful woman in the country. Irene thus repeated the triumph of her mother, Alicia Vargas, in 1972. As Miss Bolivia World, Alejandra Montero, Miss Beni, was crowned; and Miss Bolivia International was Miss Litoral, Carla Ameller. The runner-ups were Susana Vaca Díez, Señorita Litoral; Esther Pacheco, Miss Cochabamba; Paola Andrea Arteaga, Miss Cochabamba; and Glenda Marañón, Miss Tarija.
* SUOMEN NEITO.- On Saturday, August 31, the contest was held to choose the Finnish candidate for Miss World. The winner was Hanne Hynynen, while the runner-ups were Tiia Kokko (also Miss Press) and Kiira Hirvonen.
* MISS JAMAICA WORLD.- Danielle O’Hayon won the title of ‘Miss Jamaica World 2002’ on Saturday, August 31st. O’Hayon also won the Best Smile award. Natalia Casado was chosen as ‘Miss Jamaica International 2002’ and Leanna Prendergast as ‘Miss Jamaica Caribbean 2002’. The other two runner-ups were Melissa Roche and Thersa Lindo.
* MISS VENEZUELA WORLD.- In a show that was about to be ruined by a presidential chain of Chávez, the beautiful Goizeder Victoria Azúa Barrios, Miss Carabobo, was proclaimed on Saturday, August 31 as the new ‘Miss Venezuela World 2002’. The audience that was in Venevisión’s Studio 1 witnessed how this beautiful 18-year-old girl, born in San Felipe on February 23, 1984 and a 4th Semester student of Industrial Relations at the University of Carabobo, was taking everything, even being “the bump” of the night, something that caused rejoicing among her colleagues and the public present. Goizeder, of Basque grandparents, also won the awards for Miss Sympathy (elected by her companions), Miss Personality and Best Catwalk. Other winners on the same night were Miss Amazonas, Aida Yéspica (Best Skin); Miss Portuguesa, María Fernanda León (Best Face); Miss Capital District, Amara Barroeta (Best Figure); Miss Vargas, María Andreína Abrahamz (Best Hair) and Miss Yaracuy, Vanessa Fanesi (Miss Smile).
* MISS MALAYSIA WORLD.- It was held on Friday, September 6 at the Renaissance hotel in Kuala Lumpur, with 20 candidates. The winner was Mabel Ng Chin Mei, 24, from Penang. The runner-ups were Audrey Chong, Michelle Hon, and Dennapa Ung.
* MISS PANAMA 2002.- Stefanie De Roux was chosen as Miss Panama for Miss Universe 2003 among 14 contestants, on Friday, September 6 at the Vasco Núñez de Balboa Convention Center, Hotel El Panamá. Meanwhile, Yoselin Sánchez was selected as the national representative for Miss World. The runner-ups were Yanela De Sedas, Nelda Sánchez and María Isabel Arias.
* NUESTRA BELLEZA MEXICO.- Marisol González Casas, representative of Torreón, Coahuila, was elected on Friday, September 6 ‘Nuestra Belleza México 2002’ (heading to Miss Universe 2003) and was crowned by Christiane Magnani de Alemán, Miss Universe 1953. As substitute, the representative of Morelos, Paulina Almada Rojas, was appointed, while a woman from Puebla, Blanca Zumárraga Contreras, was selected to go to Miss World 2002. The third place went to Ericka Holstein García, from Hermosillo, Sonora and María José Rosado, from Yucatán, ranked fourth. The final of the contest took place at the World Trade Center, in Boca del Río, Veracruz and had 33 contestants.
* MISS NEW ZEALAND WORLD.- The event was won by Rachel Huljich from the city of Auckland, among 19 candidates, on Saturday, September 7. The runner-ups were Emmalene Miller and Carlene Kelso. Huljich told the press that despite the call for a boycott, she would go to Miss World in Nigeria.
* MISS TANZANIA.- Angela Damas was crowned on Saturday, September 7, among 24 candidates, heading for Miss World. The runner-ups were Mbiki Msumi, Mecline Mdoe, Regina Mosha and Najma Sadri.
* MISS GUYANA WORLD.- Odessa Phillips won the title on Saturday, September 7 at the National Center of Culture. The runner-ups were Maliza Waltzon, Marita Persaud, Candida Telles and Danielle McIntyre.
* MISS GHANA.-Shaida Buari, 20, from the Western region, won the crown at the Accra National Theater on Saturday, September 14, among 15 girls. The runner-ups were Sandra Ankobiah and Berverly Asamoah Jecty. Hamza Sahadatu Sename was ‘Miss Personality’ and Sheila Chanase was ‘Miss Eloquence’.
* MISS SWITZERLAND- The final was held in Neuchatel on Saturday, September 14 and the winner was Nadine Vinzens, 19 years old and 1.69 m tall, from Chur, who was also chosen ‘Miss Photogenic’, for which she obtained the pass to Miss World 2002 and Miss Universe 2003. The runner-ups were Claudia Oehler and Pamela Trincado. The honor roll was completed by Eleonor Heiz, Nathalie Turin and Emilie Boiron.
* MISS SLOVENIA.- Natasa Krajnc won on Sunday, September 15 the right to represent Slovenia in Miss World 2002, at the Linhart Hall in Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana. Her runner-ups were Tina Vajzovic (who was also Miss Internet) and Patricija Zalar. As Miss Photogenic was Petra Ferk.
* MISS KAZAKHSTAN.- Olga Sidorenko, from the city of Shymkent, won the national crown on Wednesday, September 18 for Miss World. The event was held at the Palace of the Republic in Almaty and had 30 candidates. The runner-ups were Zhazira Karzhauyl, Ira Alimkulova and Marina Egoraeva.
* MISS MALTESE ISLANDS.- Twenty-five candidates competed for the title on Saturday, September 21 at the New Dolmen Hotel in Valetta. The winner was Joyce Gatt, 18, from the city of Marsa, on her way to Miss World. The runner-ups were Roberta Seychell and Melanie Mallia.
* MISS BARBADOS WORLD.- Natalie Webb-Howell won, among 9 beauties, on Saturday, September 21 at the Sherbourne Conference Center. The runner-ups were Dionne Whittaker, Nadia Joseph and Cynthia Hercules..
* MISS VIETNAM.- 17-year-old Pham Thi Mai Phuong won the ‘Miss Vietnam 2002’ contest in Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday, September 22, the first to be officially recognized by the communist government of that country. The young woman earned the equivalent of $ 3,225 and beat 3,000 other entrants.
* MISS BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA.- Danijela Vins, a native of Zenica, won the Bosnian beauty title for Miss World on Sunday, September 22. The runner-ups were Selma Sejtanic and Dragana Sojic. For her part, Ajla Dzafic was Miss Photogenic while Miss Media was Adrijana Gavric. Branka Cvijanovic would go to Miss Europe.
* MISS WORLD ITALY.- On Sunday, September 22, in Ostia Lido, Rome, the Italian representative for Miss World 2002 was chosen. The winner, who was crowned by Miss World 2001, the Nigerian Agbani Darego, was Pamela Camassa, Miss Toscana, 18 years old, from the city of Prato. The first runner-up was Susanne Zuber, 19, from the city of Merano.
* MISS ENGLAND.- Daniella Luan, a 21-year-old student of Human Biology at Oxford Brookes University, won the title of ‘Miss England 2002’ on Thursday, September 26, in an event held at the Liverpool Olympia with 24 candidates. The runner-ups were 16-year-old Jayne Earl from the city of Liverpool and Lucy Stone from London.
* MISS WORLD KENYA.- Marianne Kariuki, 18 years old, won the title of ‘Miss World Kenya 2002’ on Thursday, September 26, at the Carnivore restaurant in Nairobi. She had been 1st. runner-up of the ‘Miss Universe Kenya 2002’. 16 candidates participated.
* NEW SILK ROAD MODEL LOOK CHINA.- The ‘New Silk Road’ modeling event was held in Sanya, China on Saturday, September 28. As China’s representative to Miss World, Ying-Na Wu from Hainan was selected, while the winners of the ‘New Silk Road’ were Huang Zhi Wei and Du Juan.
* MISS YUGOSLAVIA.- Ana Sargic, 19 years old, won the title of ‘Miss Yugoslavia 2002’ on Thursday, October 3, on the way to Miss World. The runner-ups were Sanja Papic (to Miss Universe ’03), Olga Bozovic (to Miss Europe ’02), Katarina Vucetic (to Miss Earth ’03) and Andja Ratko Budimir (to Miss International ’03). 30 candidates participated.
* MISS IRELAND.- Lynda Duffy, a 22-year-old Marine Science student from Galway City, defeated 26 other contenders for the title of ‘Miss Ireland’ on Friday, October 4 at the South Court Hotel in Limerick City , earning her pass to Miss World. As the representative for Miss Universe 2003 was chosen Lesley Flood, from Limerick. The runner-ups were Niamh Russell (also Miss Photogenic) and Yvonne Moore. Claire Brennan won Miss Popularity. In the judges was the ex-Miss World, Diana Hayden.
* MISS & MR. CROATIA WORLD.- It was held on Saturday, October 5 and the winner was Nina Slamic. The runner-ups were Ivana Cernok (to Miss Europe) and Adrijana Nagalo. For his part, Bojan Milohanovic won ‘Mister Croatia’ and the runner-ups were Slaven Macan and Igor Samukic.
* MISS SCOTLAND.- Dr. Paula Murphy, 24, from Stirling, won the title of ‘Sun Miss Scotland 2002’ at the Lomond Auditorium in Glasgow, in early October, on her way to Miss World.
* MISS FRANCE WORLD.- Caroline Chamorand, representative of Hauts-de-Seine, won the ‘Miss France World 2002’ contest on Thursday, October 10. The runner-ups were the candidates from Reunion, Ile de France and the French West Indies.
* MISS AUSTRALIA WORLD.- On Friday, October 11, the Australian representative for Miss World 2002 was chosen. The winner was Nicole-Rita Gazal, 23 years old, who was Miss Beirut and second runner-up of Miss Lebanon 1999. The contest was held in Star City.
* MISS POLAND.- Marta Matyjasik, 20, from Zgorzelec, won the crown on Saturday, October 12 at the Musical Theater of Gdynia, among 30 candidates. Matyjasik thus won the right to go to Miss World 2002. The runner-ups were Iwona Makuch and Renata Kamoda. Anna Moszczynska was Miss Photogenic.
* MISS SINGAPORE WORLD.- Sharon Cintamani won a casting on Sunday, October 13, in a closed-door event, to represent her country in Miss World 2002.
* MISS THAILAND WORLD.- Ticha Luengpairoj, 21, a student of Industrial Psychology at Thammasat University, won the title of ‘Miss Thailand World 2002’ on Thursday, October 17, and as such, obtained the right to represent the earth of the smile in Miss World. The first runner-up was Kullaya Duangmanee and the second runner-up was Patchaluck Tawaythikul.
* MISS URUGUAY WORLD.- On Thursday, October 17, the new ‘Miss Uruguay World 2002’ was elected. The winner was Natalia Figueras Cabeza, who prevailed against 18 other candidates. Her runner-up was Karen Kloss (to Miss Latin America 2002). The contest was organized by Mister World 2000, the Uruguayan Ignacio Kliche, who took over the franchise starting this year.
* MISS WORLD TRINIDAD & TOBAGO.- Janelle Denice Rajnauth, 21, won the contest held at the Hilton Trinidad Hotel in Port of Spain on Sunday, October 20. The runner-ups were Marsha Seereeram (to Miss Tourism World), Martha Jillyan Arthur (Miss Millionaire T&T), Tiva Lee Samaroo (to Miss Caraibes Hibiscus) and Reshma Soodeen (Miss Carnival T&T), who also won the awards for Miss Photogenic and Best in Evening dress. For her part, Ginelle Nelson won the award for Best Hair.
* MISS WALES.- On Monday, October 21, the election of ‘Miss Wales 2002’ was held, an event that had the participation of 10 candidates. The winner was the Cardiff representative Michelle Bush, a 22-year-old chiropractic student, who entered the competition at the request of her boyfriend. The runner-ups were Michelle Sheehan from Swansey and Nia Davies from Crynant.
* MISS ZIMBABWE.- On Saturday, October 26, the new ‘Miss Zimbabwe’ was elected. The winner was 20-year-old Linda Van Beek, one of three contestants from the city of Harare, heading for Miss World 2002. The runner-ups were Phoebe Monjane from Harare and Fiona Muchenje from Bulawayo. Derleen Soma, from Mutare, was Miss Personality. Linda Van Beek prevailed against 15 other runner-ups, although curiously she did not win the contest in the capital city, being the first runner-up in that local event.
* MISS MOROCCO.- Doja Lahlou, 18, from Fez, won the title of ‘Miss Morocco 2002’ on Saturday, October 26, which was renamed ‘The Atlas Gazelle’. The election was held in secret due to threats from fundamentalists and pressure received by groups that opposed such events in Morocco despite the fact that the participants did not parade in swimsuits. Doja had been a runner-up in the first edition of ‘Miss Casablanca’ in July. In fact, one of the participants, the representative of Larache, could not attend the event due to the brutal beating that her brother gave her, which caused her jaw fracture and the loss of two teeth.
* MISS WORLD CHILE.- Daniela Casanova Muller, representative of Valparaíso, obtained on Saturday, October 26 the title of ‘Miss World Chile 2002’ at the El Rosal de Santa María Events Center, Santiago. The runner-ups were Alejandra Soler from Coquimbo and María José Tauler from Biobío, while the semifinalists were the girls from Libertador O’Higgings, Constanza Lathrop; Los Lagos, María Trinidad Alliende; Magallanes, Paola Mattioni; and Metropolitan Region, Valerie Biaggi. Miss Sympathy was Miss Aysén, Constantza Niklitschek, and Miss Photogenic, the Atacama candidate, Daniela Geisse. For her part, María Jesús de la Cuadra, from Antofagasta, was Miss Internet and Miss Magallanes, Paola Mattioni, Miss Popular. 14 young people participated. After distancing herself from former Miss Chile Daniella Campos, designer Millaray Palma continued the franchise with event producer Tomás Cox.
* MISS NEDERLAND.-Miss Zuid-Holland, Elise Maria Boulogne, a 22-year-old clothing seller, won the title of ‘Miss Nederland 2002’ in Aalsmer on Sunday, October 27. The runner-ups were Miss Flevoland, Saskia Van Der Molen; and Miss Friesland, Nadine De Vries. Elise, who also participated in the Miss Holland Universe that year without success, was the center of a controversy when the press published that the organizers of her local pageant imposed her and not on the brunette chosen by the judges.
* MISS ROMANIA WORLD.- On Monday, November 11, the last candidate for Miss World 2002 was elected in Bucharest, among 38 local candidates. The winner turned out to be Cleopatra Popescu, 23, from the city of Sibiu, who had to make an emergency trip to Nigeria the next day as she was already late.
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE UNITED STATES.-
Rebekah Revels, 24, of St. Pauls, Robeson County, won the Miss North Carolina crown on Saturday, June 22, but was forced to give up the title on Tuesday, July 23 after the pageant of Miss America received an email stating that there were topless photos of her. Revels told contest officials that the email came from an ex-boyfriend. “It is not Rebekah Revels’s wish that my personal life, or the physically and emotionally abusive relationship I was once a part of, be used to bring some degree of reproach about an event that I truly admire”, Revels said. She added that she hoped her case would help other women “who might find themselves in the same situation and who would be motivated to seek help, like me, to dissolve a volatile and potentially harmful relationship.” After Revels was forced to resign, she sought to claim her crown after the Miss North Carolina Organization signed a contract with first runner-up, Misty Dawn Clymer. A judge temporarily reinstated Rebekah Revels as Miss North Carolina on August 31, until a court determined who would represent that state in the Miss America pageant. A state judge’s ruling barred the Miss North Carolina organization from recognizing both Misses. Local pageant officials said Revels had voluntarily resigned after she was informed that her contract could end if photos of her were deemed immoral. Revels sued, she lost her court battle, and was unable to compete in the Miss America pageant. Misty Clymer, the first runner-up, assumed the title.
However, on Sunday October 27, Revels was selected to represent the United States in the Miss World pageant at a press conference held at Fuller’s Old Fashion Bar-BQ in Lumberton, North Carolina. “I am grateful for the opportunity to represent my state and my country at Miss World, the most glamorous and prestigious pageant in the world,” Revels said. “We are delighted to have selected Rebekah as the first winner of our new franchise,” said Jean Renard, CEO of Miss World Holdings Inc., which had recently won the United States license for Miss World. Attorney Barry Nakell announced the news to Revels’ friends, fans, and family, including the Lumbee Indians, who were delighted with the fact that one of their own would be the first Native American to represent the United States in the Miss World competition. “The loss of America is the gain of the world,” Nakell said. As a US representative, Revels would make appearances across the US and host the first ‘Miss World America’ pageant, which would select a contestant for 2003.
RESIGNATION OF MISS GERMANY.-
“Miss Germany is capable of great things,” said her lawyer, “and is willing to terminate her contract to prove it.” German gossip magazines were on edge on Wednesday, August 21 with the announcement that Miss Germany, Katrin Wrobel, a 24-year-old Berlin resident, had canceled her contract with the ‘Miss Germany Corporation’. The decision was made a few months before Wrobel competed in the Miss World pageant and stumped event organizers. “We have never had a case like this in 42 years,” said Ralf Klemmer, director of ‘Miss Germany Corporation’. “If she wants to give up the crown, the first runner-up (Simone Wolf-Reinfurt) will replace her”, he added. But Klemmer said he hoped a face-to-face conversation with Wrobel would clear things up before the competition in Nigeria. Focusing on her career, the tall, natural Berlin beauty had already made ‘noise’ indicating that she was unhappy with her obligations.
In February, a month after winning, she told the newspapers that she was not going to Miss World. Wrobel, who after winning signed a one-year contract to work on a German television show, said her career was much more important, which is why the former dental assistant wanted to terminate the contract. Her lawyer, Christian Schertz, told Reuters on Monday, September 2, that it was “immoral”. The contract required the winner of the pageant to appear at countless events and prohibited her from marrying or posing nude in the year she held the crown, though he claimed there were no plans for Wrobel to pose nude or marry. The main reason Wrobel was resigning was her dissatisfaction with the way the organization ran it. “Wrobel does not meet the usual cliché of a typical Miss Germany”, Schertz said. “She has the personality, the aura, and the talent” to work professionally as a model or television host. With her participation in the “Wheel of Fortune” program, an excuse to resign, Wrobel was looking for new opportunities in her life. On Saturday, August 31, it was confirmed that the 1st. runner-up, Simone Wulf-Reinfurt, 20, from Darmstadt, would then be the German representative in Miss World 2002.
On Saturday, August 24, it was reported that Marina Mora, Peruvian representative to Miss World 2002, could lose her crown for running as a candidate for the Council of the La Libertad region on behalf of the official party ‘Peru Posible’. The risk is due to the fact that the Miss World organization, to which the Miss Peru World contest is affiliated, expressly prohibits queens from participating in politics. The manager of Miss Peru World, Jéssica Newton, contacted Julia Morley to make an exception and allow Mora to run her campaign without losing the crown. On Saturday, August 31, it was learned that Marina had obtained the approval of the Miss World organization in London so that she could represent Peru despite her foray into politics. On the other hand, According to a story published in a Bahamian newspaper on Saturday, August 24, the holder of the Miss World franchise for the Bahamas had removed T´Shura Ambrose, Miss Bahamas World 2002. According to Byron Collie-Austin, Miss Ambrose had been dethroned for not cooperating, breaking rules and having a “negative attitude”. But, Miss Bahamas World organizer Oswald Ellis said the franchisor had no say over its organization and announced that Miss Ambrose was officially entered in Miss World.
The recently chosen Miss Canada International, Lynsey Bennett, who was about to represent her country in Miss World 2002, was recriminated by the former organizer of the Miss Ottawa pageant, who asked her to renounce her regional title in favor of the 1st. runner-up, Yolaine Grant. According to Michelle Morin, who until July 30 presided over the regional contest, the event won by Bennett in Ottawa had certain irregularities. In addition, according to her, having won the national title made it impossible for her to fulfill her obligations as Miss Ottawa. But the Miss Ottawa organizer downplayed Morin’s threats, which she called an internal affair between a former employee and the organization. On the other hand, Miss Bulgaria, Teodora Burgazlieva, lost the right to go to Nigeria when it was discovered that she had posed nude for the magazine ‘Club M’ before winning her national title, so they would send first runner-up Desislava Guleva to Miss World. However, Burgazlieva kept her crown. In September, Miss Iceland, Sólveig Zophoníasdóttir, was dethroned when it was discovered that she had posed nude for Playboy magazine. But none of the runner-ups accepted the crown for different reasons and due to disagreements with the winner’s contract, so the organizer, former Miss World Linda Petursdóttir, appointed Eyrun Steinsson (Best Face of the contest) as the representative of Iceland to Miss World 2002. On Wednesday, October 30, Pamela Camassa renounced her crown of ‘Miss World Italy 2002’ because “she preferred to continue leading a normal life”. In her place was the first runner-up of the pageant, Susanne Zuber, who would then go to Miss World in Nigeria. On the other hand, Sri Lanka had originally enrolled the young Sabrina Clements, but, without knowing the reasons, she was later replaced by Nilusha Gamage, who had competed in Miss Asia Pacific 2001.
Miss Cameroon, Agathe Pascaline Nomgne, was dismissed from her title on Monday, September 9 for not fulfilling the obligations of the reign. In her place, the first runner-up took over, Diane Ngo Mouaha, 20, a native of Litoral, who would be sent to Miss World ’02 and Miss Universe ’03. And, due to the civil war in Liberia, the national contest had to move to the US, where the event was held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, in Philadelphia, among 10 Liberian residents, on Friday, July 26 (Liberia’s independence day). The organization wanted to send the winner, Marcia Cooper, a Minneapolis resident, to Miss World. But her participation was not accepted by Julia Morley because she did not reside in Liberia, despite being Liberian.
DID NOT COMPETE:
TWO SURGERIES WERE MADE.-
The tip of her unconventional nose received an insignificant touch-up and her bust swelled, but not until the land of 36-C: “I just had nothing,” Goizeder Azúa, the 18-year-old Venezuelan model, justified with a touch of modesty of age and Lasallian formation, pointing to her chest. “Now I wear the same bra size, but without padding”. Although after being chosen to participate in Miss World the “no” to the surgering room was a point of honor, now she exhibits a more flexible position: “I no longer represent a state, but a nation, and I must work together with the Miss Venezuela Organization. Today even men have surgery, as much as women. I still have a bust according to my physiognomy, without exuberance or vulgarity”.
Somewhat detached from the material, Azúa said before going to Nigeria that she had not learned any special makeup or hairstyle tricks (at Miss World she would not have helpers to fix herself). She did not memorize any question and answer questionnaire, “because in a month I will not learn what I did not learn in my 18 years of life; the education my parents gave me is enough”. Nor would she travel with some favorite talisman, stamp, compact disc or teddy bear: “Only with my values and the love of my family”. “I would be lying if I said that I identify myself with any of the Venezuelan misses of recent years,” Azúa admitted. “I want to have a simple style, nothing fancy, but at the same time elegant and glamorous”. The Venezuelan practiced a rhythmic gymnastics routine with the ribbon and the clubs, that she would teach the Miss World judges. With the microphone turned off, she confesses feeling some concern in front of the press “because sometimes they publish things that are not true, and they want me to master a lot of knowledge, but I’m only 18 years old”.
Regarding the issue of Amina Lawal, the Yaracuyan girl raised in Valencia stresses that she never hesitated about her position in this controversy: “You have to have a worldview of things. There is not a single Amina Lawal. In many countries there is mistreatment of women and human beings in general, including Venezuela. If the participants do not compete in Miss World, in two months everyone will forget Amina. It is a unique opportunity to bring an opening message to Nigeria”. Without makeup, her beauty was unimpressive, but behind her Basque name and plump nose there seemed to be a soul with autonomy. “I am not going to Nigeria to drink it with soda. The objective is to win”, she said. Perhaps she would repeat in Abuja the feat of Miss Venezuela Mundo 2002: to build a victory emerging from the underground floors, not because she was the most spectacular candidate, but the least dissonant with common sense.
THE CANDIDATES TO MISS WORLD ARE WARNED.-
Nigeria, host country of Miss World 2002, warned beauty queens to avoid parts of the country where ‘Sharia’, or Islamic law, is applied, a local newspaper reported on Sunday, August 11. Culture and Tourism Minister Boma Bromillow-Jack said organizers were warned to stay away from the dozen Nigerian states that adopted ‘Sharia’ after Muslim groups threatened to disrupt the contest. “We have told the people (the organizers) not to allow the young ladies to go to Zamfara and other ‘Sharia’ states because of the risks involved”, the minister told reporters on Friday, August 9, according to the Vanguard newspaper. The pageant was scheduled for November 30 in the capital, Abuja, which was not subject to Islamic law. Government officials were not available for comment. Muslim groups in Nigeria had denounced the contest as immoral and had said they would prevent it from taking place, but did not threaten any specific action. They were particularly outraged by the competition’s swimwear round.
Islamic law prescribes severe punishments such as spanking for Muslim women who expose too much meat in public, amputations for theft, and death sentences for adultery. The Muslim-majority ‘Sharia’ courts in northern Nigeria had sentenced at least two women to death by stoning for having sex outside of marriage. A Muslim appeals court would decide on August 19 whether to overturn the latest sentence, handed down to 30-year-old Amina Lawal. The first woman, Safiya Hussaini, had her sentence overturned in March by a similar court. But Greg Upton, who distributed the television rights to the contest, said the contest would continue despite concerns.
“All objections have been discussed and the girls will be accompanied very carefully,” he said. “To be honest, I’m not really sure about the religious leanings in Nigeria, so I can’t comment on that, but we will find a suitable venue that doesn’t cause any sensitivities anywhere”. British Miss World organizers were in Abuja to find the right venue, Upton said. He added that the pageant would offer hope in a country where women were often forced into prostitution and where human trafficking was rampant. “Suddenly, the world sees Nigeria as a place where there are beautiful women. I think Nigeria is finally on the world map in a positive way”, said Guy Murray-Bruce, organizer of ‘The Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria’. The US State Department renewed its warning to US citizens not to travel to Nigeria citing violent crimes and ongoing ethnic and religious conflicts, some sparked by the introduction of ‘Sharia’. Thousands of people had died in bloody conflicts across the country since President Olusegun Obasanjo was elected in 1999, ending 16 years of military rule. The Miss World pageant was scheduled to take place over three days in London, then the delegates would travel to Nigeria for photo shoots and other activities before the finals.
CHANGE IN THE VENUE OF MISS WORLD.-
The Miss World contest moved its venue from Abuja Stadium to the International Conference Center, with a capacity for 4,000 people, said the president of the contest, Julia Morley, on Monday, August 12. The move was due to the fact that the stadium was possibly not ready for the date when the more than 100 contestants arrive in Nigeria that year.
THEY DON’T WANT THE COMPETITION IN NIGERIA.-
The ‘Jama’atul Muslimeen Sokoto’ Society had scoffed at the pageant and said that holding the event in Nigeria could not be justified even if it took place outside of Ramadan. Dahiru Muhammad Argungu, head of the group, said in a statement: “The beauty pageant is not only abhorrent and disgusting, it is also a mockery of the conscience of the nation as Nigerians are known to be committed religious people”. And he added: “A beauty pageant is nothing more than a parade of naked women that goes against the norms of all religions, societies and morally civilized cultures, since it has great potential to generate promiscuity”.
The National Council of Muslim Youth (NACOMYO) promised to discontinue the contest. In a statement by its national president, Alhaji Ishaq Kunle Sanni, he condemned “in strong terms” the proposal to organize Miss World in Nigeria by federal government agencies. “We cannot imagine what benefit the nation would get, in a spectacle in which the nakedness of women is exhibited with utter recklessness and all kinds of immoralities come its way”. The organization said Nigeria was wasting millions of naira organizing a beauty pageant when “back wages are owed to police and civil servants”. “It also shows insensitivity on the part of the government to the feelings of the Muslims who constitute the majority in this country for the display of shame that will be organized during the fasting period of Ramadan”, he said. Nigeria’s population is roughly half Christian and half Muslim, and until 1999 the groups had largely lived in peace with each other. But after the country’s return to civil rule, a dozen mainly Muslim northern states reintroduced the Islamic code of law ‘Sharia’, despite an order from the federal government not to do so. Since then, thousands of people from both communities have died in sectarian unrest.
MUSLIMS ASK TO CHANGE THE DATE OF MISS WORLD.-
On Friday, August 23, an Islamic group from Nigeria formally requested the government of that country to desist from the idea of celebrating Miss World in November because for them it was a holy month, since they celebrated Ramadan and most of the Northern Nigerian states practice Islamic ‘Sharia’. Finally, on Thursday, October 3, Nigeria reported that it postponed the Miss World until after the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and bowed to Muslim objections and some threats to interrupt the contest. In a statement, Nigerian First Lady Stella Obasanjo said the pageant would take place on December 7 in Abuja, the day after the Muslim fasting month ended out of “genuine consideration for our Muslim brothers and sisters”. The pageant was originally scheduled for November 30. The previous week, the Supreme National Council for Islamic Affairs accused the organizers of the contest of callousness and called on the government to cancel the contest, calling it a “shame display contest.” It was unclear if the new date would stop protests by Muslim groups.
‘MISS WORLD, AFTER THEY WERE FAMOUS’.-
At the end of August, a special program called “Miss World, After They Were Famous” was broadcast on ITV2 with seven former Miss World, who told anecdotes of their reigns and what they did after giving up their crowns. In this special, Lesley Langley (Miss World 1965 from the United Kingdom), Mary Stavin (Miss World 1977 from Sweden), Wilnelia Merced (Miss World 1975 from Puerto Rico), Kimberly Santos (Miss World 1980 from Guam), Reita Faria ( Miss World 1966 from India), Helen Morgan (Miss World 1974 from the United Kingdom) and Cindy Breakspeare (Miss World 1976 from Jamaica) were interviewed.
THE CASE OF AMINA LAWAL.-
In March 2002, an Islamic ‘Sharia’ court in Funtua, Katsina State, northern Nigeria sentenced a 29-year-old Nigerian woman named Amina Lawal to death by stoning for adultery, for conceiving a child outside of marriage. ‘Baobab for Women’s Human Rights’, a Nigerian-based NGO, took up her case, which was defended by lawyers trained in both secular and ‘Sharia’ law. Amina’s attorneys included Hauwa Ibrahim, a leading human rights lawyer known for her pro bono action against people convicted of Sharia. The affair uncovered civil and religious tensions between the Christian and Muslim regions of Nigeria. The ruling also sparked outrage in the West, and several campaigns were launched with the purpose of convincing the Nigerian Government to revoke the sentence.
In northern Nigeria, an Islamic court on Monday dismissed an appeal from Amina, the woman sentenced to death by stoning under the ‘Sharia’ for having had sex outside of marriage. Amina Lawal would be executed in January 2004 once her 8-month-old baby Walisa is weaned. Amina had her after more than nine months of divorcing her husband. It was the second case of a woman facing a possible death sentence in the Muslim Islamic court, but the first appeal was unsuccessful. In March, an appeals court acquitted Safiyah Hussaini Tungar-Tudu after the European Union launched a global appeal for clemency. Hussaini spent six months sentenced to death for adultery until a higher ‘Sharia’ court reversed her conviction in March. The man with whom she conceived a daughter, Adama, aged one, was already married to two wives. Husaini’s father asked him if he was willing to add her to his harem or, in the worst case, contribute to the maintenance of the baby. The man refused and went to the police, who sent the case to the ‘Sharia’ court. Although he had confessed to Husaini’s family, in the presence of two policemen, that he had indeed had sexual relations with Husaini, the court allowed him to retract this confession. He went free while Husaini was ordered to be stoned. For their part, Lawal’s lawyers were seeking an appeal at Nigeria’s highest court, but if they failed, she could become the first Nigerian to be stoned to death since 12 northern states reintroduced ‘Sharia’ in 2000.
The introduction of ‘Sharia’ had left Nigeria in a state of confusion with more than 3,000 people killed in clashes between Muslims and Christians in the last three years. President Olusegun Obasanjo had expressed his condolences but decided not to intervene in the case, saying that he was confident that the appeal process would result in the case being dismissed. “I don’t think what is happening will lead to her death”, Obasanjo told reporters. “In fact, if he does, which I highly doubt, I will cry for myself, I will cry for Amina and I will cry for Nigeria”. Human rights defenders wished he had mustered the courage not to speak in parables, but to declare frankly that he would exercise his presidential prerogative to prevent the execution from going ahead.
Obasanjo’s attorney general, Kanu Agabi, had declared that the incorporation of ‘Sharia’ into the criminal codes of the 12 northern states was “unconstitutional” and “discriminatory”. If Lawal’s appeals failed, Agabi said, her case would go before the Nigerian supreme court to serve as evidence of the 1999 constitution, which was the foundation of Nigerian democracy. But the horror of Lawal’s sentence was indescribable. How could a civilized nation condone such punishment? How could their civil authorities stand by and watch a young mother be imprisoned until it is no longer necessary to breastfeed her baby and then dragged into a plaza, buried in sand up to her chest and stoned to death? How could the women of the world bear that?…
WARNING OF POSSIBLE FRAUD.-
In mid-September, Nigerian promoters of the contest had warned that fraudulent persons were posing as agents of the event. “We wish to alert the public to the activities of various fraud networks posing as accredited agents of Silverbird Productions”.
NIGERIA’S FIRST LADY’S CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION SPONSORS MISS WORLD.-
Nigeria’s first lady said on Friday, October 5, that her UN-funded charity for orphans and abused children would help pay the bill for the Miss World pageant to be held in the Nigerian capital in December, a newspaper reported. Nigerian First Lady Stella Obasanjo told reporters that her charity, ‘Child Care Trust’, which was supported by UNICEF, UNESCO and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, would pay for the contest, along with with Nigerian promoters Silver Bird Productions and the Governor of Rivers State, The Guardian newspaper reported.
CHRONOLOGY OF THE BOYCOTT TO MISS WORLD.-
The staging of the Miss World competition in Nigeria was in doubt after several contestants threatened to withdraw in protest of an Islamic court’s decision that a single mother should be stoned to death. Lawal was the second woman sentenced to death by stoning in Nigeria that year, and on August 19 she had become the first to lose her appeal. But Nasir Lawal Bello, one of the judges who convicted Ms Lawal in March, and Aliyu Abdullahi, one of the four judges who rejected her appeal, failed the ‘Sharia’ law commission test in 1999. It was doubtful whether the disclosure would help Ms. Lawal’s next appeal to the Supreme Court, for which she had been awarded government attorneys. The secretary of state of the judicial services commission, Bashir Audi Kankara, said that the detection exercise had flaws and that this had not been taken into account. Some candidates who would participate in the contest pledged to boycott it, while others expressed concern for their safety due to Islamic groups planning to disrupt the event. President Olusegun Obasanjo could commute Lawal’s sentence if she lost her appeal, but had not mentioned plans to do so. The threat of the candidates could provoke him to act. Here is a chronology of the events:
– On Saturday, August 24, Miss Norway, Katrine Sorland, was the first contestant to threaten to boycott the Miss World contest in Nigeria in defense of Amina Lawal and also due to the mistreatment suffered by women in that country as well as the brutal penalties they faced due to Nigerian religious policies. According to the organizer of the Miss Norway pageant, the Miss World organization had to move the venue of the pageant to another country. Sorland referred to Lawal’s sentence as “absolutely disgusting.”
– On Sunday August 25, Miss Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Yannick Azebian, said: “I will not go to Nigeria and I hope my decision will help save Amina Lawal.” For her part, Miss Togo, Sandrine Agbopke, said: “Stoning this woman is not right. The authorities and the whole of society should rise up to put an end to this kind of practice.” Canceling the contest would be a severe blow to the pride of the West African nation.
– A spokesperson for the ‘Miss World Kenya’ organization said on Monday, August 26, that her Miss would boycott the Miss World pageant in Nigeria this year if the country upheld an Islamic court’s decision that a woman should be stoned to death for having a child out of wedlock. “There is no point in sending our participant if Lawal is executed, because the world would think that we are supporting wrongful executions,” said Miss World Kenya Coordinator Leakey Odera.
– “I hope from the bottom of my heart that this poor woman will be acquitted by another court before the Miss World pageant,” 23-year-old Miss Denmark Masja Juel said Tuesday, August 27. Miss Spain, Lola Alcocer, said: “The stoning sentence is inhuman and has no place in these times”. Miss Sweden, Sophia Hedmark, 20, still planned to attend, despite her misgivings. “I plan to protest the ruling in interviews with journalists,” she said. A spokesperson for the Miss Nederland organization, Hans Koenings, said: “It is up to the Miss World organization to decide if they want to bring the event to such a country. I imagine they would want to take a closer look at the situation”. The Polish Miss World committee said it was concerned for the safety of its representative, which at that time was not yet elected, after the Islamic group ‘Jama’atul Muslimin’ called the contest “an abomination” and others threatened to interrupt it. The Russian director said that many crimes against women were committed in her country, but that the best way to protest was by going to Nigeria to defend Lawal’s rights, so her representative would be present.
– The Miss World pageant could be transferred to another location because some contestants said they did not want to glorify a country where a woman could be sentenced to death for adultery, a Nigerian newspaper reported on Sunday, September 1. About 100 women would participate in the event in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, which would be broadcast live to more than 140 countries. But the party was in jeopardy after Amina Lawal, a Nigerian mother, lost her appeal against stoning for adultery. For his part, Mexican President Vicente Fox was making Lawal’s case a personal crusade and planned to visit Nigeria in September. In Turkey, a secular but largely Muslim state, it was written: “Stoning to death is cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and is not applied in most Muslim countries”.
– On Friday, September 6, Miss Belgium, Ann Van Elsen announced that she would not be entering the contest in protest of Lawal’s conviction. The Miss’s decision caused a stir in the organization of the Belgian pageant, which accused Van Elsen of not wanting to travel to Nigeria, in fact, due “not to get away from her boyfriend.” “It is not for pretense, it is for my personal convictions,” Van Elsen replied. On the other hand, Madame de Fontenay, President of Miss France, confirmed that Sylvie Tellier, the French beauty queen, would also not participate in the contest as a measure of protest against the stoning of Nigerian women and stated that France could participate in case the contest will be held in another country. But in reality, she did it to get attention, as her organization had lost the Miss World franchise several years earlier. On the other hand, Miss Russia (Anna Tatarintseva), Miss India (Shruti Sharma) and Miss Tanzania (Angela Damas), confirmed their participation in Miss World.
– On Saturday, September 7, Promoters for Miss World 2002 in Nigeria said countries threatening a boycott due to death sentences for adultery handed down by Muslim courts would protest more effectively by participating. A spokesperson for Silverbird Promotions, a co-sponsor of what would be Nigeria’s biggest show ever, said they were concerned that some countries that had not yet officially entered the pageant were also considering withdrawing.
– Agbani Darego, Miss World 2001, on Tuesday, September 10, refused to participate in a threat to boycott the beauty pageant in Abuja after some contestants vowed to withdraw over death sentences handed down by Nigerian Muslim courts. When asked about the boycott threat, she said: “Sorry, I won’t answer that.” Darego, however, said the opinion of an influential Nigerian Muslim group that the country should not host the annual pageant was not “adequate and correct.” “I see the contest as a way for all women to get involved in whatever they want to be, maybe modeling or whatever profession”, Darego told Reuters. “Previous beauty queens have become doctors, lawyers, important people in society. So, is that a promotion to promiscuity?”.
– On Wednesday, September 11, the European Parliament’s women’s rights committee unanimously approved a motion calling for a boycott to protest against Lawal’s ruling.
– On Thursday September 12, Julia Morley issued a press release that read as follows: “We are all aware of the dire situation in most of northern Nigeria, where the local Muslim leader of the ‘Sharia’ has sentenced to death by stoning a single woman for having a baby. Clearly, we are all dismayed that such an action may take place, as is the vast majority of the Nigerian people. This is a situation we have never faced before. I have been speaking with various ministers of the Nigerian Government and am pleased to note that the Minister for Women’s Affairs is personally supporting Ms Lawal in her fight for justice and despite rumors about the lack of legal assistance, I have been assured that the Minister, from the beginning of this case, has provided a team of lawyers to defend her. He will continue this support for as long as it takes for this sentence to be overturned. Lawal’s appeal will be heard shortly. The Nigerian Attorney General has said that we must have faith in due process of law. The Miss World will be held in Nigeria in November. With these assurances we have been given, it would be inappropriate at this stage to comment further until after that due process. We are closely monitoring the situation and are confident that justice will prevail”.
– The contest organizers had been criticized on the one hand, by the beauty queens who threatened to boycott in protest of the stoning sentence and on the other by Muslim groups in Nigeria who saw the event as immoral. “Miss World President Julia Morley canceled an inspection tour in eastern Nigeria to meet with government ministers on the Amina Lawal case,” said Guy Murray-Bruce, owner of the ‘Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria pageant’. Organizers were scheduled to inspect the resorts in Calabar, in the eastern Cross Rivers state, that would be visited by the contestants on Thursday, September 12. Murray-Bruce said organizers would carry out planned inspections at sites in the southern oil city of Port Harcourt on Friday the 13th. Morley met with Abba Gana, the minister responsible for Abuja, on Thursday, Sept. 12, Murray-Bruce said. “They talked about the ‘Sharia’ issue,” Murray-Bruce said after Morley’s meeting with the minister. “She is asking people in authority to assure everyone that nothing will happen.” Gana told organizers that he was confident that the higher courts would overturn Lawal’s sentence, Murray-Bruce said. Cross Rivers state officials said international outrage over Lawal’s sentencing had not affected their preparations. “We will not allow this unfortunate event to alter the icing on our cake,” said Cross Rivers government spokesman Gabriel Onah.
– Two days later, a message was posted on the Miss World’s website, which read: “Amina Lawal, a Nigerian citizen, joined a religious group called ‘Sharia’. ‘Sharia’ is practiced in many countries around the world. The ‘Sharia’ has its own laws. These are not the federal laws of Nigeria. The federal laws of Nigeria treat all men equally and protect the human rights of all people. The ‘Sharia’ law passed sentence against Amina for having a baby out of wedlock. The sentence passed was that she should be stoned to death. The Miss World Organization was shocked to learn of such barbarity. Julia Morley has made the strongest demands on the Nigerian government. These included that the Miss World would withdraw from Nigeria if such sentence was not overturned. The Foreign Minister has responded on behalf of the government by ensuring Amina’s safety and full protection of her human rights. Furthermore, he has stated that Nigerian federal laws prohibit such actions from being taken. We are pleased that this statement was made, but we believe that we still have a long way to go. By leaving Nigeria, we would be leaving Amina and the 122 million Nigerians who support her. Therefore, it is our intention to make a statement as part of the main Miss World broadcast, condemning such inhumane actions and demanding equal justice for men and women. In addition, we are giving Miss World contestants the opportunity to bring petitions and representations from their countries. We will present them to the Nigerian government. Being together on stage at the 2002 Miss World final will make a very powerful statement, one that we believe will better serve Amina’s cause, rather than withdrawing from Nigeria”.
– The newly elected Miss Switzerland 2002, Nadine Vinzens, declared on Sunday, September 15, that she would not attend the Miss World pageant in protest at the stoning of Amina Lawal, accused of adultery. “If I were there, it would be like supporting all of that,” Vinzens told the weekly SonntagsBlick. “What they do to women there is terrifying. The human rights situation is very bad.”
– New Zealand’s prime minister said Monday, September 16, that it seemed “strange” to her that her country was planning to send a contestant to the Miss World pageant in Nigeria, citing an Islamic court’s decision to order the stoning of a woman. “It seems a bit strange to have a contestant (from New Zealand) in Miss World Nigeria when in the north of that country a young woman faces death by stoning because she had a baby out of wedlock,” said Prime Minister Helen Clark. New Zealand had already condemned the imposition of the death penalty on Lawal. On Monday it was reported that Mark Taylor, organizer of’Miss World New Zealand’ said the situation was being monitored by the Miss World organizers. “There are still a couple of months before the event and a lot can happen before then,” he told the capital’s Dominion Post newspaper.
– The Miss Spain organization confirmed on Saturday, September 28 that the representative of her country to Miss World, Miss Lola Alcocer, First Maid of Honor of Miss Spain 2002, would go to Nigeria despite the fact that the CiU and the Network of Feminist Organizations The Spanish women wanted the Spanish representative to join the boycott launched by other Misses against the Miss World contest, in protest at the death sentence by stoning of the Nigerian Amina Lawal.
– The Miss Spain organization decided on Tuesday, October 1, that the national candidate, Lola Alcocer, will not attend the Miss World contest to be held in Nigeria, just a few hours after the Spanish Parliament called for a boycott of that contest in protest for the stoning sentence of Amina Lawal. The organization, according to the note, continued to think that this boycott would be “much less effective” than the alternative that had been proposed in the beginning: that all participants attend the contest and take advantage of the public repercussion of an international event broadcast on television to more 140 countries to make a joint declaration. In that declaration, the Misses would be in favor of the fundamental rights of the person, of the liberation of those sentenced to stoning and against the application of ‘Sharia’ (Islamic law) as a criminal law.
– The Costa Rican government announced on Friday, October 4, its position against the country being represented in the Miss World contest in Nigeria, and which had caused controversy in several nations. The Executive Branch asked Channel 7, a television station that owned the contest franchise, not to send Shirley Álvarez, elected ‘Miss Costa Rica World 2002’ in February, to Nigeria. The repudiation was not against the contest, but against the host country, which condemned a woman to death by stoning for having had a girl in relationships outside of marriage (being divorced). Costa Rican deputy Gloria Valerín, president of the women’s affairs commission, said she would present a motion before the plenary in which she would request the repudiation of the contest. For its part, The Costa Rican Association of University Women presented a public letter requesting the withdrawal of Costa Rica from the Miss World. For her part, Álvarez would decide whether or not to attend the contest.
– In Panama, the Legislative Assembly asked the country’s authorities on Friday, October 4, not to send its representative, Yoselyn Sánchez, to Miss World.
– Masja Juel, Miss Denmark, announced on Friday, October 4, her decision to boycott the Miss World pageant, as the Nigerian government continued with the intention of applying the death penalty to Amina Lawal. According to the Ekstra Bladet newspaper, Masja would not feel good if she participated and assured that she would suffer “charges of conscience”. It was also known that the Miss made her decision under the influence of the parliamentarian Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
– Goizeder Azúa, Miss Venezuela World 2002, confirmed her attendance at the contest despite all the controversy that had arisen in Latin America, where public and private calls were multiplying for the candidates to boycott the contest, in repudiation of the stoning sentence of a young Nigerian woman accused of adultery. “Osmel Sousa -explains Azúa- took action on the matter, in the same way I will go. The Miss World Organization sent a statement expressing that they need our support. I will not give up participating in Miss World and that does not mean that I support the stoning. My Assistance will be synonymous with justice for women, for life, because otherwise I will be turning my back on myself and it is not a joke, “the Venezuelan beauty told Panorama newspaper on Sunday, October 6. Chile, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru had also confirmed the dispatch of their representatives.
– According to the Venezuelan newspaper ‘Últimas Noticias’ on Sunday, October 6, the first Miss World of Venezuela in 1955, Susana Duijm pointed out that the candidates’ decision was in support of a poor woman. “Each country has its laws and religion, but I cannot believe that such horrible torture can exist in this age.” Duijm expressed that if that were the case, she would not participate in the contest. “I would not go out of solidarity with that person, despite what the Organization says, because those are my ideas.” The ex-Miss declared that the Miss World Organization could not force anyone to attend something with which they did not agree as a human being. “Regardless of the argument that the organization may have, I would say that I am not going because I am not a puppet.” Unlike Susana, Miss World 1984, Astrid Carolina Herrera, noted that when you stay committed to representing a country, you must take responsibility until the end. “If Venezuela trusts me to do this job, I can say that I do not want to continue if there are circumstances that are not correct. On the other hand, one way to protest is to be present to make the world see that women are capable, intelligent and bring the voice to the heart of the problem in Nigeria”. Astrid stated that the presence is also a form of protest. “If it were my case, I would go to leave a kind of mark. I greatly respect the candidates who do not want to participate.” In her opinion, Miss Venezuela, Goizeder Azúa, should participate as long as she takes positions, without arguing.
– Several of the European candidates for Miss World were present on Wednesday, October 9, at the European Parliament in Brussels. There they spoke at the forum about the death penalty in the world. The representatives of Belgium (Ann Van Elsen), Italy (Pamela Camassa) and Sweden (Sofia Hedmark) were against the death penalty, especially in the case of the Nigerian Amina Lawal. The participants appealed against the boycott of the Miss World contest to be held in Nigeria. The girls wanted a massive turnout for the pageant to support Lawal and try to save her life. Of all of them, Miss Belgium abstained and confirmed that she still refused to participate in the event.
– Shirley Álvarez, ‘Miss Costa Rica World 2002’, decided not to participate in Miss World in Nigeria. The absence was a sign of repudiation against the death sentence by stoning imposed on a Nigerian woman accused of adultery. In this way, Costa Rica would join 12 more countries that had announced the retirement of their beauty queens in protest of the condemnation. Álvarez made the announcement on Thursday, October 10, during the evening edition of Telenoticias and instead of going to Miss World, she would go to Miss Asia Pacific.
– The organization ‘Sun International’ confirmed on Thursday, October 17 that Vanessa Carreira, Miss South Africa, would not take part in the contest due to the fact that the election date of Miss World (December 7) coincided with that of ‘Miss South Africa 2002’, which would take place on the 8th of the same month. Other sources indicated that Carreira had decided not to attend the contest for ethical reasons, because she considered that the stoning of Amina Lawal was an “abominable” act.
– On Sunday October 20, Miss Canada said she chose not to follow the example of other beauty queens, who were boycotting Miss World in Nigeria. “I think the fact that the Miss World pageant is still taking place there has attracted all the international media attention,” said the 22-year-old Carleton graduate. “I think this is really helping her. If they had moved the contest to another location, they would have forgotten about it. Under pressure to stop the cancellations, the Miss World organizers decided that the contestants would deliver letters in support of Ms. Lawal to government officials before the finals on December 7th.
– On Tuesday, October 22, the Miss Belgium organization announced that, due to the refusal of the titular queen, Ann Van Elsen, to go to Nigeria for Miss World, she would be replaced in the contest by the first runner-up, Sylvie Doclot
– On Sunday, October 27, Miss USA said that: “For me, going and talking about it personally will be my support for Lawal,” said Rebekah Revels. “I’m sorry for her and I keep her in my prayers.”
– The organization led by Julia Morley reported at the end of October that several countries that had decided to boycott the Miss World celebration in Nigeria had changed their minds and would send their delegates. The decision to send their representatives was due to a special request made by Amina Lawal, the Nigerian woman sentenced to death for adultery, who claimed that a boycott would rather aggravate her situation. The attendance of Miss Denmark, who was facing strong opposition from powerful groups in her country, was yet to be confirmed. On the other hand, Muslim leaders in northern Nigeria continued to oppose the holding of the contest in these lands and had said that they would try to prevent the contest from taking place because they viewed it as an act of “nudism”.
– Nigeria vowed on Tuesday, October 29 to prevent Islamic courts from carrying out executions by stoning, and vowed to hold the line against sentences in northern states that had sparked international protests and boycott threats. The guarantee from the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dubem Onyia, represented the government’s most blunt statement to date on the rulings of the Islamic court, or ‘Sharia’, which sentenced at least four people to stoning for adultery or rape. “No one will be stoned as a result of Islamic law. No one,” Onyia said. He spoke at a press conference about Nigeria’s preparations for the Miss World pageant, facing a boycott from a growing number of contestants over the stoning sentence imposed on a Nigerian woman in March. Amina Lawal had gone into hiding while awaiting a second appeal from a higher Islamic court. “There is no way the federal courts can uphold that judgment,” Onyia said. He said he spoke as “a member of the cabinet.” Onyia said the government would not force Islamic judicial systems in a dozen predominantly Muslim northern states to change their laws. Instead, he said, the cases would be individually vacated on appeals to federal courts. Onyia and other Nigerian leaders, including President Olusegun Obasanjo, had said that the constitution did not allow stoning, amputations, spanking or other common punishments required by Islamic law. Nigerian law did not allow capital punishment. Onyia did not explain how the government could offer guarantees on future judiciary rulings.
– Panama announced on Tuesday, October 29 that it would not send its representative to the Miss World pageant in Nigeria, in protest of the death sentence against a Nigerian woman for having a child out of wedlock. Yoselin Sánchez, who was elected in early September to represent the Central American nation, said she would not attend as a way to demonstrate her rejection of the death sentence by stoning against Amina Lawal. “If my refusal to go helps save young Amina from execution, then it is something I do with great pleasure. Although their culture is very different from ours, no one should be stoned to death,” said Miss Panama. The organizers of Miss World claimed that they would mount their own protest against the death sentence as part of the event, But Sánchez rejected that approach, saying she believed any protest in Nigeria would be central. “It is a very delicate situation. The truth is that once there it would be difficult to protest against the sentence because I believe that the press is a spokesman for the government,” she said. It was also reported that the contest would not be broadcast in Panama either, as an action of “solidarity” to Lawal. On the other hand, influential groups in Chile and India were calling for their candidates to join the boycott.
– According to an AFP cable on Monday, November 4, Austria would not participate in the Miss World contest in protest against the death sentence of Nigerian Amina Lawal. According to a member of the organization, Miss Celine Roschek, 19 years old, would not travel to the contest until it was confirmed that Amina Lawal could leave that African country alive.
– Eyrun Steinsson, Miss Iceland, called the more than 90 women expected at the event in December to join her protest that involved, at the time, 11 contestants. “I am sure that we have made the right decision not to go and I hope that other countries will join in not participating,” the 23-year-old said on Tuesday, November 5. She added: “I hope we can change this terrible verdict.” On the other hand, MPs from all parties pressured the four representatives of Great Britain to stay away from Nigeria, but the Misses of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland had refused to join the protest. Julia Morley, Miss World director and widow of founder Eric Morley, said: “The president has said that the federal government will not allow this to happen. We will continue to show our displeasure that they may consider this execution. It is much more effective to go than to stay away because we would be turning our backs on Nigeria”. But the spokeswoman on women’s issues, Sandra Gidley, said: “I urge the British contestants to boycott the event. Women should seriously consider not participating”. Labor MP Glenda Jackson said: “The fact that they are women means that they should withdraw”. Dr. Evan Harris said: “A substantial boycott could be an effective way to make clear our revulsion at the imposition of misogynistic religious law”.
– The directors of Miss Greece were considering retiring after feeling they had been misled into believing that Amina Lawal’s death sentence had been lifted. In fact, it had simply been postponed until she stopped breastfeeding her daughter. A spokesperson for Antena TV, which organizes the Greek event, said: “We will call a meeting immediately to reconsider our decision to send Miss Greece to Nigeria. We have taken note of what we have been told and are concerned. We had received assurances that the execution had been called off”.
– Prince Edward, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II, was about to boycott a gala dinner honoring this year’s controversial Miss World pageant. Buckingham Palace was urgently reconsidering its decision to attend as protests mounted over the death sentence imposed on a woman for committing adultery in the host nation Nigeria. The newspaper ‘The Evening Standard’ highlighted the plight of Amina Lawal, who was facing death by stoning. “If the prince decides not to attend the dinner at Grosvenor House on Sunday, where many contestants must be present, he will send the strongest signal yet to the Nigerian government of international abhorrence for the death sentence.” A spokesman for Buckingham Palace said: “In light of the controversy surrounding the Miss World pageant, we are seeking advice and reviewing the invitation.” Miss England Daniella Luan was one of the expected guests at the £ 1,000 a plate dinner on Sunday, November 10 at Grosvenor House on behalf of the Duke of Edinburgh awards program and the Outward Bound Trust. Luan continued to defy mounting political pressure to join the boycott and said that she would organize her own “protest” as part of the event in Nigeria. Labor MP Paul Stinchcombe said: “I am sure Prince Edward does not want to give any implicit support for human rights abuses in Nigeria, but he has the option of backing the female hopefuls who are taking a courageous position and it would be a real too bad he didn’t make that choice”. Liberal Democratic spokeswoman for women’s affairs, Sandra Gidley, said: “In view of the growing opinion, Prince Edward should consider whether he is in contact with the public on this matter. He has a lot of power because his decision to boycott the dinner of Miss World would send a strong message to the Nigerian government”. Prince Edward was expected to confirm on Thursday, November 7, whether or not he would attend the reception.
– On the night of Thursday, November 7, Prince Edward decided not to attend the Miss World reception, where he would receive a check for £ 100,000 from the organizers to benefit the ‘Outward Bound Trust’. A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace said: “On the advice, Prince Edward will no longer attend the reception.”
– Miss Venezuela World, Goizeder Azúa, sent a letter on the eve of her trip to London, explaining why she would go to Miss World: “I have read the anguished letter that reader Ofelia Álvarez sends about my participation in the next Miss World 2002 pageant that will be held in Nigeria on December 7th. As a representative of the beauty of Venezuelan women, I have made the personal decision to attend because I believe that silence is a bad option when facing the injustices suffered by women around the world, and particularly in that country. Shutting up is a cowardly option and adhering to the boycott against the contest is a comfortable measure, which does not serve anything for the cause that we must defend above any other: respect for the life of Amina Lawal. Apart from two lines in any Latin American or European newspaper, If we do not go there, Nigerians will not be able to find out about our most resounding rejection of the death penalty imposed against Mrs. Lawal. Above any cultural or religious difference between countries, respect for the right to life is imposed. May all the missions that we attend raise our voices in Nigeria in defense of this sacrosanct right. As the Miss World motto says, beauty must have a purpose. This is mine”. Goizeder would carry ball gowns by designers Gionni Straccia and Durand & Diego along with casual dresses, swimsuits, footwear and purses packed into a total of five suitcases.
– Miss South Africa, Vanessa Carreira, said she was “honored” to join the protest of the candidates over the threat from the host country., Nigeria, of stoning a woman for adultery. “From the beginning I made a statement that I did not want to participate in a contest that was being organized by a country that could approve something so horrible. I am very happy for the decision. I think we defended the rights of women and that we made a statement”. Carreira saw Miss World as an opportunity to make South Africa even more proud after she came third at the Miss Universe in May. “I don’t think I’m going to win when I participate in these competitions. I saw Miss World as a second chance, but it didn’t work out that way,” she said. Carreira believed that those who had gone to Nigeria should “take the opportunity to make their voices heard and do something about the situation. If I was there, I would have been pushing to support and get those girls to protest”.
– The representatives of Tahiti and Mauritius joined the boycott of the Miss World contest in Nigeria at the last minute. The Tahitipresse agency confirmed on Monday, November 11, that Rava Maiarii, ‘Miss Tahiti 2002’, decided to join the boycott due to the mistreatment of women in Nigeria and fears of terrorist threats from Muslim groups. For her part, Karen Alexandre, who would represent Mauritius, decided only on Tuesday the 12th that she would not travel, due to an interview that a Nigerian minister gave on November 4 and that did not convince the beautiful Mauritian. Due to her last minute decision, the Miss Mauritius organization was unable to replace her. However, the director of Miss Mauritius, Primerose Obeegadoo, would travel to Nigeria to witness the Miss World finals.
BRITISH TELEVISIONS JOIN THE BOYCOTT.-
British TV stations rejected the Miss World contest as calls for a full boycott of the event mounted. For the first time in more than a decade, the beauty pageant would not appear on British television channels, a major blow to Nigerian hosts who hoped it would transform their country’s international image and attract tourists and investors. In Britain, ITV2, which had televised Miss World the previous year, had decided not to bid for the rights along with Sky and Channel 5 that had broadcast it in the past. A television source said: “Many companies would not want to get involved in an event that could be a political responsibility.” Miss World was unlikely to air in Spain and Austria, whose representatives were boycotting it along with competitors from Denmark, Switzerland, Kenya, South Africa, Iceland, Togo, Ivory Coast, Panama and Costa Rica.
“DO NOT BOYCOTT MISS WORLD”, THE CRY OF AMINA LAWAL.-
A nigerian woman sentenced to death for having a baby out of wedlock had stopped a planned boycott of the Miss World pageant, urging contestants not to stay away from their country. Beauty contestants from around the world had threatened to refuse to attend the next pageant in Nigeria in protest against the decision, under ‘Sharia’ law, to stone Amina Lawal. The women, who had the support of British MEPs, had argued that a boycott would put international pressure on Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo to overturn the sentence, which was approved by a regional court. However, when asked by an Italian charity that traveled to Nigeria to interview Lawal if she supported a boycott of the contestants on their behalf, she said she didn’t think this was the right approach. “Let them come,” she said, speaking through a translator. “I know that things will work out because people come from all over the world to support me.” Lawal did not want Nigeria to be isolated and said that President Obasanjo was supporting the campaign to overturn her sentence. “I can’t read or write, but I’ve heard that he’s a good person and he’s doing all he can for me,” she said in her interview with ‘Hands Off Cain’, an Italy-based group that campaigns against grief death all over the world. Lawal was sentenced to death in March after giving birth to a daughter, Wasila Kurami (at the time she was 10 months old), out of wedlock in a village in northern Nigeria. According to ‘Sharia’ law, the sentence would be executed after the weaning of her daughter.
The previous month it had been reported that at least seven of the 100 Miss World contestants planned to boycott the pageant, which was due to take place on December 7. However, the organizers of the contest said that the boycott threat had been canceled after Lawal’s appeal and a similar appeal from MEPs. Julia Morley, whose late husband Eric started the Miss World pageant in 1951, said only Miss Denmark’s participation was in doubt: “The contestant wants to attend but faces opposition from powerful lobbyists within the country. All other contestants they have withdrawn their threat of boycott”, she said. “Having visited Nigeria six times in the last four months, I realize that the president and most of the country are doing everything they can to reverse what they consider to be a cowardly act.” Lawal’s public call for contestants was supported by Daniella Luan, 21, a student at Oxford Brookes University, who was voted Miss England in September. After being selected, The Sunday Telegraph revealed that Luan would go to the contest in Abuja, central Nigeria, but that she would use it to protest against Amina Lawal’s death sentence.
On Saturday October 26, Ms. Luan spoke of her joy at hearing Lawal’s call for support rather than a boycott. “If Amina feels that we should go support her, then I am very happy,” she said. “I think it is totally inhumane for her to face death by stoning, but I felt that if I left Nigeria, I would have abandoned Amina and her followers.” Luan was leaving in fifteen days and for a month to Nigeria which, together with 1,000 pounds sterling in clothes and jewelery, was her prize for winning the Miss England pageant. Her decision to attend came despite an open letter from seven British MEPs urging her to avoid the contest. However, seven other MEPs led by Emma Bonino, the Italian MEP and former European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, wrote an open letter to all Miss World contestants supporting Lawal’s call to attend. They said that a boycott would be unfair and counterproductive. “A boycott of Nigeria at this crucial moment could well be the death sentence of a fledgling democracy. We should support the democratic process in Nigeria rather than isolate it,” they wrote.
Sergio D’Elia, the general secretary of ‘Hands Off Cain’, who met with Lawal in Nigeria in early October, said he was optimistic that an appeals process under ‘Sharia’ law would lead to the annulment of sentence. “Meanwhile, Amina is free to wean Wasila until January 2004 under the terms of an Islamic court ruling,” he said. Lawal, who had two other children from previous marriages, remains tolerant of Muslim fundamentalists despite her sentence. “When I was sentenced to death I didn’t feel anything, and I still don’t feel anything. I’m still Muslim even though ‘Sharia’ law has punished me”. She does not believe that a person could change her destiny. “Only God can do that. I have no dreams or aspirations, only God can decide if life will smile on me. I ask God to help me. I pray. May God’s will be done”. (Sunday Telegraph, October 27, 2002).
CHAYANNE INVITED TO MISS WORLD.-
Puerto Rican singer Chayanne would be the guest artist at Miss World 2002 in Nigeria. Wilnelia Merced, who served as liaison in this management with the Miss World organization, confirmed the information on Monday, November 4, exclusively for the newspaper ‘El Nuevo Día’. In fact, Wilnelia had influenced the hiring of Ricky Martin in the 1998 contest. This year, Julia Morley was interested in incorporating Latinos into the contest’s production. ‘El Nuevo Día’ published that “Don Francisco” could be the host of the finals and that a Latin actor could be on the judges.
CANDIDATES ARRIVE IN LONDON.-
On Friday, the 8th and Saturday, November 9, all the candidates for Miss World 2002 were to arrive in the British capital where they would be accommodated at the Sheraton Heathrow hotel. Because the Miss World final had been postponed for a week, the Misses’ arrival was also postponed, so they could not attend the invitation they had received to meet the British Royal Family on Sunday, November 3. Miss Venezuela, Goizeder Azúa, traveled on the morning of Friday the 8th via Miami and Chicago, arriving in London on Saturday morning. With the arrival of dozens of participants, the Miss World 2002 pageant officially began in London. For his part, the Nigerian president issued a letter in which he promised to safeguard the life of both Amina and any other person who was in the same situation, in order to try to cancel the boycott, which had taken off in recent days. As a novelty, the pageant featured for the first time a Miss Vietnam, a country whose ruling Communist Party once disparaged beauty pageants as a symbol of capitalist decadence. Thanks to the internet, for the first time, favorites emerged before the girls entered the contest. The first favorites of Internet users and bookmakers were the entrants from India, Australia, Norway, Russia, Colombia, Turkey, Brazil, Nigeria, Peru and China. Eric Morley’s widow Julia, the president of Miss World, claimed that the December 7 lineup would be second only to the Olympics in terms of international participation. Young people from 110 countries would compete in front of a television audience of 2 billion.
82 of the 110 originally expected girls arrived in London. Of the candidates who had initially decided to boycott the pageant and not attend, Miss NORWAY (Katrine Sörland) and Miss KENYA (Marianne Nyambura Kariuki) finally arrived. Those who decided to boycott the contest were Miss AUSTRIA (Celine Roschek), Miss COSTA RICA (Shirley Alvárez Sandoval), Miss DENMARK (Masja Juel), Miss ICELAND (Eyrun Steinsson), Miss MAURITIUS (Karen Alexandre), Miss PANAMA (Yoselin Sánchez Espino), Miss SOUTH AFRICA (Vanessa Do Ceu Carreira), Miss SPAIN (Dolores “Lola” Alcocer Vázquez), Miss SRI LANKA (Nilusha Gamage), Miss SWITZERLAND (Nadine Vinzens) and Miss TAHITI (Rava Mahana Maiarii). Two other candidates who had announced that they would boycott the pageant, although they had not appeared on the official list published on the official Miss World page, were Miss COTE D’IVOIRE (Yannick Azebian) and Miss TOGO (Sandrine Akuvi Agbokpe). Neither did Miss BELARUS (Olga Nevdakh), Miss CAMEROON (Diane Ngo Mouaha), Miss EGYPT (Inés Gohar), Miss GABON (Cherie Yoni Tsango) and Miss LESOTHO (Annie Andrews) arrive for economic reasons. As mentioned before, Miss LIBERIA (Marcia Cooper) was not accepted for residing in the US and Miss MOROCCO (Doja Lahlou) did not attend because her director had to flee to Spain, threatened by fundamentalist groups. Despite having been waited until the last minute, Miss DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (Claudia Cruz de los Santos), Miss GUATEMALA (Paula Margarita Alonso Morales) and Miss MALAWI (Blandina Mlenga) did not appear. PARAGUAY, which appeared on the list of participating countries, did not send a delegate, as did NEPAL, country that had to postpone its national final to December 7, coincidentally the same day as Miss World. For her part, Miss GERMANY (Simone Wolf-Reinfurt) did not arrive in London because she was suffering from a viral infection. Neither did Miss CURAÇAO (Ayanette Mary Ann Statia) arrive because she missed her connecting flight from Aruba to London, and Miss ROMANIA (Cleopatra Popescu), who had not yet been elected (her contest was held on Monday, November 11).
On Sunday, November 10, the Miss World’s “Royal Charity Gala” was held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, hosted by Julia Morley and Stella Obasanjo, First Lady of Nigeria, but not all 82 candidates attended as some of them came to town while the event was taking place, such as the Peruvian Marina Mora. “The Nigerian government has said time and again that our laws are supreme, consistent and capable of addressing this unfortunate development,” Obasanjo told the audience of 500 guests and more than 70 beauty queens. “I also believe that everyone who supports Amina and Nigerian women has a duty to come forward in Abuja”. She continued: “Your appeal against the sentence imposed by the ‘Sharia’ court will be heard by a federal court and will be pardoned”. “Death sentences have always been overturned in the past. No woman has been stoned to death in Nigeria”. Proceeds from the benefit dinner went to benefit the Outward Bound Trust and the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Prince Edward, the honoree, who had decided not to want to associate with Miss World because of the boycott issue, did not attend the event; The footballers Thierry Henry, Nwankwo Kanu (captain of the Nigerian soccer team) and Patrick Vieira did not appear either, but several artists did attend as well as the ex-Miss World 1975, Wilnelia Merced-Forsyth and, of course, the reigning Miss World , the Nigerian Agbani Darego. At this gala, the gifts brought by the girls from each of their countries of origin were not auctioned, as that ceremony would be held in Nigeria to benefit disabled children in that country.
There was an exhibition of Nigerian art and a dinner where attendees were able to share with beauty delegates from around the world after paying £ 1,000. The attending press was able to meet and photograph the contestants, while Julia Morley was bombarded with the subject of the possible stoning of Amina Lawal. The representatives of Colombia, China, Russia, Hong Kong, Venezuela, Vietnam, India, Kazakhstan, Ghana, Greece and Norway stood out in this first meeting with the press. Regarding the Lawal issue, Miss United States stated: “The association in the United States and I decided that the best thing we could do was to take a stand, a positive stand and come to Africa and support (Amina Lawal), instead to stay home, and that’s exactly what I’ve decided to do”. Miss England, Daniella Luan, admitted that she had been under “a lot of pressure” to withdraw, but decided to move forward after receiving assurances that Lawal would be granted a clemency. “There was a time when the pressure got to me and I thought about resigning. But Julia Morley told me that the sentence had been overturned by the Nigerian government and I am delighted by that,” said the young woman.
“I do not approve of the sentence in any way, but it is her own religion and I do not think we should interfere with their decision. And I do not believe that a boycott will achieve anything,” said Julia Morley who added that she was confident that Lawal would be pardoned after the statements issued over the weekend by both the Nigerian Foreign Minister and a local minister from the northern district. “What I do know is that there will be no stoning,” she said.”I think it is very important that we all talk and not turn our backs. I think that if we had done that, that is precisely what few people would do, remember that one hundred and twenty-two million people in Nigeria will welcome Miss World. The people from the north (who support ‘Sharia’ law) are a small group by comparison, but they all came together and said ‘this is wrong.’ So I think it made a big impact. I don’t think Miss World was responsible for making That, I think the Nigerian people have done it for themselves, which is very important because we don’t want to interfere with ‘Sharia'”. On Monday, November 11, the 82 girls left Gatwick airport very early to catch a flight at 7 am to the Nigerian capital aboard a chartered plane from Nigerian Airways.
ARRIVAL IN NIGERIA.-
A plane full of contestants arrived in Abuja at 7 p.m. on Monday, November 11 (and not at 5 p.m. as planned), to the relief of Nigerian officials who feared a humiliating boycott over the plight of the Nigerian women sentenced by Islamic ‘Sharia’ courts to be executed by stoning for adultery. 82 of the 92 contestants expected for Miss World 2002, wearing the sashes that identified them on a green one in honor of the national colors of Nigeria, were received at the recently opened international airport about 40 km from Abuja, the capital of the African country, by a group of children, colorful groups of drummers, traditional dancers and Nigerian ministers, to begin with the activities prior to the contest to be held on December 7. “There is no boycott,” said Ben Murray-Bruce, director of the Nigerian Television Authority, one of the sponsors. “This is the moment that everyone has been waiting for,” Murray-Bruce told the contestants, including representatives from at least five countries that had said they were going to boycott the event: Belgium, France, Greece, Kenya and Norway. The young Foreign Minister, Dubem Onyia, told contestants at the airport that Nigeria was determined to defend human rights following the return to democracy in 1999 after 15 years of military dictatorship. “Do not be afraid in this country. Your safety is guaranteed.” “No Nigerian has been stoned to death and the government will never allow any Nigerian to be stoned. Relax and have fun”, he told the cheering competitors. He promised the girls a memorable stay in Nigeria, saying that the Nigerian government would provide them with adequate security and comfort. “You will find Nigerians to be very friendly”, he assured them. The reception took place in the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport.
The Minister of Information and National Guidance, Professor Jerry Gana, also welcomed the beauties of the world. “Anywhere else in Africa can be the gateway, Nigeria is the destination”, he said. “You have reached the destination.” Also present was the Minister of Aviation, Dr. Kema Kema Chikwe. “Nigerians are very hospitable people. Let me assure you that everything has been done to make you feel comfortable”, he said. FCT Minister Alhaji Mohammed Abba-Gana was represented at the reception. The Director General of the Nigerian Television Authority and the man who started it all, Mr. Ben Murray-Bruce, said: “This is the greatest spectacle in the world; Nigeria has never witnessed such a great and popular event in the history of this nation”, he said visibly euphoric. “I doubted if I should come at the beginning because there was very little information about it, but then I heard the latest result of the case and I thought that I should come and everyone told me to come because it would help Amina more than not come”, said Miss Norway, Kathrine Sorland. “If we can bring attention to this beautiful part of the world and Amina’s case while we are here, then it really is ‘beauty with a purpose'”, said Miss Australia, Nicole Gazal. After the reception at the airport, the contestants were escorted under heavy security and transferred to the Nicon Hilton hotel in the heart of the religiously mixed city, where they were kept away from the press. Miss Venezuela and her roommate from Uruguay got room 838 on the eighth floor of the hotel. On Wednesday the 13th, the beauties would go to Calabar, in the southeast of the country, where they would be filmed in bathing suits. At first it was said that the girls would show up in sports suits, perhaps to defuse protests, but that was later discarded.
ANGER AT ARRIVAL OF THE BEAUTIES.-
The Muslims of Abuja were angry about the arrival of the beauty queens. Muslims assured journalists that there would be no violent protests, but denounced what many saw as an immoral and provocative event. “All Muslims in Nigeria are against this beauty pageant”, said Islamic scholar Huseyn Zakaria Mohammed outside the Utham bin Affan Mosque, where he is an Imam who teaches Muslim morality to the faithful. “Beauty pageants are a strange innovation, not only in the Muslim community but also in the Western world. They are a secularist innovation”, he said. “They expose women to the danger of sexual harassment and commercialize nudity. They are against morals at all levels”, he said. About half of Nigeria’s 122 million citizens are Muslims, and the Imam’s complaints echoed those of some high-ranking Islamic leaders and people on the streets around his mosque. But it was the initial threat of a boycott and concerns that the event would be interrupted by Nigerian Islamic fundamentalists, who had called the beauty pageant “a nude pageant,” that worried the Nigerian government the most. Senior officials said a significant boycott could have jeopardized the organization of the 2003 Africa Games in Nigeria and the summit of the 54-nation Commonwealth group.
The ministers reiterated their assurances that the government would not allow any Nigerian convicted of adultery under Islamic law to be stoned to death. The cabinet minister in charge of the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria went out of his way to assure Muslims that the contestants would not wear revealing clothing in Abuja. In that city, Amina Lawal called the Miss World pageant a “unique event” to which “many resources” had been dedicated, and said she looked forward to seeing it. She insisted that her opinion had not been influenced by organizers or government officials. On the other hand, officials from four Muslim-majority states Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi and Yobe said that local radio and television stations in their states were banned from broadcasting the contest. Sadiu Aliu, an official with Mahiba, a Nigerian Muslim fundamentalist group in the northern city of Gusau, said his group was planning a month of “black prayers” to spread “plagues of curses and bad luck” among Miss World organizers and participants. He accused them of “spreading immorality”. Despite the fact that the winner would be chosen according to various criteria and not only for her physical attractiveness, but also for her public relations skills and social conscience, radical Nigerians had a different point of view. “So they are like prostitutes and we do not promote prostitution in Nigeria,” said Musa Omar, a Lagos resident. “That’s why I think some of my colleagues are unhappy, and they expressed it very openly. Even among Christians, it is forbidden, no one can show their body”, he added.
Nigeria’s decision to host Miss World had widened a deep rift between the Muslim-majority north and the Christian south. While many southern Nigerians rejoiced at the news, Muslim clerics accused the contest of promoting indecency and sexual promiscuity and opposed its being held during Ramadan. “This is about commercial sex trade,” said Huseyn Zakaria, a Muslim cleric in Abuja. “It’s about nudity, it’s about immorality, it’s about exposing young people in the community to sexual risk.” Nigerian Afro-beat star Femi Kuti said he was disgusted by the contest. “Nigeria has bigger problems than bringing Miss World to the country”, he told BBC World Services Newshour. “We have no electricity, no water, Millions of children walk the streets without a home, their parents cannot feed them. What is the benefit for the people of Africa? It doesn’t surprise me that people rebel. They have my full support”.
THE PUBLIC VOTING BEGINS.-
It became known that the public could vote for their favorites from Monday, November 11 to December 6, through a text-sending service from the cell phone (GSM network). Viewers in 126 countries would be able to vote by SMS, and such votes would cost around 25 pence in Europe, but much less in China, where mobile rates were lower. For example, in some countries, the castor had to send a text message to a full mobile number, although these also tended to be the countries where special rate texting was not allowed and only a standard charge applied by SMS. The popular vote supposedly would weigh 50% of the preliminary vote and the other 50% would be determined by the judges. To vote, you only had to write the name of the country of your favorite preceded by the word “MW” (example: MW Venezuela) that should be sent to the number 00 44 7957 500 500.
ACTIVITIES IN NIGERIA.-
Nigeria struggled on Tuesday, November 12, with daunting logistics to host its biggest showbiz event after successfully avoiding a massive boycott of the Miss World pageant. Competition sources said organizers were scrambling to raise cash for everything from hotel rooms to charter flights, including two jumbo jets that would carry equipment to a country with one of the poorest infrastructure in the world. “The stage to be used for the final in Abuja weighs 96 tonnes and must be brought in from London,” said a contest official. Because Nigerian developers were unable to pay the $ 8 million for the venue rights, they had to bear hotel costs of $ 1.2 million at the Nicon Hilton in Abuja, a Nigerian official said. “If they had paid the headquarters fees, the Miss World Organization would have taken care of all the hotel bills,” added the official, who asked not to be named. Lack of experience handling international media for an event as massive as Miss World meant that journalists did not have an official list of countries represented.
The Outgoing Miss World, Agbani Darego, took the 82 contestants to Villa Chapel, Aso Rock (residence of the President of Nigeria) on Tuesday, November 12, to pray for the success of the pageant. The prayer session, which was led by the chaplain, Professor Yusuf Obaje, lasted about thirty minutes. Obaje, who expressed his hope that the contest would be successful as it began with a prayer said “this is the greatest hour in our national history because this event, for the first time in history, begins with a prayer which means that your The experience in this country will be wonderful. I believe that you are role models. That gives me complete assurance that the event will be wonderful”, added the chaplain. According to him, beauty went beyond the display of physical attributes and added that it implied concern for humanity and for the less privileged. “Believe me, now I have a very positive idea about the Miss World contest. It is more than showing the physical, but caring for the less privileged. God will inspire them to live the life that others lived”, he emphasized. Obaje, who said that the president would meet with the contestants at the appropriate time, also asked Julia Morley to do the first reading of Genesis 1:13 while Agbani read the second passage of First Corinthians 10:31. In the evening there was a party to celebrate Miss Russia’s birthday with a candlelight ceremony. That day it became known that Miss Germany, Simone Wolf-Reinfurt, would not travel to Nigeria due to her illness and the Germans were looking for an emergency substitute. By the way, some candidates became ill during their stay in Nigeria from the food.
And as planned, the candidates traveled on Wednesday 13 to Calabar, with a Christian majority, near the border with Cameroon, where they would film for three days the outdoors section in swimsuits that would be shown in the special of “U-Decide”, although they would remain in that city until Monday, November 18. The beauty queens arrived at Calabar’s Margaret Ekpo Airport at 2:43 pm aboard a Nigerian Airways Boeing 737 plane. Later, the Misses were received by the Obong of Calabar in his palace. The Cross River government, one of the hosts of the Miss World pageant, assured participants of a rewarding experience in the state. Miss Venezuela, Goizeder Azúa, said: “I cried with emotion at the reception they gave me at the airport, I had never seen people as beautiful as this country.” She also said that she had already used five photographic rolls.
Welcoming the 82 beauty queens on Thursday, Nov. 14, at Calabar Government House, Governor Donald Duke said Cross River was one of the first places in the country to make contact with Western explorers. The governor explained that Calabar, the state capital, had an interesting history dating back 600 years. Duke said that Calabar was the route through which “our great-great-grandparents were exported during the age of the slave trade”. The governor said that some Africans in the diaspora may have their roots in Calabar, adding: “We are really touched by the experience, and I think that when they leave our state, it will not be the same again”. “Today we have a rainbow on our soil and I see people of various origins representing our planet”, Duke said. He described Miss World President Mrs. Julia Morley as a bastion of strength, steadfast character and a determined lady, and said the people of the state were excited to have the contestants among them. Speaking, Morley said the state had a very beautiful setting and expressed hope that the natural settings at Cross River would attract tourists from around the world. Morley assured the people of the state that the contest final broadcast would feature Cross River prominently. Agbani Darego, Miss World, also spoke, who said that the reception given to them at the airport had already spoken well of Cross River.
On Friday, November 15, all the participants were photographed in two-piece swimsuits, whose graphics would be published on the official website of the contest. Miss Norway, Kathrine Sorland, who was emerging as a favorite, told the press that she had two wishes: to become Miss World and to meet Amina Lawal. For her part, Miss Philippines, Katherine Manalo, said that she did not support the boycott because she believed in the causes that Miss World supported. On the other hand, Miss Bahamas, T´Shura Ambrose, brought to Nigeria a painting of a mother with her little son in her arms, made by herself, as a symbol of support for Amina Lawal. Sadly, the Nigerian president canceled plans to host the participants in an effort to avoid offending Muslims, who were celebrating Ramadan that month. On the other hand, it was learned that the representatives of Curaçao and Romania finally arrived in Nigeria on Saturday night, November 16. The Miss Cameroon organization renewed that day its interest in sending its representative at the last minute, but her participation could not be confirmed. On Sunday, November 17, the candidates attended a boat regatta in Calabar, heavily guarded by armed members of the police, and in the evening they attended a gala dinner hosted by the Governor of Cross River, who believed that the contest could attract visitors to cultural festivals like that boat regatta of the Efik people of southeastern Nigeria. Tourism was one of the ways the Nigerian government hoped to reduce its economic dependence on crude oil profits. On the night of Thursday, November 21, the motorized stage that would be used for the final on December 7 was due to arrive in Abuja.
The southern city of Port Harcourt was chosen as the venue for the ‘Ethnic Fashion Show’, which would be held on Saturday, November 23 and where 14 of the best Nigerian designers would dress the 85 delegates. The Nigerian Fashion Designers Association was perfecting its plan to make a dramatic impression at Miss World. The country’s top designers, including Patsy Creation, DAKOVA, Remi Lagos, Out of Africa, Bruno Creazioni and Mon-Ami Regalia, were preparing to dress the 85 candidates in the long-awaited ethnic fashion show. They were asked to design outfits that reflected African culture and style, using indigenous fabrics. Each of them was given the measurements of the candidates that they would wear but would only know personally on the day of the parade, whose images could be seen later during the broadcast of the finals.
NEW CONTROVERSIES ARISE.-
The Miss World pageant was plunged into a new controversy after it was revealed that 11 children in the host country, Nigeria, could suffer amputation of their hands as punishment for petty theft. In early November, eleven contestants threatened to leave the contest over the subject of Amina Lawal, who was facing death by stoning for having sex outside of marriage. However, the latest revelations about the country’s human rights record once again threatened the event, scheduled for December 7. The youngest child facing amputation was 13-year-old Abudahar Musa, convicted of stealing a cow. Others included 15-year-old Rabiu Bello, convicted of stealing a shirt from a clothesline.
Furthermore, the host nation was accused of other human rights abuses. Police in two cities had been accused of demolishing slums and arresting homeless people as they tried to “clean up” the country’s image in the days leading up to the contest. Journalist Ben Mkpuma told how he had been attacked by the police, while reporting on the clean-up of slum areas in the center of Abuja, the Nigerian capital. He said: “A group of policemen beat me. They were in the process of destroying these houses which they call illegal structures. People who live in them are being beaten if they do not move. So far, 1,000 houses have been destroyed or razed since Monday (November 11) when it started”. Mr Mkpuma of the Nigerian Financial Standard said the police were expected to continue with the “cleanup” until the Miss World candidates arrived in town three days before the finals on 7 December. A spokeswoman for ‘Human Rights Watch’ deplored the action, adding that it was following previous moves by the Nigerian government”. “There are many areas in Nigeria where the rule of law is not strong and these kinds of things have happened”, he said.
The last major event held in the country had been the final of the African Cup of Nations football tournament. During and after the match at the Lagos stadium, the police used violence against football fans. In Calabar, where the contestants were located, similar reports of human rights abuses had emerged. According to a state-controlled newspaper, the police had arrested “homeless people” who were taken to a psychiatric hospital. Police claimed that the homeless were mentally ill and needed “four weeks” of treatment, which meant they would be released after the contest ended. Ironically, the “homeless cleanup” began the same day the Miss World hopefuls arrived to be greeted by the local state governor before traveling to a vacation spot, one of many the Nigerian government hoped would benefit of the Show.
DISRUPTS BEGIN AFTER ARTICLE ABOUT MISS WORLD.-
On Saturday, November 16, the Christian journalist Isioma Daniel published an article titled “The World at Your Feet” accompanied by photographs of many of the contestants for Miss World 2002 in the newspaper ‘This Day’ where it read the following: that it was immoral to bring 92 women to Nigeria, asking them to feast on vanity. What would (the prophet) Muhammad think? In all honesty, he would probably have chosen a wife from among them (the contestants)”. This angered Islamic militants who started the riots and set fire to the regional office of the aforementioned Nigerian newspaper in the city of Kaduna on Wednesday, November 20. “The ‘This Day’ office was destroyed. They burned the whole building. The correspondent was lucky not to be in the office at the time of the attack”, said editor Eniola Bello. The newspaper’s correspondent in Kaduna was a Christian woman, but she had not been the author of the article. The police were protecting staff from ‘This Day’ and hundreds of heavily armed security forces were deployed to guard the newspaper’s offices in that nation of 122 million people. Nigerian Muslim fundamentalist Umma, who declared a “grave religious emergency,” immediately issued a statement calling on the government to stop the contest on December 7, already plagued by controversy. “As a result of the unspeakable pain caused to Muslims… you cannot predict what may happen if the contest continues”, the group said in a statement.
The incident in the northern city of Kaduna sparked tensions in other parts of the predominantly Islamic region where sectarian unrest had already killed thousands of people in the past three years. Residents said police had been put on alert in the nearby town of Kano, another hotbed of sectarian violence. Witnesses said that hundreds of irate Islamists chanting “Allahu Akbar” (God is the greatest) participated in the attack on the Kaduna office of ‘This Day’, an independent Lagos-based daily newspaper, located in a renovated village in a exclusive area of the city. “They said they were protesting a story in the ‘This Day’ newspaper last Saturday that Muhammad had married one of the beauty queens”, said a witness, although the newspaper had retracted the report and published an apology. “To all our Muslim brothers and sisters”, the apology began, “we regret that the representation of the Holy Prophet Muhammad in a comment written by one of our collaborators is not only unjustified, but completely provocative”.
Outraged Muslim youths wreaked havoc, destroying churches and attacking Christian neighborhoods and homes in Kaduna, a ‘Sharia’ state and home to many of the country’s Muslim scholars. “If the government does not take action when Muslims are offended, then they are justified in taking whatever action they see fit,” said Aminu Bashir, a businessman from Kaduna. “We believe in Muhammad,” said Muslim businessman Alhaji Gombe. “He is the messenger of God, and even their Jesus that they worship, we know that he is a prophet. We cannot say anything against him”. The riots continued on Thursday, November 21, and there were already 105 dead and more than 500 injured. In the aftermath of the riots, many people remained inside houses that were set on fire by protesters. Shehu Sani of the Kaduna-based Civil Rights Congress said he saw a crowd stab a young man, then force a gasoline-filled tire around his neck and burn him alive. Sani said he saw three other bodies in other parts of the city. Alsa Hassan, founder of another human rights group, ‘Alsa Care’, said she saw protesters drag a passenger out of his car and beat him to death. Schools and shops hastily closed as hordes of youths shouting “Allahu Akhbar,” or “God is great,” lit makeshift barricades in the streets made of tires and garbage, sending plumes of black smoke rising over the city. Others were heard singing “Down with Beauty” and “Miss World is Sin”.
Hundreds of police and soldiers were deployed aboard vans, firing tear gas at protesters marching through abandoned streets, waving tree branches and palm fronds. And the violence continued for almost a week. Muslim extremists burned at least four churches and stabbed, beat and burned bystanders believed to be Christians. Soon, Christian residents retaliated, turning many city enclaves into virtual battle zones, burning mosques, houses and cars owned by the Muslim majority, lighting tire barricades in the predominantly Christian suburbs of Kaduna. A local businessman, Lateef Mohammed, said he saw young people smashing the windows of two small churches in Badarawa, a predominantly Muslim area. Two other witnesses interviewed separately gave similar reports. “I rushed home. I was very tense,” said businessman Mohammed in a telephone interview, explaining how he had shouted “Allah Akhbar” for fear of enraging the protesters. An off-duty army officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, witnessed young men wearing red headscarves set fire to a Catholic church in Tudun Wada, another Muslim-majority neighborhood. Protests were also reported in the heavily Muslim neighborhoods of Rigasa and Kabala Doki, where witnesses said mobs smashed the windows of several parked cars. Police and soldiers were hard pressed to contain the fighting, despite government officials declaring a curfew from 6 pm to 6 am.
Islamic fundamentalist groups had warned for several months about protests against the contest, prompting organizers to postpone the final until after the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Miss World publicist Stella Din said the pageant organizers hoped calm would quickly return to Kaduna. “We are very, very sad that it has come to this, even if there is a loss of a life, it saddens us. We call on everyone to please act in moderation”, Din said. Both the Miss World organization and President Obasanjo had blamed “irresponsible journalism” for the problem. Obasanjo called “blasphemous” an article published in the newspaper ‘This Day’ that appeared to have caused the riots.
TWO CONTESTANTS WITHDREW THE CONTEST.-
As a result of everything that was happening, Julia Morley and the candidates for Miss World 2002 canceled the activities in southern Nigeria and rushed back to Abuja, the capital, where they remained locked in the last floors of the Nicon Hilton hotel, the most luxurious from Nigeria. Due to the events, a performance of the contestants in Port Harcourt on Friday, November 22, and the Ethnic Fashion Show, which was scheduled for Saturday, November 23, was canceled. Two of the 84 candidates who had come to Nigeria to compete in the fifty-second edition of the contest, Miss CANADA (Lynsey Ann Bennett) and Miss KOREA (Yoo-Kyoung Jang) decided to leave Nigeria on their own on Friday, November 22, after learning that the riots had caused many fatalities. Other girls, such as the candidates from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the United States, Hong Kong, Belgium, India and Barbados had also expressed their intention to leave the contest if it continued in Nigeria. Julia Morley had a “pep talk” with the Misses and discovered that some of them wanted to leave. A spokeswoman for President Olusegun Obasanjo had begged the competitors not to withdraw. “The contestants are not in any danger. They are guarded by presidential security. Nigeria sees them as ambassadors for their countries,” he said.
Miss Scotland, Paula Murphy, said: “A beauty pageant is not worth dying for and I want to go home.” “They’re using us as an excuse. People are killing each other and saying it’s all due to Miss World. I can’t afford that. I’ll go home as soon as possible.” Miss England, Daniella Luan, told reporters: “I wanted to take the first flight home. I was scared, terrified.” Miss Ireland Lynda Duffy said: “I want to be safe, that is more important than any title.” For her part, Miss Philippines, Kate Manalo, was interviewed by CNN, and said that she believed that the event should continue: “It would certainly be unwise to cancel the entire contest. A lot of hard work, sacrifice, on the part of the contestants. A change of place would be the best solution”. Miss Brazil, Taísa Thomsen, and Miss Finland, Hanne Hynynen, expressed the same sentiments, while Miss India, Shruti Sharma, said that several girls had panicked and that created terror among the other young women. Miss Uruguay, Natalia Cabezas, said that: “Here we are all very well, what happens is that the newspapers enlarge everything”. For her part, the Venezuelan Goizeder Azúa said: “The organization took measures and security has been reinforced and the candidates have received the visit of several Ambassadors”.
But Miss Canada, Lynsey Bennett, withdrew due to safety concerns. “That is not why I came here, morally. It is not why I am here”, said the Canadian beauty. “Lynsey is under the protection of the Canadian government in Nigeria”, said Sylvia Stark, president of Miss Canada International, who had spoken with Lynsey by phone on Thursday. “We are trying to get her out, but we don’t know when we can get her a flight”. Bennett’s mother said her daughter planned to rejoin the pageant if it was held in London. “If she is allowed to participate, I think my husband and I would definitely go. I hope they allow her to compete again, it is the only fair thing to do”. Hours later, Miss Canada’s mother said her daughter had called her from London to tell her that she had arrived safely and that the Canadian consulate in London was fixing things. “We’re not sure we can get you a flight to Ottawa today, but we are very relieved that she is safe. I mean, when people are killed by a beauty pageant, it is better to leave”. “She has lost more than 12 pounds”, said Mrs. Marnie Bennett. For her part, Miss Korea had no intention of rejoining the pageant. Yoo-Kyoung Jang said that she would not be able to smile in the competition knowing that many people had perished in the religious riots in Nigeria.
FIGHT TO THE END.-
For Astrid Carolina Herrera, Miss World ’84, the possibility of withdrawing from the contest would be a decision that would correspond to the Venezuelan candidate. “I would not withdraw. I believe that our representative should not fear for her life, since she has the security mechanisms of the contest that are effective.” She also added that attending the event was like a ‘dream come true’ and reaching the end was “as important a responsibility as being an ambassador for the country.” She stressed that beyond political or religious conflicts “it is sad that these extremes have been reached. Miss World is a beauty pageant with a purpose and its mission is to help the children of the world.”
CONTEST CANCELED IN NIGERIA.-
The violence had spread to Abuja on Friday, November 22, where the Miss World competition would take place. There were serious riots just blocks from the luxurious five-star Nicon Hilton hotel, where the candidates were staying, who remained guarded by the Nigerian police and army guards. Thousands of worshipers protesting after Friday prayers at Abuja’s national mosque set cars on fire just half a mile from the aforementioned hotel. President Olusegun Obasanjo said security would be strengthened. The contestants seemed unaware at dawn on Friday that the conflict had gotten close enough to be able to see it from the windows of their hotel. “The Miss World organization and the Nigerian government have done everything possible to ensure our safety,” said Miss Australia, Nicole Gazal, in a statement to a newspaper in her country. The Miss World spokesperson, Stella Din told reporters: “We regret these incidents, but this is not Miss World’s fault. It is the result of irresponsible journalism. The event will definitely continue.” The police fired tear gas and restored calm in Abuja in a matter of hours. The BBC in London published a poll, where the majority of readers voted to cancel the event to avoid further bloodshed. The national directors of the candidates were very concerned about the situation.
But the tumult in Kaduna continued to defy the 24-hour curfew. Plumes of smoke billowed over Kaduna on Friday as both sides set fire to and demolished houses in segregated ethnic neighborhoods. In a minority Christian district, an elderly woman scanned the smoking ruins of her home. Nearby, Tunde Adeyemi, a 25-year-old Christian, recounted how he and his friends fought against Muslims. “We only had stones. They shot us and we stoned them”, he said. But Joe Adamu, a Muslim tailor, said the Christians were armed with automatic weapons, while the Muslims had stones and knives. Five churches and an unknown number of mosques had been burned by Friday. Red Cross workers recovered several burned bodies. “A lot of people died. We still don’t know exactly how many”, said Emmanuel Ijewere, president of the Nigerian Red Cross.
After the third day of rioting, on the night of Friday the 22nd, a decision was made to abandon plans to hold the pageant in Nigeria and transfer it to London. It was a blow to the organizers who had invested millions of dollars in the event. Stella Din, a publicist for the contest in Abuja, told The Guardian newspaper: “We made the decision shortly before midnight after careful consideration and in the general best interest of Nigeria and the contestants”. “The decision was made for the good of the nation, although we believe that this violence is not related to us, we did not want more bloodshed”. “We never worried about the safety of the participants, they were never in danger. But we didn’t want people to use Miss World as an excuse to sow violence against their neighbors, burn houses, destroy property and kill people. Nothing has ever happened like this before, but we made this decision in the best interest of Nigeria and Miss World”. Following the retirement of a couple of girls and the intention of others to retire, Din said that: “We decided that we could not do the event with half of the contestants, although I do not have the freedom to say how many wanted to leave”. “We are leaving Nigeria tomorrow”. The short announcement, which did not elaborate on the decision to change the venue, came after three days of rioting sparked by a newspaper reference to the prophet Muhammad. By that time, the death toll in Kaduna from the riots already exceeded 200 people. Julia Morley said: “We understand the differences, we also understand that the elections are coming, but we are not us, we are not political football, we should not be used that way. You all know that Miss World had nothing to do with the riots. You all know that being here we had nothing to do with it, but it’s a good headline, and the problem with today’s world is that they are looking for headlines, not the truth”.
Edwin Ukanwa, deputy director of publicity for the State Security Service, said that Simon Kolawole, editor of the Saturday edition of This Day, and reporter Isioma Daniel had been arrested Thursday but no charges had been filed. However, Isioma Daniel, the infamous columnist, fled Nigeria. It was pronounced fatwa or death sentence for her in the state of Zamfara, in the north of the ‘Sharia’. Miss World was going to be the biggest event in Nigeria and, for some, a sign that things were starting to change for the better. “We have really lost a lot, in terms of our reputation, and even revenue for the government. It’s not good”, said Bimpe Ogunjobi, a Lagos resident. “Our reputation with foreigners is simply not good. The negative perception of Nigeria must be erased. It really must be erased.” “We had a privilege, but we threw it to another country,” Onikoyi Eso said. “Many countries would have loved to host this event, but God gave us the opportunity and we did not know how to take advantage of it.” There may not be a direct link between the murders and the failed beauty pageant, but Nigeria had been polarized along religious and ethnic lines long before Miss World called it. The organizers and the government took great risk trying to organize such a controversial event in Nigeria’s volatile atmosphere. The contest may have moved on, but it opened a Pandora’s box in its wake. Their only achievement was to highlight how weak Nigeria’s grip on democracy and development really was.
On Saturday, November 23, the Miss World contestants packed their belongings, paid their hotel bills, and left Nigeria in the early hours of Sunday, the 24th, after the religious clashes, which flared in part because of the pageant, continued for a forth consecutive day. Eyewitnesses said the violence continued until Saturday morning, although a Red Cross spokesperson said calm had returned to the streets by mid-afternoon where burned bodies lay next to burned houses, overturned cars and looted shops. The Red Cross had refused to provide a death toll since Friday. Julia Morley blamed the foreign press for the uproar because they “deliberately tried to tear Nigeria apart” over ‘Sharia’ in the run-up to the event. She added that the violence should not have deterred the country from hosting the contest. “If we considered violence around the world, it wouldn’t even be in England. We had Northern Ireland and no one cared to come to England. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying if we now look and say ‘where there is violence in the world, we can’t go there’, we’ll all end up staying home. What we have to do is stop being violent”, Morley said at a news conference. Fidelis Anosike, Marketing Director for Miss World Nigeria said that “there is no link between what is happening in Kaduna and Miss World. The girls have been here, they have been having a good time, and today we spoke with about ten of them. And all of them said that they are sad and that they do not want to leave, but that they have to leave because they were ordered to leave”.
Dozens of beauty queens smiled and waved as they loaded suitcases and shopping bags onto a chartered Cameroon Airlines Boeing 747, which took off, about 12 hours later than scheduled, at 3:45 a.m. local time (02:45 GMT) with destination to the UK. Miss World President Julia Morley told reporters that the pageant had been forced to leave Nigeria due to media coverage linking the pageant to violence, but added that the event would remain a Nigerian pageant in spirit. The chairman of the Nigerian organizing committee for the aborted contest, Ben Murray-Bruce, said a great opportunity to showcase Nigeria had been missed. The final of the contest in London was scheduled for December 7, the same day that had been planned for Nigeria. Julia Morley added: “We may be gone, but we are still here. We are still here because the event was here, we have a lot of wonderful images from Nigeria and we are going to use them. The final of the contest will only be in London, but the heart of the show is here in Nigeria. Nigerians, I hope, will continue to support it and I hope they come to London to see it because it is a Nigerian show”.
RETURN TO LONDON.-
The 82 beauties who were still in the contest returned to the city of London on Sunday, November 24, with visible traces of fatigue, but in the mood to smile. They arrived at Gatwick airport at 7:30 in the morning and stayed again at the Sheraton Heathrow hotel. The girls were given Sunday off and the Miss World organization asked the Sheraton Heathrow hotel to pick up the phones so as not to communicate calls to the queens, this in order for the girls to rest throughout the day and recover from recent events. Miss England, Daniella Luan, told the BBC that the candidates should now forget what they experienced in Nigeria “and just spend a few good days in London”. The move from the contest to the British capital was “just sad” for Nigerians, who had rejoiced with the show, Luan said, considering that only “50% of Nigerians are Muslim; They didn’t want us there, and I think we have to respect their feelings”. “Obviously they are all a little disturbed by what happened; the main thing now is that they are back in Britain”, said Angie Beasley, organizer of Miss England, adding that “in Nigeria you felt that anything could happen”. The incidents, which began on Wednesday and continued on Saturday When it became known that the contest had been transferred to London, they left 215 dead, 500 injured and 5,000 displaced people in Kaduna, the Nigerian Red Cross reported.
On the other hand, according to Julia Morley, it was the international press who caused the failure of the contest in Nigeria. “You are my bread and butter and I need you”, she told reporters at a press conference. “But they are trying to kill me and I hate this. They are trying to end my business”, said Morley who claimed to have lost just over £ 2,000,000. Meanwhile she was still looking for a London theater to hold the contest and said she would do so on December 7 even if she had to set up an awning in Hyde Park, due to broadcast commitments she had with 130 countries. The Grosvenor House Hotel had offered to give up its main hall to stage the event, but this could not be until December 15 or 16 and the Royal Albert Hall and Earls Court theaters in London were already engaged. On the other hand, the Italian city of Taormina, on the island of Sicily, announced its intention to host the contest if Morley could not find a venue for the contest.
The Miss World candidates now faced another problem. The feminists demanded the cancellation of the beauty pageant and said that if the competition continued, the contestants “would be wearing swimsuits stained with blood”. After plans to hold the contest in Nigeria sparked Christian-Muslim riots in which at least 200 people were killed, the organizers moved it to Britain, but there, too, they were met with a storm of protests. Former actress Glenda Jackson, a member of parliament, called for the contest to be suspended. “The best thing they can do after these bloody and fratricidal events is to cancel the competition,” she said. Australian feminist Germaine Greer declared the prospect of holding the event in London “horrifying”. For her part, novelist Kathy Lette said the contest was like “a shipment of nuclear waste despised by all”.
Candidates from countries that had boycotted the event for being held in Nigeria had not yet determined whether they would participate, now that Miss World had been moved to London. In Panama, the situation was being analyzed to determine whether they would send Yoselin Sánchez, while the Miss Germany corporation was awaiting authorization from Miss World to send its representative, Simone Wolf-Reinfurt, already recovered from her illness. For their part, the Danish Masja Juel, the Swiss Nadine Vinzens and the Austrian Celine Roschek announced that despite the transfer, they would not attend the contest. “It should be a happy event, but personally, I feel like all the happiness is gone,” said Miss Denmark. On the other hand, Spanish television said that the Miss Spain organization would consult Lola Alcocer to find out if she was willing to go to the contest, now that it was being held in London. For her part, Vanessa Carreira, Miss South Africa, told the Johannesburg Sunday Times that, in her opinion, the pageant should never have been held in Nigeria, in addition to having been scheduled on the wrong date, the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. “A lot of problems could have been avoided, and now we have more than 100 people killed for no reason”, she said.
THEY DON’T WANT MISS CANADA BACK.-
According to unofficial sources, Julia Morley was not going to accept Miss Canada again in the pageant, because she left the competition before the venue was moved to London. Miss Canada flew from Abuja to London early in the morning on Friday, November 22, on a flight organized by Canadian consular officials. But, because she withdrew hours before the decision was made to move the pageant to a safer city, she was no longer eligible to compete. “She called us at 5 am on Friday to tell us how terrified she was,” said Lynsey’s mother, Marnie Bennett, in Ottawa. “She said that the military were all over the streets and she had heard that 105 people had died.” Organizers in Canada had attempted to re-enter Bennet into the event, but apparently the British organization had rejected such a request.
DECLARATIONS OF MISS VENEZUELA.-
Afflicted by the recent events in Nigeria and tired by the hours of flight to London, the new home of Miss World, Goizeder Azúa, Miss Venezuela World 2002, took advantage of the afternoon of Sunday, November 24, to rest and establish contact with her family. “I am sorry for everything that happened, especially because we had a very good experience with the people of Nigeria”, she told the newspaper El Universal by telephone. Likewise, Goizeder confessed to having been oblivious to everything that happened and learning through the media about the disturbances unleashed by the statements of a newspaper. “It is sad that they associate us with violence. During the dinner on Friday, the organizers explained to us what was happening and recommended that we have our luggage ready from that night because we would probably move to London on Saturday”, commented Azúa.
Anguished by the events, the word withdrawal hovered for a few moments in the Azúa’s mind, however, she confessed that there was no ‘drastic situation’ that had a direct impact on her to withdraw since the organization of the contest maintained strong security measures to protect the integrity of the candidates. “From the beginning I agreed to go to the contest in Nigeria, so being there halfway and quitting meant leaving behind a lot of important things for me. I learned about the participants who left and I respect their decisions, but I continue to the end”. She noted that rehearsals and preparations would begin that week for the final gala – dedicated to Nigeria – to be held on December 7. “We are all well and we have handled this optimistically because we want to carry a message of reflection. Although it is a beauty contest, it has a humanitarian side, it is to associate beauty with a purpose,” she said. In addition to Nigeria, the tall queen did not ignore the Venezuelan socio-political issue. “I know the situation in my country and that gives me the strength to continue with this dream, express a positive message, that of the woman who wants to improve herself. I will try not to grieve, although we must not silence ourselves in the face of these atrocities but hope that each one with your good actions, help positive things have greater value”, she concluded.
ACTIVITIES IN LONDON.-
On Monday, November 25, Julia Morley held a press conference accompanied by the 82 Miss World 2002 beauties at the Sheraton Heathrow hotel. “It was not a mistake to celebrate it in Nigeria. What was a mistake was for a journalist to make a comment that she shouldn’t have made”, Morley said after her return from the West African nation. She added, “I’m sad about the riots, but does that mean you can’t go nowhere in the world just because there could be a riot?”. Morley also said that she was still looking for a location in London for the event, scheduled for December 7. She said that she had received several offers, but that no deals had been closed. But actress-turned-politician Glenda Jackson demanded that the contest be canceled “out of respect for the people who died in Nigeria.” “It’s such an antediluvian concept anyway”. A photo of the girls on the plane celebrating with champagne caused stupor and protests in London.
Miss Nigeria Chinenye Ochuba told the media: “People from the north have always had problems, whether religious or political, for one reason or another, so I think this could be an excuse to start something, but I don’t think that the contest has nothing to do with the riots, nothing at all”. For her part, Caroline Chamorand, Miss France said: “I was very happy to be in Nigeria and I really think we could have had the pageant there. We had no concerns, our safety was very important. In fact, they used us as a pretext. The riots that occurred is because we are in an electoral period and it was a good pretext to use us…”. Katerina Georgiadou, Miss Greece added: “I had a great time in Nigeria, the people were very friendly, very warm, they used to say ‘hello’ to us on the streets, there was never any problem and I think whatever was going on there was something we didn’t know. It’s very sad because people should love other people because God is love, I think, and I was very upset about what was happening but I never felt any fear there, there were a lot of policemen and they were taking care of us, but I’m just sad about what has happened since we had to go back to London so that the contest could be held here”. Daniella Luan, Miss England, recounted the following: “I did not see bodies or smoke columns or hear bullet shots around the hotel. But the threat was so real that I could almost smell it. When the buses arrived and took us to the airport with a military escort, I was very relieved. Looking out the window of the plane while crossing the English Channel was wonderful. I am glad that Miss World is going to show the images that we filmed in Nigeria. It will give everyone a chance to see the bright side of the country. When I saw the relief on my parents’ faces, I knew it was the right decision to go back home”.
On Tuesday, November 26, delegates attended a “do it yourself” makeup class in a lounge at the Heathrow Sheraton hotel. They received lessons and advice from Gillian Lentin, an internationally recognized South African-based makeup artist. Some of her work included Pop Idols SA and the recently concluded New York Fashion Week. She worked in all four ‘Faces of Africa’ competitions, as well as the ’98 Oscars in Los Angeles, this being her tenth participation in Miss World. Later that night, the girls received a special treat: a night out on the town. The first stop was ‘Pizza Hut’ for dinner and then they moved to the Royal Albert Hall to see a show. It was a Christmas special and an adventure in multimedia entertainment: music, magic and comedy, presented by Robert Wells and Joe Labero in a program entitled “Rhapsody in Rock Christmas Spectacular”. It was a glamorous and spectacular night that ended around 11pm. The candidates received a special honor and also had the opportunity to meet some of the artists.
It was also possible to know that night Julia Morley had accepted Miss Canada’s request to re-enter the beauty pageant. And other good news was the announcement that several countries that had boycotted the pageant in Nigeria, now planned to participate in Miss World. Representatives from Mauritius, Tahiti, Panama, Spain, Germany and South Africa would now be present at the contest. Germany and South Africa announced the sending of two young ladies to replace their titleholders, because Simone and Vanessa, the current beauty queens of those countries, could not travel: The first for work reasons, and the second for having to deliver the crown to her successor on December 8. Germany entered Indira Selmic, the second runner-up for Miss Germany World, while South Africa would send Miss Junior Africa winner Karen Lourens. It was also known that the Puerto Rican singer Chayanne would arrive in London on December 5 to be the musical artist of the event, where he would sing his hit ‘Torero’. It was also revealed that Julia Morley had finally found a place to hold the event: Alexandra Palace, located in Wood Green, north London.
On Wednesday, November 27, the contestants spent the day busy recording their ‘reality shots’ and that day the South African Karen Lourens arrived. On Thursday 28th, intensive rehearsals for the show began at the ‘West London Film Studio’. The girls began to get familiar with the floor plan and steps and were being put to the test by famous choreographer Donna Derby. “I was a little sad because it wasn’t our fault. But we have to move on. It’s a great experience,” said Miss Italy, Susanne Zuber, referring to the cancellation of the contest in Nigeria, while taking a break from the rehearsals. Meanwhile, members of the Miss World organization went to take a look at the venue for this year’s grand finale, Alexandra Palace. The Great Hall would be the venue for the final show, while the West Hall would be the venue for the Coronation Ball. Meanwhile, in Seville, Lola Alcocer, Miss Spain, participated in a press conference to announce that she would join the Miss World pageant, so she would travel to London the next day. That day, Miss Canada, Miss Germany and the official Miss South Africa arrived in the British capital.
On Friday the 29th, the girls were divided into groups. Some continued with the intense rehearsals that were carried out for the final show, while others went to the London Aquarium for filming. In accordance with the organizers’ decision to ensure that this year’s pageant retained a Nigerian flavor despite the change in location, members of the Iroko Theater Company were invited to give the girls a taste of the theater, the music and traditional Nigerian dance. The participants were dressed in African garb and received dance lessons and some traditional songs. The London-based Iroko Theater Company works mainly in schools, community centers, hospitals, institutes for young offenders, etc, using traditional African theater art forms of storytelling, drama, music and dance to help educate children and youth. At night, the entrants went to the Megabowl of Feltham, Surrey to participate in a bowling tournament, where Miss Canada, Lynsey Bennett won, while Elise Maria Boulogne of Holland came second. That night Miss Spain, Miss Panama and Miss Tahiti arrived, so the group of participants was, until that moment, 88.
WEBMASTER’S CHOICE AWARD.-
The Norwegian candidate, Kathrine Sorland, won on Thursday, November 28, the “Webmaster’s Choice Award of Miss World 2002” awarded by the Global Beauties page. The Nordic beauty was chosen by 28 webmasters of pages associated with beauty pageants. The runner-ups were the representatives of Hong Kong, Colombia, Australia and Kazakhstan.
TWO SOUTH AFRICAN CANDIDATES IN LONDON.-
The organization Miss South Africa denied that Karen Lourens was the representative of that country in Miss World. Carolyn Baldwin, the promoter of Lourens, said that her girl had traveled to London on Wednesday morning to join the group of participants. The truth was that Miss Lourens, who until Tuesday appeared on the official page of Miss World, was removed from it unexpectedly on Wednesday and replaced by Claire Sabbagha, who had been the 1st. runner-up of the ‘Miss South Africa 2002’ and who in principle doubted her participation because she was 25 years old. On Thursday night, Julia Morley met the two young South African women. By franchise agreement, she accepted Sabbagha as the official representative, but invited Karen Lourens to remain as a special guest at the event. However, Lourens, disappointed, returned to Johannesburg.
The London gambling houses had started betting on the contest. The houses William Hill, Ladbrokes and Bet365 gave Miss India as the winner. Nordicbet gave the Australian as the maximum to beat, and Intertops mentioned the candidates from Russia and Aruba as the delegates who could become Miss World 2002. For its part, the Global Beauties page, after consulting the world’s webmasters and experts, listed their 20 favorites: 1-Norway, 2-Russia, 3-Hong Kong, 4-Colombia, 5-India, 6-Australia, 7-Nigeria, 8-Venezuela, 9-Kazakhstan, 10-Turkey, 11 -Sweden, 12-Puerto Rico, 13-Cyprus, 14-Peru, 15-Brazil, 16-Jamaica, 17-China, 18-Ghana, 19-Nicaragua and 20-Holland.
13- Czech Republic
13- Northern Ireland
|William Hill |
2- China (+7)
4- Venezuela (-1)
4- Russia (-1)
4- Norway (-1)
4- Germany (-1)
4- Colombia (-1)
4- Barbados (-1)
10- Vietnam (-1)
10- Turkey (1)
10- Nigeria (-1)
10- Namibia (-1)
10- Northern Ireland
10- Brazil (-1)
3- Northern Ireland
8- Puerto Rico
19- Czech Rep.
19- Hong Kong
Here is the list of roommates at Miss World 2002:
|American Virgin Islands – Antigua & Barbuda||Czech Republic – Northern Ireland||Trinidad & Tobago – New Zealand|
|Brazil – Angola||Australia – Lebanon||Curaçao – India|
|Chile – Colombia||Albania – Yugoslavia||Uganda – Zimbabwe|
|Russia – Ukraine||Estonia – Romania||Latvia – Kazakhstan|
|Singapore – China||Venezuela – Uruguay||Mexico – Nicaragua|
|Holland – Turkey||USA – England||Bahamas – Barbados|
|Ireland – Malta||Sweden – Finland||Argentina – Aruba|
|Algeria – France||Japan – Vietnam||Israel – Norway|
|Ghana – Tanzania||Wales – Belgium||Italy – Hungary|
|Nigeria – Swaziland||Macedonia – Bulgaria||Cyprus – Greece|
|Guyana – Belize||Panama – Spain||Philippines – Hong Kong|
|Puerto Rico – Ecuador||Malaysia – Thailand||Bolivia – Gibraltar|
|Poland – Lithuania||Jamaica – Kenya||Bosnia & Herzegovina – Croatia|
|Slovenia – Slovakia||Botswana – Namibia||South Africa – Germany|
|Tahiti – Peru *||Scotland – Canada, Peru, Canada *||Peru – Korea, Scotland, Tahiti *|
* Miss Peru was with Miss Korea until she withdrew, then went with Miss Scotland who at first was with Miss Canada until she withdrew and, in the end, she stayed with the newcomer Miss Tahiti. While Miss Canada, on returning, went back to Miss Scotland’s room.
* One of London’s leading bookmakers stopped accepting bets on the Miss World pageant after more than 100 people were killed during unrest in the host country, Nigeria. William Hill said they did not want to be associated with the competition, which had been dogged by controversy. Spokesman Graham Sharpe said: “We do not want to be accused of inflaming the current situation”.
* Miss Brazil, when interviewed by the Brazilian newspaper “Diario Catarinense”, said that her worst memory of her days in Nigeria was when she and other contestants heard the false rumor that some 20 candidates had also been assassinated. Miss Belgium panicked when the riots began, thinking that the candidates were to blame for the deaths of so many innocents.
* Due to personal commitments, the Nigerian Agbani Darego, Miss World 2001, did not return to London on November 24 with Julia Morley and the rest of the contestants. She did it days later.
* On Saturday November 30, the special “U-Decide” of Miss World 2002 was broadcast to several countries, only half an hour long. Venezuela did not broadcast this special due to the political situation that existed at that time as a result of the oil strike.
* The candidate from the Philippines, Kate Manalo, led the vote through messages sent, via cell phone, to the Miss World organization. Manalo was ahead with a third of the total votes. Next came the candidates from Vietnam, with 21.75%, Puerto Rico with 10.53%, and Tanzania with 10.25% of the votes. Rounding out the top 10 were Australia (2.42%), Jamaica (2.28%), Hong Kong (2.12%), Aruba (1.71%), Slovenia (1.19%) and Curaçao (1.17%). The other 78 delegates, together, accounted for only 12% of the total number of votes received up to that time.
* The Miss World organization announced that this year, for the first time in history, 20 semifinalists would be chosen instead of the usual ‘Top 10’.
* The tallest and shortest contestants came from Africa. The tallest was Miss Ghana, at 1.87m tall, while the shortest was Miss Swaziland, at 1.59m.
* The youngest participant was Miss American Virgin Islands, who had just turned 17 years old. The oldest girls, with 25, were Miss Argentina, Miss Bahamas, Miss Nicaragua and Miss South Africa.
* The candidates from Turkey, Norway, the Philippines, Venezuela and India were among the favorites of the same participants.
* Miss Puerto Rico’s silicones had caused curiosity among the other girls.
* Former Miss United Kingdom, Claire Smith and American actor Sean Kanan were selected as the hosts of the pageant to be held at Alexandra Palace in London. Claire would have this role for the second year in a row.
* Julia Morley confirmed that the new Miss World would return to Nigeria to fulfill her own commitments of the contest.
* Regarding the cancellation of the contest in Nigeria, Julia Morley said: “The safety of the girls always comes first and I had to get them out of there. In the short term, it is a real setback. But it will not affect Miss World in the long term because we are getting stronger and stronger. We have already signed up to celebrate Miss World in China next year, Russia the following year and then in the United States”.
* Miss Scotland and Miss Australia were Julia Morley’s favorites, some candidates believed. Miss Scotland, who was a doctor, her fellow contestants called her “Doctor Scotland”. Perhaps for that reason, she was the one Julia Morley chose for most international press interviews. However, things changed after Miss Scotland wanted to withdraw because of the riots in Nigeria. Miss Australia was another beauty who had the grace of Mrs. Morley. She was always seen chatting with the Miss World president.
* Newcomers representing Spain, South Africa, Tahiti, Panama and Germany were practically excluded by the rest of the group. The candidates who were in the competition from the beginning were strongly opposed to the participation of the newcomers in the event.
* Las recién llegadas representantes de España, Sudáfrica, Tahití, Panamá y Alemania fueron prácticamente excluidas por el resto del grupo. Las candidatas que estuvieron en la competencia desde el principio, se oponían firmemente a la participación de las recién llegadas en el evento.
* One thing the candidates apparently hadn’t complained about was the food. Several delegates got fat, like, for example, Miss Colombia.
* Access to the girls was more difficult than ever. Even the national directors had to make appointments to speak with their candidates.
* Nicaraguan actress and Human Rights activist Bianca Jagger, was invited to judge the Miss World competition but she refused unless the sentence against Amina Lawal was overturned.
LAST WEEK OF COMPETITION.-
Saturday November 30th was dedicated exclusively to rehearsals and, in the evening, the girls went out to do some shopping at the Brent Cross Mall. It was a chance to stock up on some essentials and a chance to enjoy their amazing food fair. On Sunday, December 1, some candidates went to church and then went on some sightseeing. In addition, they went shopping at a well-known department store. Regarding the newcomers, the candidates did not show much enthusiasm. “Well, we have been working hard and going through difficult and tense times in the last three weeks. Is it fair that these five candidates arrive with only one week to go and have a chance to take the crown? I don’t think so”. commented an African beauty. That Sunday was the deadline for the last remaining candidate to join, Miss MAURITIUS (Karen Alexander). She did not arrive, so she was out of the competition. So the group of contestants was finally 88.
On the morning of Monday, December 2, a casting was held where the participants presented their skills and where the best 15 were chosen, who would formally present their talents during the ‘Miss World Family Party’ at the Sheraton Heathrow hotel that same night. Some girls danced, others sang and there were some who even cooked. The US candidate, Revekah Revels, was the most applauded after demonstrating her singing skills by performing the song “Stormy Weather”. For her part, the Venezuelan Goizeder Azúa, who in the past won several medals for her skill in Rhythmic Gymnastics, performed a choreography with colored ribbons, thus demonstrating her talent as a gymnast. Her roommate, the Uruguayan Natalia Figueras, did her best in flamenco dancing and Miss Peru, Marina Mora, danced a ‘marinera’, while the candidate from Thailand, Ticha Luengpairoj made a demonstration of culinary art by preparing an exotic dish in a matter of minutes and the representative from Japan, Yuko Nabeta, did a martial arts performance. Finally, Miss China, Ying-Na Wu, did a traditional Chinese dance and the girl from Turkey, Azra Akin, wowed everyone with her belly dance. A candidate from Eastern Europe tried to reveal more than just talent. She exaggerated in her movements when she danced in a tiny bathing suit. It was a very embarrassing moment, as the young woman had to be stopped and taken off center stage… Some judges were present at the Talent Show, observing the contestants, among them the Venezuelan Pilín León, Miss World 1981. The award for Best Talent would be awarded on Saturday during the Miss World 2002 finals.
Tuesday, December 3, was devoted exhaustively to rehearsals, this time at the Landmark Hotel in London. The private interview with the judges was scheduled for Wednesday, December 4, but it had to be postponed to Thursday, the 5th because some of the new arrivals had problems with their evening gowns. That Wednesday, the participants changed hotels and stayed at the Landmark hotel, an iconic 5-star hotel located in Marylebone, opened in 1899 and half an hour away from Alexandra Palace. On Thursday, the participants entered one of the meeting rooms of the Landmark hotel three by three, wearing their evening gowns, to be interviewed by the panel of nine judges for between seven and ten minutes for each group. Miss South Africa surprised the judges with sharp responses and great eloquence. The contestants who were interviewed in her group said the judges were visibly impressed by her. Miss Belize moved the judges with stories of faith when she had to face difficult moments in her life and another that could be a big surprise on Saturday was Miss Singapore, who had done very well in her talk with the judges along with Miss Philippines. Miss Mexico also did excellent. Very strong and confident, The Mexican beauty caught the attention of the judges, who asked her several questions about her studies in Architecture. Miss U.S.A., as expected, also scored high in her interview. Nigeria, Norway, Uganda, India and Turkey seemed to have done well and to be on the right track in the fight for a top 20 spot. Miss Brazil received some compliments for her sincerity and charisma. So did Miss Venezuela. The questions were mostly personal in nature. “Tell us about your plans for the future?”, “What would you do if you won?”, “How would you behave if your husband had 4 other wives?”, Were some of the questions they had to answer. In addition, the judges personalities saw the video of the girls in swimsuits, filmed in Nigeria.
That same Thursday, 86 of the 88 participants (Miss Ireland and Miss Spain were absent) posed for a group photo for photojournalists from one of the lounges of the Landmark hotel, where they were staying. In this meeting with the press it was announced that Miss United States, Rebekah Revels, had won the talent competition. The American sang her song “Stormy Weather” in front of journalists and photographers. During the press conference, Julia Morley played down the feminist protests and announced several of the plans she had for the coming months, such as the edition of a magazine that would be published worldwide, the opening of a cyber company for women and also reported that she had in mind to sell some of the contestants’ costumes to raise charity funds. She also said that a modeling agency would soon be opened, exclusive to the contest, as well as the introduction to the market of beauty products with the Miss World brand. She had no regrets about originally going to Nigeria nor had she been concerned about calls from many, including Ken Livingston, the mayor of London, to cancel the contest following the death of a large number of people in the Nigerian unrest. The Miss World President defended herself and said, “Was it worth it? Well, if you look at it from your point of view, I guess so, because it’s the journalists who caused it in the first place, in terms of the reporter in Nigeria who made the comment that she made. That was why there were riots, not because of Miss World. If you can understand that, you will realize that Miss World had nothing to do with it”.
When interviewed regarding the cancellation of the contest in Nigeria, Ben Murray-Bruce, Director General and Television Authority of Nigeria, told the media that “the impact is terrible. First of all you have to understand when you do something like this, a Third world nation trying to find its feet, trying to attract foreign investment, trying to project the right image for the country and all of a sudden you take everyone out of the country, it gives the impression that it is not safe, it gives the impression of that we can’t get it right. It’s the wrong impression, the press, I think, is responsible, exaggerating the proportions, and it makes it bad for all of us”.
Miss United States, Rebekah Revels: “Well, I certainly feel like everyone has a voice. I spoke to my franchise holders and my family and we felt the best thing to do was go to Nigeria and compete, simply because we listened and We believe Amina wanted us to be there, and our presence there was more important to her as a person. If at any point my presence had caused something to happen to her or other people, then I would have left. But I don’t think it was like that, I feel that journalists should be to blame for what happened, of the more than 100 people who were killed”. She added: “We cannot be directly connected with the deaths that unfortunately occurred. The Miss World organization can not be blamed for that, and I do not think it is a question of value, we must separate the two instances because they are not related”. For her part, Miss New Zealand, Rachel Maree Huljich, declared: “It has not happened because of Miss World. Miss World has nothing to do with that. We have been dragged into that, once again. Miss World is always drawn into that. We all know here that it is not our fault”. Miss Australia, Nicole Gazal said: “I think it has been a fabulous experience so far. I was saddened to leave Nigeria and I must say it was a great production, but I have had a great time and I can understand why we are here in London now”. “I think we are an example of tolerance and of being able to live together. We are girls from many different countries and cultures, and we can believe in different gods, but we live together in a tolerant way and we are doing our best to create happiness for everyone”, declared Miss Colombia, Natalia Peralta, while Miss Japan, Yuko Nabeta, confessed that “it would be a great day if the Miss World contest could be held in Nigeria, because as far as I know, the people of Nigeria are very friendly and very warm”. On Friday, December 6, the contestants went to Alexandra Palace for the first time to rehearse and in the evening they performed the Dress Rehearsal.
THE FUNDS OF THE COMPETITION WERE FROZEN.-
A London high court ordered to freeze the funds of the organizing company of the Miss World pageant, a day before the beauty pageant was held in the British capital. The order was given as a result of the lawsuit filed by the Nigerian promoter Angela Onyeador, who assured that the organizing company owed her half a million pounds (about 800 thousand dollars) after acting as guarantor at the Miss World gala dinner at the hotel Grosvenor House in London, on November 10. The freezing order, granted by Judge Peter Smith, prohibited Julia Morley-owned ‘Miss World Holdings’ from withdrawing money from her accounts or using funds raised through sponsorship or ticket sales. The case was due to return to court the following week.
DATA OF THE PARTICIPANTS.-
Miss Curaçao and Miss Nigeria participated in Miss Universe 2002. Miss Albania came from Miss Earth 2002 and Miss Russia had been 1st. runner-up in Miss Asia Pacific ’99. The Peruvian won the Miss Tourism Intl. ’01 while the Uruguayan won the International Queen of Flowers, the Pan-American Reign and was South American vice-queen in 2000. Miss Argentina was in the Elite Model Look ’95 and Miss India in the Femina Miss India 2001. Below, a table with information on each candidate for Miss World ’02:
|01||ALBANIA||Anjeza Maja||21||1.75||She is a student and wants to become an actress. Her hobbies include volleyball, basketball, swimming, Theatre, Cinematography, all kinds of music and to sing and dance.|
|02||ALGERIA||Lamia Saoudi||22||1.82||She is in her 4th year at the University of Science and Communications and wants to become a good journalist. Her hobbies are reading books and interesting articles, listening to music, aerobics, volleyball, basket-ball and travelling. Her dream is to become Miss World and represent The Arabic Women.|
|03||AMERICAN VIRGIN ISLANDS||Hailey Kalahni Cagan||17||N.A.||She is a student and lives in St John. Her ambition is to become a Lawyer. Her hobbies are volleyball, softball, reading, dancing and singing.|
|04||ANGOLA||Rosa Mujinga Muxito||21||1.75||She is from Hoji Ya Henda. She is studying Accountancy. Her hobbies are basketball, cooking, going to the beach and dancing the Tango.|
|05||ANTIGUA & BARBUDA||Zara Razzaq||19||N.A.||Her intention is to pursue a medical career in dermatology and to be the first registered Dermatologist in Antigua and Barbuda. She enjoys dancing calypso, reggae and jazz.|
|06||ARGENTINA||Tamara Henriksen||25||1.80||After completing high school in Technical English and Communications Science, she works in Public Relations in Buenos Aires. Her hobbies are swimming, bicycling, riding, aerobics, disco music and playing the saxophone.|
|07||ARUBA||Rachelle Chantal Oduber||21||1.84||She is studying Hotel Management and wants to work in the Tourism Industry. She is also a TV presenter. Her hobbies are swimming, bowling, reading and Latin dance music.|
|08||AUSTRALIA||Nicole-Rita Ghazal||23||1.70||She is half Swedish and half Lebanese and is a Bachelor of Commerce on Scholarship, Major on Management, Minor in Marketing at Bond University. Her hobbies are cooking, making jewelry, dancing, reading, swimming, sailing, skiing, ice skating, horse riding, kick boxing, yoga, tennis, squash, netball, bowling and rock climbing.|
|09||BAHAMAS||T’Shura Akeesha Ambrose||25||1.70||She is in her final year at Law School in the University of Wolverhampton at Holborn College, London. Her ambition is to become an Attorney-at-Law. Her hobbies are drama, debating, reading, jogging and dancing the Calypso.|
|10||BARBADOS||Natalie Webb-Howell||20||1.80||She has a Diploma in Information Technology and certificates in computerised accounts and fundamentals of computer operations. At present she is an Assistant Teacher for the Barbados Youth Service and pursuing advanced studies at the Caribbean School of Business Management. Her hobbies are netball, reading, Caribbean dance, singing and graphic art.|
|11||BELGIUM||Sylvie Isabelle Doclot||22||1.75||She is currently completing her bachelor’s degree in economics in Brussels. Her hobbies are jogging, swimming, volleyball, basketball and R&B Dance, and she loves nature and animals.|
|12||BELIZE||Karen Anita Russell||24||1.67||She completed a Degree in Business. Her goal is to become a member of Belize’s Diplomatic Corp. Her hobbies are basketball, tennis, modern dancing, traveling and Punta rock.|
|13||BOLIVIA||Alejandra Montero Chávez||17||1.70||She is from Itenez, Beni. She is a student and her hobbies are reading, listening to music and all types of dance.|
|14||BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA||Danijela Vins||17||1.75||She is attending secondary school, and is also a member of a dance club named “Shadows”, famous for its Latino American dance. She belongs a ‘Special Olympics Committee’ helping children with special needs. Her hobbies are acting, swimming, handball and basketball.|
|15||BOTSWANA||Lomaswati Dlamini||20||1.70||She was born in Swaziland and moved to Botswana when she was five years. She is currently doing a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. She belongs to the ‘HIV/Aids Squad Cadres’ helping to bring awareness to their Youth. Her hobbies include different sports, writing stories, reading, learning, cultural life and relaxing at home.|
|16||BRAZIL||Taísa Thomsen Severina||20||1.80||She completed secondary school which included a four year theatrical/television course. Her ambition is to become a Journalist and TV Hostess. Her hobbies are making baby clothes to raise funds for charities, tennis, swimming, reading, singing, Samba and belly Dancing.|
|17||BULGARIA||Desislava Atanasova Guleva||18||1.75||She graduated from the Foreign Language School in Pleven and she is working as a model. Her hobbies are badminton, dance, sports dance, travelling and meeting different people.|
|18||CANADA||Lynsey Bennett||22||1.72||She is a fourth year student, majoring in geography and French at Carelton University in Ottawa, and also studying Child Psychology and teaching the deaf. Her ambition is to be a Sports broadcaster. Her hobbies involve sports, soccer, football, hockey, golf and travelling.|
|19||CHILE||Daniela Sofía Casanova Müller||22||1.78||She grew up in Valparaiso, and she is studying physiology at the University of Viña Del Mar. Wants to upgrade her studies in Forensic Physiology. Her hobbies are aerobics, gym, cooking, handcrafting and dancing salsa and merengue.|
|20||CHINA, PEOPLE´S REPUBLIC||Ying-Na Wu||17||1.70||She is from Hainan Island. Wants to become an interior designer. Her hobbies are volleyball, sports, reading, travelling, singing and dance, especially her national dance.|
|21||COLOMBIA||Natalia Peralta Castro||21||1.75||She is in her 7th Semester of Dentistry at the University of Antioquia and wish to specialise in Paediatric Dentistry. Her hobbies are swimming, volleyball, basketball, skating, listening to music, contemporary, Arabian and Colombian dance, painting and clay sculpture.|
|22||CROATIA||Nina Slamic||18||1.78||She is from Sibenik and have completed a four year cosmetology course. Her ambition is to become a well-known makeup artiste. Her hobbies are volleyball, swimming, all types of modern dance and reading.|
|23||CURACAO||Ayannette Mary Ann Statia||19||1.75||She is currently studying Human Resource Management. Her hobbies are softball, painting, acting, salsa and folk dancing. She enjoys travelling and meeting new people.|
|24||CYPRUS||Anjela Drousiotou||21||1.72||She is graduated from High School where she achieved diplomas in Interior Design and now she is in her 4th year studying for a BA in Public Relations. She enjoys travelling, meeting people, painting, volleyball, swimming, aerobics, tennis, Latin Dance and Tai-kwon-do.|
|25||CZECH REPUBLIC||Katerina Smrzova||23||1.80||She completed her studies at High School in Administration and is working as a professional model, Her hobbies include light athletics, dance, ballet and enjoys reading books about famous painters and philosophy. She has interest in Vedic Philosophy.|
|26||ECUADOR||Jéssica Leonela Angulo Miranda||20||1.72||She is from Santo Domingo de los Colorados. She is studying Tourism and Hotel Management. Her hobbies are basketball, gym and tropical dance.|
|27||ENGLAND||Danielle Luan||22||1.72||She is studying Human Biology with Nutrition at Oxford. Her hobbies include: Horse riding, gym, skiing, scuba diving, football, basketball, reading, listening to music, cinema, ballet, tap, jazz and modern dance and have travelled extensively.|
|28||ESTONIA||Triin Sommer||19||1.68||She is from Pärnu and she is a student. Her ambition is to become a interior designer. Her hobbies are reading, singing, dance and show dance.|
|29||FINLAND||Hanne Mari Annele Hynynen||21||1.75||She lives in Yliviesk and she has studied Human Resource Management at the University of Northumbria, UK. She is now continuing her studies in Helsinki, which she has combined with working in the Centre for occupational safety. Her hobbies are golf, tennis, sailing, snowboard, show dance and horse jumping.|
|30||FRANCE||Caroline Chamorand||21||1.75||She is studying at a Gymnastics University because she wants to be a Gymnastics Teacher. Her hobbies are gymnastics, volleyball, reading, movies, dancing salsa and travelling.|
|31||GERMANY||Indira Selmic||24||1.72||She studied Office Communication and runs a Health & Beauty Studio. Her hobbies are yoga, travelling, dancing, reading, fitness, aerobics, Squash, tennis, classic & modern ballet, show-dance, jazz and hip hop.|
|32||GHANA||Shaida Abiodun Buari||20||1.87||She is studying Political Science and Psychology at the University of Ghana. Her ambition is to become a Human Rights Lawyer and work with International Development Agencies such as the United Nations. She likes swimming, writing short stories, cooking, football, volleyball, basketball, singing and dancing the traditional ‘High Life’ dance indigenous to Ghana.|
|33||GIBRALTAR||Damaris Hollands||21||1.67||Her hobbies are fashion, jogging, drawing, modelling and free dancing. She is working in an accounts firm.|
|34||GREECE||Katerina Georgiadou||21||1.78||She has completed 8 years of Classical ballet and she is now in her second year at the University of Gymnastics of Athens. In her spare time she works as a model. She enjoys music, dance, travelling, cooking and various sports including volleyball.|
|35||GUYANA||Odessa Abenaa Phillips||19||N.A.||She lives in Vergenoegen. She has studied sociology and is currently in her final year as a law student pursing a Bachelor’s degree in criminal law. Her hobbies are volleyball, basketball, cricket, African, Soca, Indian and Latin Dance and reciting dramatic poems.|
|36||HOLLAND||Elise Boulogne||20||1.75||She lives in Leiden and she is studying Visual Marketing at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute. Her ambition is to have her own TV Show. Her hobbies are dancing, fitness, ballet, jazz, show-musical, street dance, travelling and meeting new people.|
|37||HONG KONG, CHINA||Victoria Jane Jolly||20||1.70||She is an undergraduate in Hospitality Business Management and aspire to one day become the general manager of a world class hotel. Her hobbies are hockey, swimming, scuba diving, tennis, netball and modern dance. Her talents are in painting and playing the piano.|
|38||HUNGARY||Renata Rozs||21||1.78||She lives in Janossomorja, has completed a Dress Designing course in High School and she is currently attending the Light Industrial and Technical College in Budapest. She has played professional handball for 8 years and enjoys aerobics, running, jazz ballet and drawing.|
|39||INDIA||Shruti Sharma||22||1.72||She has a degree in sociology, works as a full time model and her ambition is to direct movies. Her hobbies are listening to music, cooking, driving, basketball, shot put, and table tennis.|
|40||IRELAND||Lynda Duffy||22||1.75||She is graduated in Aquatic Science, has a sea survival course and she is studying Marine Science at the University of Galway. Her hobbies are surfing, singing, piano, Irish dancing and playing football. She is a qualified first aider.|
|41||ISRAEL||Karol Lowenstein||19||1.78||Her family immigrated to Israel from Argentina when she was 7 years old. She graduated high school in Haifa, and is specializing in tourism. Her hobbies are sports, swimming, bicycle riding, gym, play basketball, volleyball, reading books, listening to Latin music and travelling.|
|42||ITALY||Susanne Zuber||21||1.72||She lives in Merano, and she is graduated from commercial school “Franz Kafka”. She works in a family shop and she is a model. Her hobbies are fishing, hiking, ice-skating, skiing, singing and acting.|
|43||JAMAICA||Danielle O’Hayon||18||1.72||She wants to pursue a career in Marine Biology and belongs to the Jamaican National Swimming Team since 1999. Her hobbies are surfing and scuba diving.|
|44||JAPAN||Yuko Nabeta||19||1.72||She graduated in Travel Matters at the Tokyo Kanko Academy and her ambition is to be an Actress. Her hobbies are travelling, muscle training, Volleyball and Swimming.|
|45||KAZAKHSTAN||Olga Albertovna Sidorenko||19||1.80||She is completing her studies at school and her ambition is to become a Lawyer. Her hobbies include Theatre studies and choreography.|
|46||KENYA||Marianne Nyambura Kariuki||18||1.82||She is taking computer classes. Her ambition is to pursue a degree in cardiology and specialize in paediatrics. She enjoys belly dancing, swimming, basketball, mountain climbing, camping, public speaking and helping others.|
|47||LATVIA||Baiba Svarca||20||1.75||She is studying Economy and Business Administration at the Riga International College. She likes painting, yoga, water bikes, meeting interesting people, disco, show and folk dance.|
|48||LEBANON||Bethany Kehdy||21||1.78||She is studying Environmental Health and Business. Her ambition is to become a lawyer. Her hobbies are swimming, aerobics, reading, cooking, singing and dancing.|
|49||LITHUANIA||Oksana Semenishina||20||1.80||Oksana is a third year student of the Moscow University of International Relations. She enjoys motoring, water scooters, skating, hand-gliding, horse riding, shooting, playing her national instruments and singing.|
|50||MACEDONIA F.Y.R.O.||Jasna Spasovska||20||1.78||She is studying Pedagogics at the St. Cyril and Methodis University in Skopje. Her ambition is to open a children’s educational studio. Her hobbies are handball, basketball, volleyball, aerobics, swimming, modern and folk dancing.|
|51||MALAYSIA||Mabel Ng Chin Mei||24||1.72||She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in management Information System and Marketing from Deakin University, Australia. Her hobbies are reading, net surfing, rollerblading, swimming, canoeing, cycling and ballroom dancing.|
|52||MALTA||Joyce Gatt||18||1.80||She is a professional model and a high school graduate. Her hobbies include water sports, swimming, reading magazines and dance, including the Arabic belly dance.|
|53||MEXICO||Blanca Rosalía Zumárraga Contreras||20||1.82||She is in her 6th semester of Architecture. Her hobbies include sculpture, cycling, basketball, gym, reading and dancing. Her special talent is painting.|
|54||NAMIBIA||Ndapewa Alfons||23||1.84||She is from Kaisoi and has a diploma in Legal Studies. She enjoys mountain climbing, swimming, beach volleyball, cooking, knitting and do the Oshiwambo traditional dance. She currently works as a model and speaks 5 languages.|
|55||NEW ZEALAND||Rachel Maree Huljich||18||1.75||She is in her final year at Diocesan School for Girls in Auckland and wants to become a Fashion Designer. She likes jazz ballet, netball, volleyball, basketball and photography.|
|56||NICARAGUA||Hazel Gabriela Calderón Chavarría||25||1.70||She plays soccer, is an avid swimmer, cross country runner, kick boxer, weight trains, and takes yoga. Her motto is ‘perseverance is needed in life to accomplish one’s goal’. Hazel also enjoys travelling, reading books and dancing merengue, salsa and local folk dances. Hazel is currently a student of Broadcast/Communications and wants to have her own TV show.|
|57||NIGERIA||Chinenye Ivy Ochuba||18||1.82||Her ambition is to become a successful computer scientist, a super model and also to establish a child vision programme. She enjoys reading, interacting with children, cycling, reading and cooking.|
|58||NORTHERN IRELAND||Gayle Williamson||22||1.72||She is an Art & Design graduate and has a National Diploma in Textiles. She is managing a retail fashion outlet and her ambition is to design her own fashion collection. Her hobbies are swimming, cycling, gym, netball, watching the F1 Racing and disco dancing.|
|59||NORWAY||Katrine Sörland||21||1.78||She is studying as a Child Care Worker at University in Stavanger and works in a day care centre for children. Her hobbies are exercise, handball, aerobics, jazz exercise, running, playing the piano, disco Latino, being with friends and family, and travelling.|
|60||PANAMA||Yoselin Sánchez Espino||21||1.70||She is a 4th year student of Sciences and ARPS in Finances at Santa Maria La Antigua University. She enjoys travelling, mountain climbing, bicycle, soccer, flag football and the Panamanian folklore dance. In her spare time she helps children from the little communities called ‘Mañanitas’ with their reading and writing.|
|61||PERU||Marina Beatriz Mora Montero||22||1.80||She is from Guadalupe but lives in Lima. She is studying Entrepreneurial Marketing, whilst also working as a model and Hosts a teenager TV program on Channel 5. Her hobbies are painting, writing, horse riding, sailing, scuba diving and Peruvian national dances.|
|62||PHILIPPINES||Katherine “Kate” Anne Ramos Manalo||23||1.70||She is a graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communications and works in PR for a television show focusing on marginal Filipinos and also as an Assistant in an International Consumer Finance Company. Her hobbies are reading, movies, dancing, golf, playing the piano and making jewellery fashion accessories.|
|63||POLAND||Marta Matyjasik||20||1.80||She is from Zgorzelec and worked part time as a radio announcer on a children’s radio programme. She has completed her Post secondary international diploma at Kothen College and wants to study languages. Her hobbies are basketball, Disco Dancing, fashion, portrait painting, photography and playing the piano.|
|64||PUERTO RICO||Cassandra Polo Berrios||18||1.78||She wants to develop a career in Public Relations. Her hobbies are Volleyball, kayaking, modelling, painting, listening to music and dancing Salsa and Merengue.|
|65||ROMANIA||Cleopatra Popescu||23||1.78||She is graduated in Law and works as a Lawyer. She loves to swim, dancing, travelling, reading and listening to music. She has been a national swimmer winner three times.|
|66||RUSSIA||Anna Valeryevna Tatarintseva||24||1.72||She is from Nizniy Novgorod and has studied men’s clothes design in technical college. She is now a 4th year student at the Academy specializing in ‘Municipal state management’. On completion of this course she wishes to study psychology. She likes foreign cultures, arts, collecting dolls in national costumes, ballet and dancing.|
|67||SCOTLAND||Paula Murphy||24||1.72||She graduated with a degree in Medicine and has completed her first year as a Doctor on medical and surgical hospital wards. Her hobbies include Art, cinema, gym, running, travelling and love going out dancing with friends.|
|68||SINGAPORE||Sharon Cintamani||23||N.A.||She is an International Business Administration graduate at the American University of Paris and an AA in Apparel Manufacturing in Los Angeles. Her hobbies are skiing, ice-skating, snorkelling, cooking and fashion design. Her ambition is to become a Fashion mogul.|
|69||SLOVAKIA||Eva Veresova||22||1.75||She lives in Nitra, specialized at school in languages and gymnastics and she is currently preparing for university. She enjoys swimming, basketball, football, aerobics, modern and Latin America Dance and travelling.|
|70||SLOVENIA||Nataša Krajnc||21||1.78||She is from Celje. She is studying Management and her hobbies are swimming, skiing, skating, running, all types of dance, and enjoy learning foreign languages.|
|71||SOUTH AFRICA||Claire Sabbagha||25||1.78||She completed her Bachelor of Commerce in Business Management and Marketing Management. She likes reading, photography, travelling, snorkelling, gym and ballet.|
|72||SPAIN||Dolores “Lola” Alcocer Vázquez||21||1.80||She is from Seville and has completed a Secretarial and a modelling course covering make-up, nutrition, protocol, hairdressing, drama, photographic interpretation and catwalk. Her ambition is to work in the world of image and fashion. Hobbies include swimming, travelling, dancing the official dance of Seville (similar to the flamenco) and to collect news in fashion.|
|73||SWAZILAND||Nozipho Shabangu||20||1.59||She is from Mbabane and is studying Environmental Health Science at the University of Swaziland. Her hobbies are going to the gym, tennis, volleyball, swimming, being with friends and dancing Swazi and Ballroom dancing. Her special talent is design.|
|74||SWEDEN||Hanna Sophia Hedmark||20||1.80||She is a Natural Science Programme graduate, a professional model and studied English for one year at the University. Her hobbies are athletics, dancing, horse riding, football, gym, ballet, jazz and hip hop. Her ambition is to become a vet.|
|75||TAHITI||Rava Mahana Maiarii||19||1.72||She is from the island of Taha’a, completed her studies in Biology at Tahiti University and is continuing her studies in France. Her ambition is to be an environmentalist and to work in Sea Research. She likes reading, snorkelling, swimming, fishing, basketball, volleyball and keeping fit. She has a special talent for braid wreath.|
|76||TANZANIA||Angela Damas Mtalima||20||1.75||She was born in Kiev (Ukraine) to a Tanzanian father and a Ukrainian mother. She is a first year student at the University of Dar-es-Salaam pursuing a degree in Sociology with Environmental Studies. She also wants to study in areas of Human Rights and Youth Development. Her ambition is to become a sociologist and environmental activist. Her hobbies are writing, reading, basketball, volleyball, swimming, lawn tennis, singing, pop, R&B, traditional salsa and zouk dancing.|
|77||THAILAND||Ticha “Kang” Lueng-Pairoj||21||1.72||She is studying Liberal Arts at the Thammasart University, being Psychology her favorite subject. Her hobbies are badminton, swimming, reading, going to the movies, listening to the radio and playing Thai Classical music.|
|78||TRINIDAD & TOBAGO||Janelle Denice Rajnauth||21||1.64||She is from Petit Valley, completed her education in CXC and ‘A’ Levels, and is working as an Administrative Assistant. Her goal is to pursue a degree in Human Resources Management. She is disciplined, creative, and self motivated. Her hobbies are soccer and hockey.|
|79||TURKEY||Azra Akin||20||1.78||She was raised in Almelo, Twente, Holland, but her parents are both Turkish. She has finished High School and would like to go on to study at the academy of Art and design and languages. She likes ballet, modern dance, street dance, belly dance, drawing, reading, playing the German flute, swimming, running and general fitness.|
|80||UGANDA||Rehema Ni Nakuya||20||1.70||She received a government scholarship to study for a Bachelors degree in Medicine and Surgery. Her wish is to pursue a Master’s degree in Public Health, particularly concerning paediatric nutrition and communicable diseases. Her hobbies are photography, cooking, listening to classical music, travelling, volleyball, hockey, athletics and long distance running. Her talents are composing, writing poetry and dancing traditional Ugandan folk dances.|
|81||UKRAINE||Irina Mykhaylivna Udovenko||21||1.70||She is from Azov Seaside and studies Economics and Management at Azov Technics University. Her hobbies are tennis, fitness, folk, disco dance and playing the piano.|
|82||UNITED STATES||Rebekah Chantay Revels||22||1.67||She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke with a degree in English Education and Teacher certification for grades 9-12. Her ambition is to seek a career in the entertainment business specifically musical theatre (Broadway) and to obtain a PH.D in English Education. She has trained in classical vocal performance (specifically Italian Opera) and was accepted to the American/Dramatic Academy in New York City. Her hobbies are playing the saxophone and the piano, reading, writing poetry, fitness training, softball, ballet, tap, jazz, clogging, and traditional Indian Dance.|
|83||URUGUAY||Natalia Figueras Cabezas||21||1.75||She is from Montevideo and is studying Economics and Administration at University. Her ambition is to become an accountant. She likes Olympic Gym, Rhythmic Gym, Acrobatic Gym, aerobics, jazz, salsa, merengue, ballet, bachata, flamenco, dancing, singing, reading, writing and travelling.|
|84||VENEZUELA||Goizeder Victoria Azúa Barrios||18||1.78||She is studying Industrial Relations at the University and her ambition is to promote and defend human rights worldwide. Her hobbies are running, hiking in the mountains, reading, theatre and dancing to tropical rhythms. She has a talent in Rhythmical Gymnastics.|
|85||VIETNAM||Mai Phuong Pham Thi||17||1.70||She is in High School studying Physics and her ambition is to become a Physicist. She loves to practice traditional Vietnamese dance, jogging, and telling jokes with friends.|
|86||WALES||Michelle Bush||22||1.70||She is studying a BSC Chiropractic degree. Her ambition is to own a private health care clinic. She has spent 3 years as a riding instructor in the Welsh National Park, teaching young adults and children. Her hobbies include boxercise, free weights, running, swimming, going to the cinema, eating out and reading a good book.|
|87||YUGOSLAVIA||Ana Sargic||19||1.78||She is from Valyevo and is in her first year of Management Studies. She is also training to be a hostess on a local TV station. She loves people, music, fashion, travelling, swimming and cycling.|
|88||ZIMBABWE||Linda Van Beek||20||1.75||She is from Harare and works as a Customer Care Representative for a media production company. Her ambition is to teach dance to children. Her hobbies are meeting new people, building relationships, playing sports, networking, reading, babysitting, squash, soccer, dramatised dance, hip hop, African dance and temple dancing.|
THIS IS HOW THE BETS FINISHED:
* Blue Square: Norway (10/1); India (10/1); Australia (12/1); China (1/14); Russia (1/14); Venezuela (1/14); Nigeria (16/1); Brazil (16/1); Colombia (1/16); Hong Kong (1/20); Germany (1/20); Kazakhstan (20/1); Peru (1/25); Northern Ireland (1/25); Turkey (1/25) and England (1/25).
* Readabet: Norway (12/1); Australia (16/1); China (16/1); India (16/1); Russia (1/18); Hong Kong (28/1); Brazil (33/1); Colombia (33/1); Germany (33/1); Philippines (33/1); Venezuela (33/1); Czech Republic (40/1); Namibia (40/1); Nigeria (40/1); Northern Ireland (40/1); Puerto Rico (40/1); Turkey (40/1) and Vietnam (40/1).
THE GRAND FINALS OF MISS WORLD 2002.-
On Saturday, December 7, the Miss World 2002 election was finally held at Alexandra Palace in London. The event started at 1:30 p.m. local time, at a rather unusual time for an event of this magnitude. The schedule was due to the fact that the satellite had been contracted to broadcast through the Indian pay channel Star World, which would broadcast the event in primetime for the Asian continent. In Venezuela, the event, which was originally going to be seen live on Venevisión at 9:30 am, was not broadcast due to the socio-political situation in the country, the oil strike and the massacre that took place in the Altamira Square in Caracas, bastion of the Venezuelan opposition. In the United States and the United Kingdom, the host country, the contest was not broadcast either, even though sources from the Miss World organization had said that the show would be seen in 142 countries and that 2 billion people were expected to watch it. Channel ‘A’ in Colombia did broadcast it live like ‘Tele Aruba’ while the Mexican channel Televisa broadcast it on a delayed basis.
Strict security measures awaited the audience attending the theater. All were carefully searched for fear of possible Muslim protests both inside and outside Alexandra Palace. The stage, white in color with a central door with the contest’s logo and two blue screens on the sides, was accompanied by a central and a circular walkway, which ended on a round platform. The center of the circular walkway was a kind of pool accompanied by lights. The show began with the opening musical number with the 88 beauties marching on stage in their evening gowns to the song “Boom Boom” by Chayanne, in an English version, but without the presence of the singer. At the end of the ‘opening’, the comperes of the night came on stage: American actor Sean Kanan, the villain of the CBS novel “The Bold and the Beautiful,” and former English beauty queen, first runner-up for Miss World 1992, Claire Smith. After the customary words of welcome, they explained what happened in Nigeria and said that the preliminary vote corresponded 50% to the vote by SMS of the public around the world and the other 50% to the vote of the judges. A video of the judges’ evaluation conducted two days earlier was then broadcast, including explanations given by the judges regarding what they were looking for in the new Miss World, as the Misses left the stage to prepare for their next outings.
The candidates were divided into groups of six. Each group entered the stage and the contestants paraded individually in their ball gowns, while images from the video recorded in Nigeria in bathing suits were inserted. As each contestant paraded, British black actress Sonya Saul made off-screen comments on each of them. The first group was made up of the candidates from Angola, Belgium, Ghana, Brazil, Wales and Tanzania. The second for the American Virgin Islands, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Italy, Antigua & Barbuda, Croatia and Hungary, while the third and last in this segment had Mexico, Uruguay, England, Nicaragua, Venezuela and the United States. This year the leaderboards were not shown like the previous year. While the rest of the girls got ready, Claire Smith interviewed the members of the British group BBMAK. The fourth group entered the stage with representatives from Turkey, Trinidad & Tobago, Botswana, New Zealand, Holland and Namibia. The fifth sextet was made up of Poland, Slovakia, Nigeria, Lithuania, Swaziland and Slovenia. And the sixth and last group of that lot was Chile, Czech Republic, Uganda, Colombia, Northern Ireland and Zimbabwe.
After the first commercial break, Sean Kanan invited the next group of contestants to the stage, with comments from Sonya Saul. The seventh group was made up of the candidates from Argentina, Gibraltar, Jamaica, Bolivia, Aruba and Kenya. The eighth for Guyana, Australia, Malaysia, Belize, Lebanon and Thailand and the ninth for Cyprus, Finland, Hong Kong, Greece, Sweden and Philippines. After a brief backstage pass where Claire chatted with Miss Norway and Miss Israel, Kenan invited the 10th group of contestants to the stage. They were the entrants from Ecuador, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Scotland and Barbados. The eleventh group was made up of the girls from Albania, Bulgaria, China, Yugoslavia, Macedonia and Singapore and the twelfth by the candidates of Latvia, Romania, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. Right away the last three groups came out, made up of contestants from Japan, Israel, Peru, Norway and Vietnam; Algeria, India, Malta, France, Ireland and Curaçao; and, finally, that of newcomers from Tahiti, South Africa, Canada, Spain, Germany and Panama.
After the second commercial break, with all the participants on stage, Sean Kanan called the governor of the Nigerian state of Cross River, Donald Duke, along with his wife Onarie, to announce the winners of the special awards of the night. The award for the BEST DESIGNER COSTUME was that of Miss TURKEY (Azra Akin) who wore a strapless red dress embroidered with cartoonish symbols, with an opening on her right leg, accompanied by red boots lined with the same fabric as the dress, from the designer Cemil Ipekci. The BEST TALENT award went to Miss UNITED STATES (Rebekah Chantay Revels) and the winner of the SCHOLARSHIP was Miss SWAZILAND (Nozipho Shabangu). The winners received a glass trophy in the shape of a globe. After loud applause from the 2,000 people in the audience, honoring victims of abuse around the world, including Amina Lawal, Sean Kanan proceeded to reveal the names of the 20 semifinalists. To do this, Kanan addressed the different groups of candidates, from which the lucky ones would come.
From the first group of 18 girls (from groups 4, 5 and 6), 4 of them advanced: Miss TURKEY, Miss HOLLAND, Miss NIGERIA and Miss COLOMBIA. Four semifinalists also emerged from the second group of 17 competitors (from groups 10, 11 and 12): Miss PUERTO RICO, Miss PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA, Miss YUGOSLAVIA and Miss RUSSIA. From the third group of 17 women (from groups 13, 14 and 15) they managed to classify five beauties: Miss PERU, Miss NORWAY, Miss VIETNAM, Miss INDIA and MISS CURAÇAO. Of the fourth group of 18 young ladies (of groups 7, 8 and 9) only three contestants advanced: Miss ARUBA, Miss AUSTRALIA and Miss PHILIPPINES. To conclude the call for the 20 semifinalists, from the fifth group of 18 participants (from groups 1, 2 and 3) the last four classified came out: Miss BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, Miss ITALY, Miss VENEZUELA and Miss UNITED STATES.
|01||Miss ARUBA||Rachelle Chantal Oduber||21||Oranjestad|
|02||Miss AUSTRALIA||Nicole-Rita Gazal||23||Vaucluse, Sydney|
|03||Miss BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA||Danijela Vins||17||Zenica|
|04||Miss PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA||Ying-Na Wu||17||Sanya, Hainan|
|05||Miss COLOMBIA||Natalia Peralta Castro||21||Medellín|
|06||Miss CURACAO||Ayanette Mary Ann Statia||19||Willemstad|
|07||Miss HOLLAND||Elise Maria Boulogne||20||Leiden|
|08||Miss INDIA||Shruti Sharma||22||Mumbai|
|09||Miss ITALY||Susanne Zuber||21||Merano|
|10||Miss NIGERIA||Chinenye Ivy Ochuba||18||Yaba, Lagos|
|11||Miss NORWAY||Katrine Sörland||21||Stravanger|
|12||Miss PERU||Marina Beatriz Mora Montero||22||Guadalupe|
|13||Miss PHILIPPINES||Katherine “Kate” Anne Ramos Manalo||23||Parnaque|
|14||Miss PUERTO RICO||Cassandra Polo Berrios||18||Guaynabo|
|15||Miss RUSSIA||Anna Valeryevna Tatarintseva||24||Nizgniy Novgorod|
|16||Miss TURKEY||Azra Akin||20||Emirdag|
|17||Miss UNITED STATES||Rebekah Chantay Revels||24||Saint Pauls, NC|
|18||Miss VENEZUELA||Goizeder Victoria Azúa Barrios||18||Valencia|
|19||Miss VIETNAM||Mai Phuong Pham Thi||17||Haiphong|
|20||Miss YUGOSLAVIA||Ana Sargic||19||Valjevo|
1.- Julia Morley, President of the Miss World and Chairwoman of the Judges.
2.- Terry O’Neill, British personality photographer, and Miss World judges since 1998.
3.- Pilín León, Miss World 1981 from Venezuela.
4.- Erick Way, London-based South African Fashion Designer.
5.- Ben Murray-Bruce, Director of Silverbird and the “Most Beautiful Girl” contest in Nigeria.
6.- Rebecca Johnson, American journalist and editor of Vogue Magazine.
7.- Elliot M. Cohen, music producer of Israeli origin.
8.- Danilo Djurovic, Swiss businessman and founder of a private airline.
9.- Xiaobai Li, President of the Chinese modeling company “New Silk Road”.
Next, Claire Smith presented a video filmed in Nigeria with images of the participants, and where the outgoing Miss World, Agbani Darego, told the wonders of her country. Then, she interviewed a couple of judges before calling on the scene the English group BBMAK, made up of Christian Burns, Mark Barry and Ste McNally, who performed their song “Into Your Head”. After a third commercial break, Sean Kanan showed videos of the first 10 semifinalists filmed in Nigeria and where they recounted details of their lives. Claire Smith then went on to interview Agbani Darego backstage and featured a video of her recounting her experiences from her year of reign before moving on to feature videos from the last 10 semifinalists. After the fourth advertising intermission, Sean Kanan proceeded to name the 10 semifinalists in alphabetical order: Miss AUSTRALIA, MISS PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA, Miss COLOMBIA, Miss NIGERIA, Miss NORWAY, Miss PERU, Miss PHILIPPINES, Miss TURKEY, Miss UNITED STATES and Miss VENEZUELA.
Sean Kanan proceeded to interview the 10 semifinalists, first featuring the video called “Reality Shot” from each of them. The candidates from China, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela used interpreters, however Miss Colombia’s chaperone (her translator) forgot part of her answer because she was very nervous. After the fifth and last commercial cut, Claire Smith called the Puerto Rican singer Chayanne to the stage to interpret his hit “Torero”, one part in English and the other in Spanish. Claire chatted with some of the runner-ups backstage before Sean Kanan summoned Agbani Darego to the stage to her farewell. Sonya Saul then called, one by one, the 10 semifinalists to enter the stage before the final verdict of the judges was announced from the President of Miss World, Julia Morley.
Julia gave the result in reverse order, as was traditional, starting with third place, which corresponded to Miss PERU (Marina Beatriz Mora Montero) and second place to Miss COLOMBIA (Natalia Peralta Castro). These were the best positions achieved by Peru since its victory in 1967 and by Colombia since it achieved the same position of first runner-up in 1996. Neither of them received tiaras or any trophy on stage. And MISS WORLD 2002 was… Miss TURKEY !! the incredulous Azra Akin, a model who was about to turn 21, born in Almelo, Twente (Holland) to Turkish parents, with curly dark brown hair and brown eyes, representative of one of the few Muslim countries that took part in the contest, stepped forward for Claire Smith to put her Miss World sash on her. Azra then made her way to the front of the stage to sit on her throne and be crowned by the outgoing queen, the Nigerian Agbani Darego. Seconds later, she took her triumphant walk to the chords of the official Miss World march. After returning to the throne to be congratulated by the runner-ups and the rest of the participants entered the stage to congratulate the winners, Kanan and Smith said goodbye to the 2-hour broadcast, but not before informing that the fifty-third edition of Miss World would be held in Sanya, China.
CONTINENTAL QUEENS OF BEAUTY.-
After the event, the Coronation Ball was held in another of the rooms (West Hall) of Alexandra Palace and where it was officially announced that the fourth place had gone to Miss NORWAY (Katrine Sörland) and the fifth to Miss PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA (Ying-Na Wu). On the official page of Miss World, the position reached by the rest of the TOP 10 was also announced: Venezuela (6th), Australia (7th), Nigeria (8th), Philippines (9th) and the United States (10th). The continental beauty queens were awarded during the celebration and they were:
|AFRICA||Miss NIGERIA||Chinenye Ivy Ochuba|
|AMERICAS||Miss COLOMBIA||Natalia Peralta Castro|
|ASIA & OCEANIA||Miss PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA||Ying-Na Wu|
|CARIBBEAN ISLANDS||Miss ARUBA||Rachelle Chantal Oduber|
|EUROPE||Miss TURKEY||Azra Akin|
All five received a glass trophy in the shape of a globe. Although the winner’s prize (for her reign year) was supposed to be $ 100,000 as in previous years, some press outlets reported that she had won £ 100,000. No additional awards were reported for the queen or how much the runner-ups would have won. Presumably this year there were no prize checks, at least not immediately, because the contest accounts had been frozen by a court the day before.
* The brand new Miss World, Turkish Azra Akin, turned 21 within hours of being crowned the new world beauty queen. Her triumph was an early birthday present!
* Some were surprised by the fact that the contest was protested by Muslims living in northern Nigeria, and that the winner was precisely a representative of a Muslim country.
* She is the first winner from Turkey in the 52-year history of the pageant, a traditionally secular Muslim nation. In November, Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, known by its initials AKP, had easily won Turkey’s elections and now held 60 percent of the seats in the new Turkish parliament.
* Miss Northern Ireland, Gayle Williamson, was later named Miss United Kingdom.
* The national gift auction, which was to be held in Nigeria, was not held this year. There were also no activities specific to “Beauty with a Purpose” during the pageant.
* The white gown worn by Miss Venezuela, Goizeder Azúa, in pleated silk gazar, was designed by Durand & Diego and was recycled, as it had already been worn by María Fernanda León, Miss Portuguesa, in Miss Venezuela 2002. After Miss World Goizeder decided to stay in Spain until the middle of January due to the political violence that was being experienced in those days in Venezuela.
* It was striking that none of the “newcomers” to the Miss World contest even classified in the top 20. The girls in question were the representatives of Canada, Spain, South Africa, Panama, Tahiti and Germany. The Miss World organization, it seems, took a “toll” on them. It was also surprising that some favorites such as Miss Mexico, Miss Hong Kong and Miss Jamaica, failed to enter the Top 20.
* Most of the participants were happy with the results of the contest. However, some complained shortly before the event began. “When we want to go to the bathroom, a security guard accompanies us,” said Indira Selmic, Miss Germany. Miss Croatia, Nina Slamic, lamented how some of her teammates treated her. “Girls from countries like the United States are very arrogant and don’t even talk to us,” she told the Zagreb daily “Vecernji list”. In addition, she was “very disappointed” because no one knew her country. “Everyone believes that Croatia is still in Yugoslavia.”
* According to Julia Morley, Puerto Rico had a high chance of being home of Miss World in 2004. This was expressed when interviewed by a newspaper at the Landmark hotel. Morley said that “in fact, the celebration of the contest in Puerto Rico for 2004 is under consideration, since the 2003 venue was given to China. I am considering taking it there because that island is a paradise. I love that possibility that Wilnelia Forsyth raised to me. I want to make that dream come true. That country has so many attractions that it would be great to be able to present the beauty of Puerto Rico to the world in Miss World”.
* “I am surprised, happy for the treatment that the organizers of the contest have given me and that my song ‘Boom Boom’ has been chosen as the opening number. Somehow I was flattered that some of the candidates know my music and others know me from the soap-opera ‘Provocame’ that is happening in many countries…”, commented the singer Chayanne to ‘El Nuevo Día’. Chayanne arrived in London on Friday morning and with hardly any sleep began to rehearse. The artist would be traveling to Miami on Sunday the 8th to continue with the recording of his new production for Sony Discos.
* During the events that were going on at that time in Venezuela, there was the fact that the oil tanker “Pilin León” had been anchored on December 4 in the navigation bar of Lake Maracaibo, as part of the oil strike against the government by Hugo Chávez. From London, the former Miss World commented: “I like that the ship that bears my name has become a symbol, because Venezuela needs a life preserver and that big ship can be the life preserver”. The ship was baptized with her name in 1997 and since then, in her own words, it had been transformed into an “emblem”. Pilín felt that what had happened to the ship that bore her name was important for the future of the country. The ship was towed on Chávez’s orders on December 22.
* The King of Swaziland, Mswati III, announced on Monday, December 9, that he would propose to Miss Swaziland, Nozipho Shabangu, once she returned from London. She would be his 12th wife.
PARTY IN TURKEY.-
Turkish newspapers praised Miss Turkey, Azra Akin, after her triumph in London. “Made in Turkey, Azra is the most beautiful girl in the world,” proclaimed the widely circulated Hurriyet, showing a photo of Akin with Nigerian Agbani Darego, last year’s champion. “Azra fills us with pride,” said the Milliyet newspaper. Miss Akin had faced criticism in Turkey, primarily Muslim, after she refused to join a boycott by some contestants over a decision by an Islamic court in Nigeria to sentence a woman to death by stoning after giving birth to a girl out of wedlock. The first congratulatory message came from Tourism Minister Guldal Aksit, the only woman in Turkey’s new 25-member cabinet. “Akin’s success has once again made the name of our country known to the world and has contributed enormously to the promotion of our country”, she said. The Vatan newspaper saw the success of Akin, the first Turkish woman to win the crown, as a boost at a time when the country was struggling in its efforts to become part of Europe. “Turkey, which has made great strides on the path to the European Union, has made its mark on the global agenda with the success of Azra before the Copenhagen summit,” she said, referring to the EU meeting in the Danish capital the following week in which Ankara sought to obtain a date to start accession negotiations.
THE REIGN OF AZRA AKIN.-
As was customary, the new Miss World received reporters the next morning at the Landmark hotel and, during the press conference, said: “I hope to represent the women of the world in a good way.” “I am very honored to be Miss World. I think it is good for a woman to have this position and I hope I can make a difference.” She also said she was “shocked” by what happened in Nigeria and added that “I would like people around the world to be more respectful to each other”. The newly crowned wanted to take advantage of her title to try to get her country, Turkey, to achieve its much-desired accession to the European Union. Akin also said that with her new role she would try to bring her country closer to neighboring Greece, whose ties had been in disunity after the Turkish incursion into Cyprus in 1974. Days later, Azra returned to Turkey, where she was received by the prime minister. Turkish, Abdullah Gul, who not only complimented her on her beauty, but on her ability to speak five languages.
At the end of her year of reign, Azra made an account of what she lived during those 12 wonderful months, in which she toured many countries such as the US, China, New Zealand, Australia, Jamaica, Ireland, the United Kingdom and, of course, Turkey: “The title of Miss World has brought me many pleasures, achievements and responsibilities. I have enjoyed my role in carrying the message of peace, friendship and love to the many places I have visited. Every event I attended was exciting and special in its own way. Some were fun, some strenuous, and some prestigious. It was a great honor to be invited to lay a wreath at the grave of Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. After the service, I was introduced to the Prime Minister and the President of Turkey”. “The most rewarding part of Miss World’s homework is practicing the ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ theme. This spirit involves supporting charities around the world. It was my pleasure to help Variety International, New Zealand ‘Child Cancer’ and the ‘Chinese Children’s Charity Federation’ this year. In March 2003 I went to Des Moines (Iowa, United States) to help with their Telethon, which raised $ 4 million for children’s charities in the US. I was taken to Blank and Mercy Hospitals to visit their young patients and see how some of the money raised would be spent. It was a great honor for me to meet Denise Shippler, who helped host the telethon. Denise, disabled in a wheelchair, has helped host the telethon for many years and has raised huge sums of money for wheelchairs for disabled children. This year, to her surprise, a benefactor bought her a new wheelchair. I will always admire her strength and positive spirit”.
“In April I was interviewed on ‘Good Morning America’ to emphasize Turkish fashions and fabrics. Then I returned to Turkey to attend the Miss Turkey pageant and present my national title. In May I led the Turkish Day Street Parade in New York before traveling to New Zealand. There I joined Miss New Zealand to raise money for the charity against childhood cancer. We attended a tea party organized for the children and had a wonderful time with balloons, games and a huge cake. A charity dinner with an auction and fashion show was organized. All proceeds were donated to the charity and used to build hospital accommodation for the parents of these little patients, allowing them to stay with their children for the duration of the treatments, often arduous. There was also a visit to a school to present a check to the school library. I had a lot of pleasure reading to the children. In the summer I went on a tour to China and I was overwhelmed by the beauty and culture of the country. The Chinese and in particular the Sanya people were very hospitable and made me feel very welcome. Sanya has a very special place in my heart. It is a true paradise with a tropical climate, palm trees, beautiful unspoiled beaches and green hills. In August I went to Jamaica and what a joy it was to see the island and meet the people. It was a pleasure meeting Lisa Hanna (Miss World 1993) and attending the Miss Jamaica pageant, then I went to Ireland for a lovely and hospitable time. So I had a long flight to Australia. In Brisbane I met all the Miss Australia contestants and we all had a wonderful lunch with disabled children. Some of my most memorable experiences there included feeding a huge crocodile, holding a Koala bear, touching a poisonous snake, and meeting a 150-year-old tortoise”.
“The biggest challenge was competing in a televised sports tournament called ‘The Games’. This involved six famous celebrities who trained for two months in six Olympic events (swimming, 100m. Sprint, 80m. Hurdles, hammer throw, speed skating and judo). The training was hard, long and intense. You can imagine my joy when it was announced at the end of the week-long competition that I was the winner. The cash prize was donated to my charity choice and it was delivered to Variety International. I passed my crown in December 2003 in Sanya, however my busy life seemed to continue working for ‘Yunctajuvant’ (a Dutch charity that works for children across Europe). I am appearing in a Turkish movie and in July 2004 I will carry the Olympic torch during part of its trip to Turkey and therefore the wonderful journey that started when I won the Miss World title seems to continue. My ambition is to continue the topics that I have learned through the spirit of ‘Beauty with Purpose’. Raising money for charitable causes and showing that the Miss World pageant is not just about ‘beauty’, but about much more than the sorority of women working to help the world’s underprivileged”.
BIOGRAPHY OF AZRA AKIN.-
Azra Akin was born in Almelo, Holland, on December 8, 1981. Her parents, Nazim and Ayda, had emigrated from Turkey in 1971. Azra has a younger sister named Doruk who was born in 1983. Azra studied arts such as ballet, painting and music in Holland. During her adolescence she returned with her family to Turkey, living in Emirdag, where her mother is from. In 1998 she was selected as ‘Elite Model Turkey’ and managed to rank among the semifinalists in the ‘Elite Model’ in Nice, France. Then she worked as a model in Germany. On March 14, 2002, she won the Miss Turkey and on December 7 of that same year, she obtained the only Miss World crown for her country so far. In 2003, she participated in a ‘reality show’ on British TV called “The Games” where she won a gold medal. In 2004, she posed for the postcards shown before each country’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest. She was a judge at Miss World in 2005, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 and was also a judge at Mister World 2003. She made numerous appearances as an actress on television and in film between 2003 and 2015. In 2010, she won the Turkish version of “Dancing with the Stars” and on Thursday, August 24, 2017 she married model and dancer Atakan Koru in Tekirdag. She gave birth to a boy on November 18, 2018 named Demir. She currently chairs the charity “Will You Be My Hope” and lives with her family in Istanbul.
FROM THE OTHER CONTESTANTS.-
Venezuelan Goizeder Azúa won two crowns in 2003: Miss Mesoamerica and Miss International, where Miss Northern Ireland also competed on behalf of the United Kingdom, while candidates from the Czech Republic and Namibia participated in Miss Universe 2003 in Panama, where They both advanced to the Top 10. For their part, Miss Norway reached the Top 15 at Miss Universe 2004 in Quito, Ecuador, where Miss Guyana also competed. The Polish was 3rd. runner-up in Miss Earth 2003 and 4th. runner-up in Miss Europe 2003. For her part, Miss Latvia participated in Miss Baltic Sea 2003 and was 2nd. runner-up of Miss Tourism Europe 2004. The Gibraltarian gave up her crown after participating in Miss World, being replaced by the 1st. runner-up, Natalie Monteverde. Another who renounced her title was Miss Belize. The organization announced that Karen Russell decided to give up her crown at the end of December to work on personal matters and goals set for 2003. The first runner-up, Becky Bernard, who was sent to Miss Universe 2003, took over.
Colombian Natalia Peralta became a highly respected dentist and practices in Bogotá. She is married to businessman Juan Manuel González and has a daughter named Susana. The Peruvian Marina Mora is a businesswoman and has her own modeling school that bears her name in the city of Lima, which she founded in 2003. That same year she was the host of the “Noche de Estrellas” program. She was a candidate for regional vice governor of La Libertad. Marina announced in March 2021 that she will soon marry her partner, businessman Alejandro Valenzuela. Told that she does not yet have a specific date for the ceremony, but that she would have no problem holding a virtual event due to the coronavirus pandemic. She recently underwent bariatric surgery to lose 20 kilos, is currently the organizer of the Miss Teen Model Peru pageant and has a cosmetic brand called “Bellísima”. Norwegian Katrine Sörland continued her modeling career, has been a TV presenter for numerous shows such as the Norwegian version of the reality show “Top Model”, the game show “Casino” and the celebrity singing competition show “Sangstjerner” among others. She considers herself an influencer, fashion consultant, and interior decorator. She married Andreas Holck on July 1, 2006, and on October 1, 2008, she became the mother of a boy named Leon. The couple separated in 2018 after 12 years of marriage, but on June 7, 2021, they announced their reconciliation. Kathrine is also the owner of a wedding dress store in Oslo, which opened on March 31, 2006 and in 2020 published an autobiographical book where she says that her divorce had brought her addiction to pills. The Chinese Ying-Na Wu developed her career as a professional model alongside her studies in communications. In 2008 she was the bearer of the Olympic torch and was the image of a Chinese TV channel. She is married with two daughters and is currently a catwalk teacher.
Australian Nicole Gazal started organizing events in 2002, creating the company “Prêt-a-Party”. She worked on the series “Real Housewives of Sydney” and as soon as she returned from Miss World she married Adam O’Neil on December 28, 2002. She has two daughters, Nawal and Neve. She maintains a foundation of aid to Lebanon called “Basics for Beirut”. Nigerian Chinenye Ochuba graduated in Accounting and Finance from the University of Greenwich in London in 2008. She returned to Nigeria and married businessman Kunle Akinlabe with whom she has two children, a female and a male. Chinenye worked for the oil company Exxon Mobil. Her husband ran for governor of Ogun State in 2019 but did not win. Katherine Anne Manalo from the Philippines became an image consultant and runs the company “Winning Image International”. She is married to businessman Jose Pio Hernandez. Her sister Pamela Bianca won ‘Bb.Pilipinas Universe’ in 2009. American Rebekah Revels was the director of sales for ‘Mary Kay’ and resides in Pembroke, North Carolina, where she currently works at the University of North Carolina in Alumni Affairs and annual giving. She has been married to Oryan Lowry since December 13, 2008 and has two children: Oakley and Olivia. The Venezuelan Goizeder Azúa, after relinquishing the Miss International crown in 2004, stood out as a model and worked as a presenter on ‘Sin Flash TV’, ‘Fashion Nights’ and the program “Fun Race Venezuela”. She graduated as a journalist from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, in 2011, the city where she worked in a radio station. Then, she lived for a time in the US in 2012, where she was a correspondent for Globovision. She worked as a volunteer for the Association ‘ Cambodian Hope ‘. She returned to Venezuela in 2013, was a news anchor for the Venezuelan channel Televen and later a news anchor on VivoPlay. She has lived in Madrid, Spain since 2016 where he worked for ‘Real Madrid TV’, TVE and Hola! TV. She is currently a reporter and correspondent for the US channel TVV Noticias. She got married in Caracas on September 27, 2008 with Miguel Ángel Yánez, marketing director for Latin America at the multinational Owen Illinois, and immediately went to live in Australia. She has two sons born on October 29, 2011 (Mateo) and November 14, 2015 (Mikel).
Bosnian Danijela Vins is married to Amar Aljovic, is the mother of a girl and lives in Kiev, Ukraine. Ayanette Statia from Curaçao is a legal assistant, beauty coach (runs a beauty school), etiquette instructor and mother of two, a male (Danery) and a female (Ayannah). She was married to Damery Meyer. She is currently involved in local beauty pageants in Curaçao and was the first secretary in the Schotte government between 2010 and 2012. Dutch Elise Boulogne lived for a time in South Africa. She married Andre Brink in 2015 and is the mother of two girls. With her husband she created the company ‘Brink Property Solutions’. They currently live in Farnham, UK. Shruti Sharma from India dabbled in acting without much success, then disappeared from public life. Italian Susanne Zuber is a professional makeup artist, mother of two girls and in 2021 she participated in the municipal elections of Merano. Puerto Rican Cassandra Polo became a cosmetologist. On February 25, 2011, she was the victim of an attempted rape during an assault with her then boyfriend, Roberto Vega, and her sister, which led her to leave Puerto Rico for several years. She married Joan Puig on March 2, 2019 and he has a daughter named Catalina, born in 2012, with whom she currently lives in Santurce. Russian Anna Tatarintseva entered politics and was appointed deputy of the Duma of the city of Nizhny Novgorod. She is also the director of the charitable foundation ‘Good Deed’. She has a son born in 2008. In November 2020, she fell ill with coronavirus but managed to recover. On August 12, 2003, Vietnamese Mai Phuong Pham Thi was declared missing and allegedly “kidnapped”. She appeared a week later safely and denied having been abducted. She studied at the English University of Luton in 2005. In 2008, she married police officer Nguyen Binh Khanh in her native Vietnam and has two children, Hai Dong (2009) and Hai Long (2012). Currently, Mai Phuong has a steady job as an officer in the Hai Phong Customs Department. The Yugoslav Ana Sargic is a businesswoman and works in an Arab company as a real estate agent, she has been married to Reza Kalantarian since 2010 and is the mother of two girls (twins born in 2011) and a boy (2017). She currently lives in Dubai.
Miss Antigua, Zara Razzaq, is a commercial pilot and currently resides in the US. Miss Argentina, Tamara Henriksen, today Mrs. Brust, works in Integrative Energy Healing and lives in Bothell, Washington. Miss Bahamas, T’Shura Ambrose, works in the Public Ministry of her country. Miss Barbados, Natalie Webb-Howell, dedicated herself to the world of bodybuilding. Miss Belgium, Sylvie Doclot, is married to Dan Kirton, the mother of two boys and one girl, and lives in Taupo, New Zealand, where she rents holiday villas. Miss Brazil World, Taísa Thomsen, took over as ‘Miss Brazil 2002’ on February 4, 2003 when it was discovered that the incumbent, Joseane Oliveira, had been married since 1998! Because she felt harmed by losing the Miss Brazil crown to a married candidate, which prevented her from going to Miss Universe and receiving the first-place awards, Taíza sued the Miss Brazil organization, requesting compensation of R$ 1.1 million. However, the Justice of Minas Gerais stipulated the amount at 100,000 reais. In 2006, Taíza’s family reported her sudden disappearance, which generated great repercussions in the media and led to an investigation by the Federal Police and Interpol. Various tests showed that she had gone to London, where she would work as a stripper under the pseudonym Sol. The ex-Miss even contacted investigators, but asked not to be disturbed. After that, Brazilian media interest in the case waned, but the family kept looking for her. Taíza finally returned to Brazil in 2013 and explained to news portals what led to her disappearance. She alleged that she fled Brazil due to threats from an ex-boyfriend and planned to stay only a few months in London. However, a man took her to Belgium, where he held her captive for two months. Taíza only realized it was human trafficking when she accessed his computer, and when they returned to London to be handed over to someone else, she managed to escape. She continued to live illegally in London for seven years, adopting several different names for fear of being recognized. She resumed contact with her family in 2012 and then returned to Brazil in November 2013.
Canadian Lynsey Bennett was dismissed on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 by Sylvia Stark, organizer of Miss Canada International. Through a press release, Stark said: “We deeply regret this decision, but other issues prevented Lynsey from taking the time to travel and meet the obligations of our sponsors.” Lynsey was shocked when she was announced that she was dismissed just as she was preparing to take a flight for a public appearance in Hamilton, Ontario, for a fundraiser in the fight against cancer. “I didn’t get any official news from the office or anything, as far as I know, I’m still Miss Canada. We are taking legal recourse due to the press release, because in some ways it is a defamation of my character”. However, Bennett was unable to regain her title. It was rumored that this fact caused Julia Morley to withdraw the Miss World franchise from Stark.
Chilean Daniela Casanova is married to Dr. Humberto Verdugo and has two females Fernanda (2004) and Isabella (2015) and a male (Benjamin, born in November 2019). They live in Viña del Mar. The Croatian Nina Slamic married in 2004 the businessman Hrvoje Gudeljevic, with whom she has three children, distancing herself from public life. They live in Zagreb. Cypriot Angela Drousiotou owns Model Agency ‘Image’ and lives in Paphos. Czech Katerina Smrzova lives in Milan, Italy, where she owns her own jewelry firm called ‘Kaymond’. Englishwoman Daniella Luan is a qualified nutritionist and holistic practitioner. She is married to Richard Norris and has two girls and one boy. They live in Oxford. Miss Estonia, Triin Sommer owns a clothing store in Besaya Beach and lives in Marbella, Spain. Miss Ghana, Shaida Buari, married Olukunle Olusoba Nubi on March 5, 2011. She is currently a businesswoman and philanthropist. In 2013, while pregnant with her child, she founded the platform tellitmoms.com, oriented to solve maternity problems. Greek Katerina Georgiadou participated as a volunteer in the 2004 Olympics. She married Stathis Tavlaridis in 2007, with whom she had their daughter Anastasia. The couple divorced in 2014. After their participation in Miss Universe 2004, the Guyanese Odessa Phillips went to live in New York where she owns her own electric company. Miss Hong Kong, Victoria Jane Jolly, spent a few years in acting. In 2005, she moved to London where she works in Marketing and Public Relations. Irish Lynda Duffy is now Mrs. Dubhthaigh and lives in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) where she works as Talent Acquisition Manager for the Middle East and Africa of IDEMIA. Miss Jamaica, Danielle O’Hayon, took to surfing professionally.
The Latvian Baiba Svarca married hockey player Juris Stals in 2008 and has lived in the US, Russia, the Czech Republic and again Latvia ever since. She is currently a cosmetology artist. Lebanese Bethany Kehdy is an expert in culinary arts and has written cookbooks. In 2003 she moved to Miami, Florida, later she married Briton Chris Bourne and went to live in England. There, she discovered her passion for cooking, started a recipe blog, and in 2010, Bethany founded ‘Taste Lebanon’, a tourism boutique offering guided tours across the country. Since then, she has worked with the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism leading press trips across the country. One of her cookbooks won a world recognition award. She currently lives between Beirut and Tiverton (Devon). Lithuanian Oksana Semenishina was going to participate in Miss Europe 2003 but withdrew due to a conflict she had with the organization. She is currently the International Secretary of the World Boxing Council and lives in Moscow. Miss Malaysia, Mabel Ng, is married to Brazilian bodybuilder Rafael Duro, has a daughter named Maya, and they live in Penang. The Mexican Blanca Zumárraga is a real estate agent in Mexico City and is co-creator of the page momfulness.life, an inspiration for women on the subject of motherhood. She is married to Carlos Santoyo Reyes, with whom she has two girls and one boy. Miss New Zealand, Rachel Huljich, married James Cooper on February 1, 2008 and they moved to Sydney, Australia. She is the mother of three girls. Huljich made headlines in Australia in 2006 when she illegally parked her brother Jason’s $ 126,000 Maserati sports car – a worker at a nearby construction site picked it up with a forklift and dropped it on the roof…
Nicaraguan Hazel Calderón is a comedian actress. She hosted ‘Caliente’ on Univision, co-starred in ‘Tierras De Pasiones’ on Telemundo and played the role of Lola on the American soap opera ‘Hospital General’. Hazel is currently a graduate of the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB), played at the DCM19 Festival in New York and performed ‘Storytelling’ at The Moth. She is married to actor Garrison Oliver Gross and lives in Los Angeles. Miss Northern Ireland, Gayle Williamson, lives in Crawfordsburn, County Down, with her son Brandon from a relationship with Irish musician Jim Corr. She is currently engaged to Richard Bell with whom she started a dog sitting business in 2020. The Panamanian Yoselín Sánchez now lives in Mexico and was a TV host on the Claro channel, then went on to Televisa, hosting the program ‘Hoy’ and also participated in some soap operas. The Polish Marta Matyjasik is a flight attendant and has worked for the airline ‘Emirates’ since 2012. In 2010, she was in Venezuela for a documentary on ‘Sun Channel’ about the country and the contest together with the former candidate for Miss Venezuela 2003 and Miss Universe Poland 2006, Francys Barraza-Zudnicka. The Romanian Cleopatra Popescu opened her own modeling agency in Sibiu and is the mother of a boy, Dominic, born in 2013. She has been married to Laviniu Bojor since May 19, 2011, and is also raising her daughter, named Manu. Dr Paula Murphy from Scotland is a consulting forensic psychiatrist. Provides psychiatric reports for many types of medico-legal cases. She is a member of the executive board of the Forensic Faculty of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and trustee of ‘Crime in Mind’. She currently resides in London.
The Slovak Eva Veresova married Dusan Novot in 2004 and is the mother of a boy named Filipko, born on May 27, 2006. She is currently an ambassador for the ‘Family Dental Care’ brand. The Spanish Lola Alcocer still works as a model in Seville and has a daughter named Valentina. Miss Swaziland, Nozipho Shabangu, never married the King of her country; It is not known how she “got away” from that responsibility. In 2008, she sued Miss World organizers for 1 million emalangeni (just over $ 70,000) for failing to fulfill the promise of the scholarship award she won in 2002. Six years later, Shabangu said they had not given nothing despite having made the claim. In 2016, she was appointed as one of the board members of the Swaziland National Youth Council. The Tahitian Rava Maiarii, today she is Mrs. Sachet and she is the secretary of the Miss Tahiti committee. She is the mother of a male and a female. The Trinidadian Janelle Rajnauth married Colin Castillo and they have two children, a boy and a girl. Dr Rehema Nakuya from Uganda earned a master’s degree in pediatrics in the UK. She is married with children and works with a Swiss affiliated NGO that deals with children and public health in Uganda. She also owns a magazine on health and nutrition. The Ukrainian Irina Udovenko got married on June 16, 2016, she is today Mrs. Klikova and gave birth to a girl at the end of 2017. She lives with her family in Moscow. Miss Wales, Michelle Bush, works as a chiropractor, has been married to Kev Smith since August 30, 2014 and is a lover of horse riding. In early 2003, Linda Van Beek of Zimbabwe was forced to give up her crown after she had reportedly become pregnant. Van Beek was speechless during the crown ceremony on April 23 of that year.
HOW THEY CURRENTLY LOOK