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Miss World 2006

By Julio Rodríguez Matute. PAYPAL.ME/RODRIGUEZMATUTE2 or ZELLE: rafrod68@hotmail.com

MOST RELEVANT EVENTS OF THE YEAR.-

                Israel invades Lebanon, starting the 2006 Lebanon War. Michelle Bachelet is elected the first female president of Chile while Hugo Chávez, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Álvaro Uribe Vélez are re-elected in the presidential elections in Venezuela, Brazil and Colombia respectively; Alan García wins the elections in Peru, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua and Óscar Arias in Costa Rica, all of them for the second time, while Felipe Calderón wins the Mexican presidency and the South Korean Ban Ki-Moon is appointed Secretary General of the UN. An earthquake leaves almost 6 thousand victims on the island of Java (Indonesia) and months later, another earthquake causes a tsunami on the same island. Typhoon Durian devastates the Philippines, the US exceeds the figure of 300 million inhabitants and Montenegro separates from Serbia, becoming an independent nation. The crime of the kidnapped Faddoul brothers occurs in Caracas (Venezuela) that caused outrage at the national level. In Venezuela, La Paragua Massacre also occurred, the Valencia metro and the Orinoquia Bridge (the second bridge that crosses the Orinoco River) were inaugurated, and the eighth star was added to the national flag. A series of terrorist attacks occurs on passenger trains in Mumbai (India), while a Turkish plane that covered the route between Tirana and Istanbul is hijacked with several candidates from the Miss Globe pageant on board. The flight was redirected to Italy, where the hijacking ended without any casualties. In the US, the social network Twitter and the WikiLeaks website are founded, while Google buys YouTube for US$1.65 billion. In Chile the student mobilization called “Revolution of the penguins” occurs, in the Philippines the death penalty is abolished and in South Africa the homosexual union is accepted. The Soccer World Cup is held in Germany and it is won by Italy (for the 4th time) beating the French team in the penalty shootout.

                The Puerto Rican Zuleyka Rivera wins the title of Miss Universe in Los Angeles, the Venezuelan Daniela Di Giácomo obtains the fifth Miss International crown for her country in China and the Chilean Hil Hernández wins the Miss Earth contest in the Philippines. The Finnish band Lordi wins Eurovision in Athens (Greece) with the song “Hard Rock Hallelujah” while “Crash” wins the Oscar for best film. In the cinema, the films “Pirates of the Caribbean: Death Chest”, “The Da Vinci Code”, “Superman Returns”, “Ice Age 2”, “Casino Royale”, “A Night at the Museum”, “X-Men: The Final Battle”, “The Butterfly Effect 2”, “Poseidon”, “The Pink Panther”, “Cars: An Adventure on Wheels”, “Deja Vu”, “Mission: Impossible 3”, “Final Destination 3”, “Happy Feet: Breaking the Ice”, “Scary Movie 4”, “Miami Vice” and “Firewall” are released. On TV, “Hannah Montana”, “La Fea Más Bella”, “Ugly Betty” and “High School Musical” premiered. On the radio, we enjoyed the songs “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira, “Say It Right” by Nelly Furtado, “Hurt” by Christina Aguilera, “Pump It” by The Black Eyed Peas, “Sexyback” by Justin Timberlake, “Sorry” by Madonna, “Too Little Too Late” by Jojo, “(When You Gonna) Give It Up To Me” by Sean Paul and Keyshia Cole, “Bendita Tu Luz” by Maná, “Tu Recuerdo” by Ricky Martin and “World Hold on (Children of the Sky)” by Bob Sinclair and Steve Edwards. A Rolling Stone concert is held in Copacabana (Brazil) that brings together two million people and Sony releases the PlayStation 3. This year we had the sad deaths of the Mexican TV presenter Raúl Velasco, the Spanish singers Rocío Dúrcal and Rocío Jurado, the “Godfather of Soul” James Brown, the South African singer Lebo Mathosa, the actress Shelley Winters, the actor Al Lewis (the grandfather of the Monsters), the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, the former Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner, the politician Iraqi Saddam Hussein, Serbian politician Slobodan Milošević, South African politician Pieter Willem Botha, Puerto Rican actress and former Miss Mapita Cortés, soprano Anna Moffo, actress Liliana Durán, Dominican actor Nelson de la Rosa, TV producer Aaron Spelling and the Mexican singer Valentín Elizalde who was murdered.

PRIOR TO MISS WORLD.-

                In November 2005 it was said that the 56th edition of Miss World would take place in Russia, with the support of the local government. Tatyana Andreeva, the director of “Beauty Russia”, who had the Miss World franchise in that country, said that Julia Morley constantly pressured her to organize the 2006 pageant in Russia. To do this, Andreeva had to find US$10 million and provide 5-star accommodation and service for the contestants. At first, Andreeva agreed, as the governor of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District had shown interest in the project on the condition that the Miss World final be held on his territory. However, some difficulties arose and no new sponsors appeared. Because of that, Andreeva decided to abandon the plan and at the end of the year the Miss World event in that country was cancelled.

Tatyana Andreeva

                But it didn’t take long for Morley to find a place to hold the contest. On January 18, 2006, the organization announced that the venue would be Poland. The possibility of organizing the final of the competition in Poland had appeared unexpectedly after Russia canceled the venue. In September, the most beautiful women from 120 countries would travel to the heart of Central Europe to compete for the crown of Miss World 2006. Preparations were underway for a spectacular month-long tour of the cities, lakes and monuments that make Poland a land rich in heritage, culture and natural wonders. As always, the highlight of the tour would be the Miss World final, which would take place in historic Warsaw on September 30. The contest was to be the largest event to take place in modern Poland, and it came with the stamp of approval of the event’s sponsor, Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz. President of the Miss World Organization Julia Morley said: “Poland is a wonderful place for Miss World 2006. People have tremendously warm hearts and are proud of their beautiful country. Poland will surely welcome the contestants, who are they will take home many memories and wonderful experiences from their stay here. We will show the wonders of Poland to the world.” For her part, Elzbieta Wierzbicka, President of the Miss Poland Organization, said: “We are incredibly proud to host Miss World and to share the beauty of our country with people from all over the world. Poland will welcome the contestants with the warmth and compassion that Poles are known for. This is the biggest event in recent Polish history and the entire nation will come together to ensure it is a success.”

                On February 20, the Polish media flocked when Miss World 2005, Unnur Birna Vilhjalmsdottir, arrived in Warsaw along with Julia Morley, who led the delegation to Poland, as preparations for the pageant progressed. Unnur Birna spent her first day in Warsaw being interviewed on Polish television, and in the evening she chaired an informative panel discussion, live on television, praising Miss World 2006 in Poland. “We have more than one show – we have 22 different events during Miss World and they will all show the real Poland. Tourism is needed everywhere and it is important that we create that excitement here. We want to work with the Polish people to make a difference where we can. We trust the people to help us do a lot of good for Poland. The country is about to undergo an incredible transformation, which is known in China as the ‘Miss World effect’. If we work hard together, we can leave a very big legacy. People can come to Poland and feel good. That’s why we can work together so that people come here. The time has come to show the whole world that the heart of Poland is its people. We must show it to the rest of the world.” Morley said.

                The 120 candidates would enjoy a four-week tour of Poland to see some of the country’s most incredible sights: from Poland’s Baltic coastal beaches in the north, to the Great Masurian Lakes or the Tatra Rocky Mountains in the South. Elsewhere, they could visit the green nature of the Bieszczady region, the impressive underground salt mine in Wieliczka, and of course the wonders of Warsaw, with its grand palaces, parks and churches, and the medieval beauty of the second city, Krakow. The license that the Miss Poland organization bought from Miss World cost 5 million British pounds, which at the time was around 30 million zlotys. And although it seemed logical that an event of this range would be supported by the state and its institutions, in Poland, despite the interest of the government and municipal authorities, there was a fear of investing public capital in at least one commercial event. Time was passing, the deadlines for the payment of fees were inevitably approaching and no details were available. After Poland was officially announced as the host of the competition, it was threatened with global embarrassment. So the Polish organization began to seek funding for the beauty competition through political contacts. At the end of March 2006, the Warsaw Capital City Council decided to spend PLN 10 million to host the final gala. It was not a unanimous decision.

                In July, the Polish government reported that 70 percent of the population would watch the television broadcast of Miss World 2006. It was also reported that more than 20,000 new jobs would be created and PLN 240 million (41 million pounds sterling) to the coffers of the country when Miss World 2006 was held in Poland, according to an independent study. The prestigious Market Economy Research Institute (IBnGR) conducted an evaluation of the economic effects of Miss World 2006 in that country. The staging of Miss World 2006 represented great opportunity and prestige for Poland and promoted the country globally with positive economic effects, including the creation of many new jobs in tourism and associated industries, the report stated. As a result of the strong influence of tourism on the national economy, IBnGR estimated that Miss World 2006 would positively affect the rate of economic development, with annual GDP growth rate in 2007-2010 estimated at 0.1-0.4% more because of the benefits of hosting Miss World 2006. The long-term economic effects of choosing the most beautiful woman in the world were equally impressive. According to the experts of the Institute, the promotion of Poland would result in increased interest among foreign tourists, which would cause a significant increase in the number of people who would visit the country. The report also found that Poles could see the positive effects of hosting Miss World 2006. It stated that 87% thought the event would be a good promotion for Poland, while 83% of those surveyed believed it would encourage the foreign tourists to visit Poland. Almost 70% agreed that the Miss World organization would improve the tourism and accommodation infrastructure. The Poles also saw the opportunity for new investments: 53% of the respondents were convinced that the organization of this event would encourage foreign investment in Poland.

                On July 26 it was announced that Britain’s leading light entertainment channel Challenge had signed an exclusive deal with the Miss World Organization and Zeal Television to bring the 56th edition of Miss World 2006 to television screens across the UK. The channel would provide unparalleled coverage in the build-up to the event culminating in a two-hour live grand finale in Poland on September 30. This would be done through a series of six 30-minute “Vote For Me” shows that would make the viewer the judge, who would choose two finalists from each of six world regions. It would also feature two new standalone shows, the “Miss World Beach Beauty” and the “Miss World Talent Challenge.” Celia Taylor, Controller of Challenge Channel said: “We are really excited to be the only UK channel to cover this year’s Miss World as it is a true institution. This acquisition will establish our channel as one that caters for the whole family and enhances our growing entertainment offering. For her part, Julia Morley, said: “The 56th Miss World Final will be our most interactive show to date, with the public contributing greatly to choosing the winner of Miss World 2006. Challenge is a family entertainment channel at the forefront of television interactivity in the UK. We are delighted that by working with Challenge, viewers in Britain will be able to cast their votes and then see the result in the live televised final on September 30.”

                On July 27, it was announced that the western Polish city of Wroclaw would host the Miss World 2006 talent competition. Event President and CEO Julia Morley said, “The Miss World talent show is one of my favorite elements of the pageant. Girls from all corners of the world come together to share their skills, support each other and experience an event of undeniable quality. We are proud of the artists we have seen on the Miss World stage in previous years and we look forward to a night to remember in Wroclaw in September.” However, not everything went as smoothly as expected. At the end of July, a person from the close political circle of the Miss Poland Bureau was arrested. This had a very negative effect on the image of the preparations for Miss World. Prime Minister J. Kaczyński, seeing the confusion, revoked sponsorship of the event. On August 3, it was rumored that the celebration of Miss World in Poland was in danger since it was still not clear which company would take care of the organization at the local level and it was said that several meetings, held in those last days, had not contributed any result.

                According to the Polish press, 23 million zloty (about six million euros or 7.6 million dollars) were still missing for the organization of the event. Talks to receive financial support from Polish television had not been concluded. There was an in-depth analysis of the financial possibilities and the state of preparations. There was a month left before the start of the event, and the financial and organizational issues were not real. So a compromise was negotiated: POT and Warsaw would host Miss World, TVP would provide the service, and the Miss Poland Office would become a subcontractor to Warsaw. But nothing came of it either. Having lost government sponsorship, television said it did not have enough money to co-host. However, the Polish government, despite withdrawn sponsorship, decided to take matters into its own hands and began negotiations with Morley, agreeing to cut the financial terms of the license by more than half. She was informed about the organizational situation in Poland, that the then president of Poland, Lech Kaczyński, had made the decision to continue with the preparations for the event, despite its dramatic condition, and that the Miss Poland Organization could not take care of everything. The Miss World Board of Directors accepted the proposal to reduce the license fee. This allowed, from the capital saved, to provide financing for the entire contest in Poland.

                On August 21, the agreement was finally signed with the Miss World organization for the celebration of the contest in Poland. “This agreement was approved by three presidents and two prime ministers” – a Miss World representative jokingly commented on the document signed between the Capital City of Warsaw and the Miss Poland Office. By signing the agreement on the organization of the Miss World 2006 final in Warsaw on that day, the city was successful in its efforts to take advantage of this extraordinary promotional offer for many months. The document was signed by the coordinator Michał Borowski on the part of the city, and the head of the office, Elżbieta Wierzbicka, on the part of Miss Poland. This opportunity was seized by the director of the City Development and Promotion Office, Tadeusz Deszkiewicz, whom Michał Borowski thanked for his efforts and congratulated him on his effectiveness in achieving the goal. “We didn’t have the money to advertise on prime-time television stations around the world with the strength to announce the final of the contest,” said Tadeusz Deszkiewicz. The Polish regions would have had to spend at least PLN 30 million for a comparable promotion, ie much more than the PLN 9.5 million that the city had allocated for this event. “This amount may decrease once we finalize the ongoing negotiations with potential partners,” emphasized the director of the Promotion Office.

                The holding of the contest in Poland had begun to be discussed in Warsaw during the term of President Lech Kaczyński. The efforts had been supported by Mirosław Kochalski, interim president, and the contract was signed on August 21, following the appointment of Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz to that position. As the new prime minister, he assumed sponsorship of the contest. His successor, Jarosław Kaczyński, confirmed the head of government’s decision to sponsor the beauty competition. Shortly after, the Polish authorities decided to remove the Miss Poland Organization from the preparations for Miss World 2006. This decision came as a shock to the national organizer of Miss Poland and also had strong consequences. This was because the Miss Poland Organization lost the right to delegate Polish representatives in later editions of Miss World for many years. The contest was finally organized by the Polish authorities with the Polish Tourism Organization and the capital city of Warsaw. The British organization, together with Polish Television, would be directly responsible for holding the final gala.

                On the other hand, much controversy was caused by the poster promoting Miss World 2006. Its author was Rafał Olbiński, an international-class visual artist who lived in the United States, where he was a professor at two American universities. Originally, the poster contained a mermaid as one of the graphic elements. Since the final event would be in Warsaw, and its symbol was the Mermaid, it had a worthy place on the poster. Unfortunately, this version left Julia Morley stunned as the original version of the poster was considered too erotic. Morley thought that although the Polish monument was a symbol of the city as an attraction promoting that place through the contest, it could cause an international scandal. This was because the Mermaid, half woman, half fish, was presented with her breasts exposed, something that in Muslim countries would cause a great scandal. Therefore, a solution was sought. “The way the artist first drew it, one of her breasts was covered and the other was not,” said Tadeusz Deszkiewicz, director of the Warsaw promotion office. “The combination was very erotic.” The poster’s creator redrew the poster to include a sash across the mermaid’s exposed chest. The siren, a central figure in the founding legend of Warsaw, is represented in two statues in the capital and appears on the city’s coat of arms, naked from the waist up. The reproduction, provided by the Warsaw City Council on August 26, showed the advertising poster for Miss World 2006, with her chest covered, as it should be.

NATIONAL COMPETITIONS.-

                A record turnout of 120 candidates was expected this year, out of the 127 nations and territories that held the rights to Miss World in 2006. For budgetary reasons, competitions were not held in Lithuania and Nicaragua, while Swaziland canceled its 2006 pageant after a controversy with the national organization. On the other hand, Nepal did not hold its contest due to the civil war that affected the nation and the national contest was postponed until January 2007. Switzerland recused from sending a representative because its national event was scheduled for September 9 and no finalist from the previous year was designated, although in reality, the Swiss directors had been quite discouraged with the non-classification of Miss Switzerland, Lauriane Gilliéron, in the last edition of Miss World and, in addition, they did not agree with the people’s vote. Albania also did not hold its national contest. In fact, the Albanian representative of the previous year, Suada Sherifi, was supposed to attend Miss Universe 2006 but did not do so because the photographer Fadil Berisha, who had the rights to the contest, wanted her to have a nose job and she did not accept. Therefore, she was replaced by Eralda Hitaj, who was handpicked for Miss Universe and no girl was designated for Miss World. Finally, Uganda was going to choose its delegate in a contest on July 29, but due to internal problems and a change of hands in the local organization, the contest was canceled at the last minute. This year, Cambodia and Montenegro made their debut, while Andorra, Fiji, Honduras, Macau, Togo and Turks-Caicos desisted from continuing with the franchise of the world contest. Below is the information on the national contests for Miss World 2006:

* MISS CHAD (Apr.2, 2005).- Aché Myriam Commelin, who had participated in Miss Earth 2004, won the title of “Miss Chad 2005” on Saturday, April 2nd at the Hotel Meridien Chari, among 21 participants.

* MISS GHANA (Jul.9, 2005).- The “Miss LG Ghana 2005” pageant was held on Saturday, July 9th at the Accra International Conference Center and featured 21 candidates. The winner was Lamisi Mbillah, a 22-year-old student, who also won Best Talent and her ticket to Miss World 2006. The finalists were Ursula Naa Dei Neequaye, 20, and Maame Afua Anne Darko, 19. Yvonne Nelson was Miss Photogenic, Anita Adu won Miss Personality and Monica Baaba Jones was Miss Fitness.

* NUESTRA BELLEZA MEXICO (Sept.2, 2005).- Priscila Perales Elizondo, 22, from Nuevo Leon, was crowned “Nuestra Belleza Mexico 2005” at the Old Locomotive Workshop in the city of Aguascalientes, on her way to Miss Universe 2006. Karla Jiménez Amescua, 22, from Puebla, was crowned “Nuestra Belleza Mundo Mexico” and Daniela Cosio from Baja California Sur was chosen as a substitute. The remaining finalists were Ana Sifuentes (Jalisco) and Julia Muñoz (Tamaulipas). The Top 10 included representatives from Baja California (Marcela Rubio), Distrito Federal (Priscila Valles), Guanajuato (Ángela Sandoval), Veracruz (Cindy Cajuste), and Zacatecas (Diana Jiménez). 33 candidates participated. This year the “Queen of a Million” label was established. This provided a new award structure that encouraged the participation of young Mexican women.

* MISS MAURITIUS (Oct.15, 2005).- The crown of “Miss Mauritius 2005” remained in the Antoo family. It was Isabelle, the sister of Magalie Antoo, Miss Mauritius from the previous year, who won the coveted title, en route to Miss Universe, in the enchanting setting of the Coco Beach hotel. The finalists were Véronique Tadebois and Kelly Désiré, while 22-year-old Vanesha Seetohul, from Beau-Bassin, was crowned “Miss Mauritius World 2006” at the same event.

* MISS ZIMBABWE TOURISM (Nov.3, 2005).- The pageant changed hands and was renamed. It was won by Lorraine Tsoanele Maphala. The election was postponed several times and due to the lateness of its completion, the young woman could not compete in Miss World 2005, leaving her participation postponed for 2006.

* MISS FRANCE (Dec.3, 2005).- The 76th edition of Miss France was held at the Cannes Congress and Festival Palace with 45 participants. The winner was Miss Languedoc, Alexandra Rosenfeld, who was crowned by her predecessor Cindy Fabre, who was absent from Miss World for a few days to be present at the coronation of the new Miss France 2006. The finalists were Sophie Ducasse (Ile de France), Laura Fasquel (Albigeois-Midi-Toulousain), Elodie Lebon (Réunion) and Virgine Gaudeneche (Pays de l`Ain). The semifinalists were the representatives of the Camargue Cévennes, Marie-Charlotte Mére; Caledonie, Emmanuella Darman; Provence, Lydia Podossenoff; Comminge Pyrenees, Marie-Alexis Bazerque; Quercy Rouergue, Lisa Fernandez; Berry, Elodie Thomas; and Flandre, Juliette Andry.

* MISS BOTSWANA (Dec.9, 2005).- Lorato “Lala” Pearl Tebogo, 20, won the crown of Miss Botswana among 21 candidates in the pageant held at the Gaborone International Convention Center, heading to Miss World 2006. The finalists were Dineo Seleke, 24, and Kefilwe Kgosi, 21.

* MISS LEBANON (Dec.10, 2005).- It took place at the Casino Du Liban with 31 candidates. The winner was Gabrielle Bou Rashed, 19, who would go on to Miss Universe and Miss World 2006. The runners-up were Annabella Hilal, Nadine Yazbeck, Reem Moukarzel and Abir Layous. Gabrielle attended Miss Universe and later the directors chose to send the 1st. runner-up, Annabella Hilal, to Miss World.

* MISS SOUTH AFRICA (Dec.10, 2005).- The joint election of Miss South Africa and Miss South Africa Teen was held at the Sun City Superbowl with 26 girls. “Miss South Africa 2005” was Nokuthula Sithole (for Miss Universe and Miss World 2006) while the finalists were Avumile Qongqo and Matapa Maila. Julia Jansch and Refiloe Tloti completed the Top 5. “Miss South Africa Teen 2005” was Bertha-Marie Le Roux and her princesses were Nontsikelelo Khumalo and Sandhya Naidoo.

* MISS ANGOLA (Dec.16, 2005).- Miss Huila, Stiviandra Oliveira, 17, won the Miss Angola crown among 25 participants, in an event held in the city of Cabinda. The finalists were Miss Cabinda, Isménia Júnior and Miss Luanda, Dijaila Fortes. The semifinalists were Edna Lopes, Jandira Dungão, Mariana Mandangi, Suzana Portela, Yassera Fernnades, Elsa Mussengue and Noelma da Costa. Due to age (the new queen did not turn 18 before February 1st), Stiviandra was sent to Miss World, while the 1st runner-up went to Miss Universe.

* MISS BELGIUM (Dec.18, 2005).- Flemish engineer Virginie Claes, 23, from the city of Hasselt, was chosen “Miss Belgium 2006” among 20 contestants at the VTM Studio in Vilvoorde. The finalists were Kaat Vermeeren and Emilie Dupuis. Virginie Claes was accused of having bought her beauty title, however no evidence of this was found and she represented the country at Miss World 2006.

* MISS ALGERIA (Dec.21, 2005).- The contest was held in the restaurant of the port of Sidi Fredj with 19 girls. The winner was Meriem Leitim (17) and the finalists were Amanda Belghoul and Soumia Chaieb.

* MISS NORWAY (Jan.14).- The contest, hosted by former Miss Universe Mona Grudt, was held at the TV2 studios among 12 finalists selected in a semifinal with 24 contestants. The event crowned two queens: Tonje Elise Skjaervik (to Miss World) and Martine Jonassen (to Miss Universe). Kirby Ann Basken was the finalist.

* MISS & MR. LATVIA (Jan.26).- The “Miss & Mister Latvia 2005” pageant took place on Thursday, January 26th, 2006 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where Kristīne Djadenko and Kārlis Karolis won the competition among 6 contestants from each category. The finalists were Tatjana Kurakina and Jānis Ozols, while Zane Jansone was Miss Foto and Artūrs Alberts, was chosen Mister Foto.

* MISS GERMANY (Febr.4).- It was held at the Europa-Park in Rust with 22 candidates. It was won by Isabelle Knispel while the finalists were Jennifer Schäfer and Wlada Schüler.

* MISS COSTA RICA (Febr.10).- The Auditorium of the Children’s Museum in San José was once again the venue for the final of Miss Costa Rica, a contest that had 5 competitors. Fabriella Quesada, 22 years old and a graduate in medicine, became “Miss Costa Rica 2006” (to Miss Universe). For her part, Belgica Arias, 21 years old and with studies in international trade, was crowned Miss Costa Rica World. Arlene Raventós was the finalist.

* MISS CAYMAN ISLANDS (Febr.18).- Ambuyah Ebanks, 20, won the pageant held at the Lions Community Center and therefore the right to represent the islands in Miss Universe and Miss World 2006. The finalists were Arleth Chiari and Jovanni Hessing. Six candidates participated.

* MISS UKRAINE (Febr.28).- The pageant was held in the Ukraine Presidential Hall with the assistance of 3,600 spectators. The winner was 19-year-old Olga Shilovanova from Kharkiv. The finalists were Lena Kolondiets (Brovary), Levka Kvitoslava (Uzhgorod); Inna Goruk (Ivano-Frankivsk); and Lena Redkozub (kyiv). For her part, Inna Khokhlova from Lugansk was Miss Photogenic.

* BINIBINING PILIPINAS (Mar.4).- The winners of the Philippine national beauty pageant held at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City were: Lia Andrea Ramos (to Miss Universe), Anna Maris Igpit (to Miss World) and Denille Lou Valmonte ( to Miss International). The finalists were Rosalyn Sirikit Santiago and Jeanne Bernadette. Completing the Top 10 were Khristine Marie Lim, Fiona Marie Lava, Marie-Ann Umali, Mary Pilar de Gorostiza and Caroline Yorke. 24 candidates participated.

* THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN NIGERIA (Mar.11).- It took place at the Expo Center of the Eko Hotel & Suites in Lagos, with 26 competitors. The winner, heading to Miss World, was Miss Lagos, Abiola Bashorun. The finalists were Miss Oyo, Tengopre Oki (to Miss Universe), Miss Edo, Vanessa Oyinye (to Miss Tourism International), Miss Nasarawa, Taka Kpanja (to Miss Ecowas) and Miss Ogun, Saudat Farri.

* MISS ECUADOR (Mar.16).- It was held at the Coliseo Mayor de Cuenca, where the winner, heading to Miss Universe, was Katty López, from Guayaquil (also Best Hair and Best Smile). For Miss World was chosen Rebeca Flores from Cuenca (also Miss Photogenic) and for Miss International, Denisse Rodríguez from Pichincha. The remaining finalists were Mirely Barzola from Guayas and Karla Caicedo from Esmeraldas.

* MISS INDIA (Mar.18).- Pond’s Femina Miss India contest was held at the MMRDA Grounds in Mumbai with 25 candidates. There, Neha Kapur (Miss India-Universe and also Miss Photogenic), Natasha Suri (Miss India-World), and Amruta Patki (Miss India-Earth) were crowned. The finalists were Tanya Vakil and Sonali Sehgal. Rounding out the Top 10 were Parineeta Chaudhary, Pooja Sharma, Aishwarya Sakhuja, Vibhinta Verma and Aarohi Misra.

* MISS UNIVERSE PARAGUAY 2006 (Mar.18).- Lóurdes Arévalos, 22 years old, won the crown of “Miss Universe Paraguay 2006” at the Central Bank Theater in Asunción among 16 participants. The finalists were Leryn Franco (to Miss World), Elvira Cuellar, Myriam Rodríguez and Camila Carisimo.

* MISS ISRAEL (Mar.21).- 18-year-old student Yael Nezri, from Kiryat Shmona, was crowned Israel’s Beauty Queen in Haifa. This year, the directors decided to send the titleholder back to Miss World. As Maiden of Beauty of Israel was Anastasya Yentin, 23 years old (to Miss Universe). Israel’s Queen of Grace was 17-year-old Tehila Mor (to Miss International) and Israel’s teen queen was 19-year-old Hila Eran. The remaining finalists were Dana Keren and Li’or Halbersberg.

* MISS BULGARIA (Mar.25).- Slavena Vutova, 17, was the winner of the “Miss Bulgaria 2006” pageant, which was held, with 36 contestants, at the Plovdiv International Fair. The 1st. runner-up was Galena Dimova from Sofia, who was crowned Miss Bulgaria Universe, while the 2nd runner-up was Mariela Mumdzhieva from Plovdiv (for Miss Europe 2006) and 3rd runner-up was Ivelina Lashova (for Miss Tourism).

* MISS TRINIDAD & TOBAGO (Mar.27).- It was held in a reality-show style, with nine competitors, at Club Zen. Kenisha Thom (to Miss Universe) and Tineke de Freitas (to Miss World) were crowned at the event while Valene Maharaj was the runner-up. Kenisha had been the representative of Trinidad-Tobago in Miss World 2004. The former Trinidadian Miss World, Giselle Laronde, was on the judging panel.

* MISS AUSTRIA (Apr.1).- It was held at the Baden Casino. The winner was 20-year-old Tatjana Batinic from Vienna and the finalists were Cathrin Czizek from Ottensheim, Timea Feher from Hörsching, Julia Polzer from Kirchfidisch and Valentina Berto from Graz. The organizers decided to send Miss Austria back to Miss World after what happened two years before with its titleholder in China (see MISS WORLD 2004).

* MISS SPAIN (Apr.2).- 20-year-old Elizabeth Reyes Villegas, Miss Malaga, was crowned “Miss Spain 2006” at a gala held in Marina D’Or, Oropeza del Mar, among 52 candidates. The Maids of Honor were Miss Alicante, Inmaculada Torres del Rey and Miss Soria, Sara Sánchez Torres. The remaining finalists were the delegates from Cantabria (Ángela Gómez), Las Palmas (Tania Ladeiro) and Seville (María de la Soledad Garrido). The Top 12 were completed by the girls from A Coruña (María Jesús Doval), Badajoz (Fátima Alce), Cádiz (Isabel Segovia), Balearic Islands (Vanesa García), Tenerife (María Isabel Fumero) and Valencia (Noelia Villanueva). Although it had been announced that the new beauty queen would represent Spain in both Miss Universe and Miss World, after returning from Miss Universe, Elizabeth did not want to go to Miss World, therefore, she was replaced in that contest by Inmaculada Torres.

* NUESTRA BELLEZA EL SALVADOR (Apr.7).- The final of the Reality “In Search of Nuestra Belleza 2006” was held at the San Salvador International Fair Amphitheater with 15 participants. Rebeca Iraheta, Tatiana Romero and Marcela Aguiluz were crowned as the Salvadoran representatives to Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Mesoamerica, respectively. The semifinalists were Jackeline Sandoval, Elizabeth Romero and Claudia Guzmán (Miss Elegance). For her part, Jennifer Villalobos was Miss Internet.

* MISS CZECH REPUBLIC (Apr.8).- The “Miss Czech Republic 2006” was held at the Bobycentrum in Brno with 12 candidates. The winner, heading to Miss World 2006, was Taťána Kuchařová from Opočno, who also won the title of Miss Congeniality. The finalists were Katerina Pospisilova from Prague, (for Miss International 2006) and Renata Czadernova from Ostrava. The candidates visited Tunisia, where they took photos and did some filming. There also Taťána Kuchařová won the sash of Miss Sahara.

* STAR HELLAS (Apr.10).- Olympia Hopsonidou won the title of “Star Hellas 2006” on her way to Miss Universe, among 25 young ladies at the Fever Hall in Athens. As “Miss Hellas 2006” (to Miss World) Eirini Karra was crowned. The Star Hellas finalist was Julia Alexandratou (for Miss International), while the Miss Hellas finalist was Elena Asimakopoulou (for Miss Europe). Chosen as Miss Young was Nasia Aneroussi and her finalist was Maria Kontou; Miss Hellas Tourism was Konstantina Prassa and her finalist was Sofia Gosiou, Aliki Karpodini was Miss Greek Beauty and Mandalena Ergati was Miss Photogenic.

* MISS GUATEMALA (Apr.10).- Jackelinne Piccinini Otten, 21, from Mazatenango, was crowned “Miss Guatemala Universe 2006” in an event held with nine candidates at the Gran Tikal Futura Hotel Convention Center. The finalists were Massiel Carrillo (for Miss World), Myrna Salguero and Wendy García. For personal reasons, Massiel gave up going to Poland, so Jackeline took on the responsibility of going to Miss World upon returning from Miss Universe.

* MISS WORLD JAPAN (Apr.13).- It was held at the American Club in Tokyo. The winner was 21-year-old Kazuha Kondo and Mariko Yoshida was the runner-up.

* QUEEN OF THE CARNIVAL OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS (Apr.15).- It took place at the Lionel Roberts Stadium with six entrants. The winner was Mystique Burke, who also won the titles for Best Evening Wear, Best Talent, Best Historical/Cultural Clothing, Best Interview and Most Photogenic. Alanis Gregory was named first runner-up, Teryssa Thomas won third place and Shayla Cruz took fourth place. For her part, Shaharlee Blake was chosen as the most collaborative.

* MISS EGYPT (Apr.18).- Fawzeya Mohamed, 22, was crowned “Pantene Miss Egypt 2006” in Cairo, on her way to Miss Universe. The finalists were Reem Helal, 22 (to Miss World), Rasha Hassan, Nesreen Emam and Christine Tarek. On the jury was Antigone Costanda (Miss World 1954). 21 candidates participated. After returning from Miss Universe, the directors decided to send Fawzeya to Miss World as well, but could not do so due to lack of time to process her visa.

* MISS SLOVAKIA (Apr.20).- Magdalena Sebestova, 22, was crowned “Miss Slovakia 2006” in a contest held at the Great National Hall of the Tennis Center. The finalists were Zuzana Lazova (for Miss Europe) and Dagmar Ivanova (for Miss International).

* MISS DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (Apr.21).- It was held at the Grand Hotel Kinshasa with 19 candidates, and the winner was Miss Katanga, Diane Mizumi. The finalists were Mariette Bokako from Kinshasa and Sonya Ilonga from South Kivu.

* MISS TURKEY (May 1).- The beautiful Merve Buyuksarac, 18, won the title of “Miss Turkey 2006” (for Miss World) at the end of a televised show held at the TIM Show Center in Istanbul. Miss Turkey Universe was Ceyla Kirazli, 19 years old; Miss Turkey Europe was Selda Ogruk, 22, and Miss Turkey International, Asena Tugal, also 22. 20 women competed in the annual event televised on Star TV.

* MISS ANTIGUA & BARBUDA (May 11).- Held at the Grand Princess Hotel in Jolly Harbor with seven candidates. The winner was Shari McEwan.

* MISS NAMIBIA (May 20).- Anna Nashandi, 22, was crowned “Miss Namibia 2006” at a gala event held at the Windhoek Country Club, en route to Miss Universe and Miss World. Laurencia Endjala was crowned First Princess and Rebeka Munana was Second Princess. Lizane van Wyk was Miss Photogenic while Defney Tshabalala was chosen as Miss Personality. Laurencia Endjala was the People’s Choice for the crown. 10 candidates participated.

* MISS SAINT LUCIA (May 21).- Sascha Andrew-Rose, who was Miss Saint Lucia World 2004, became the chosen representative for the Miss Universe 2006 competition when she won the local stage of the pageant at the National Cultural Center. Tamalisa Jn Baptiste also emerged in the top three and was elected Miss Saint Lucia/World 2006. At least two contestants experienced “wardrobe malfunctions” when they unbuttoned their bathing suits and ran off stage. In fifth place was Davina Louison, in fourth place Fiona Gross and in third place Stephanie Peters.

* UNGFRU ISLAND (May 24).- Sif Aradóttir, 22, was crowned “Miss Iceland 2006” during an event televised live from Reykjavík’s Broadway hall. The organization decided that this year the winner would go to Miss Universe and not to Miss World, since they had the title of world beauty at that time and wanted to seek the possibility of obtaining the first Miss Universe crown for Iceland. The reigning Miss World, the Icelandic Unnur Birna, was present at the event and fell on stage during her presentation. (See video below). The finalists were 19-year-old Asdis Svava Hallgrimsdóttir, Miss Kopavogrul (to Miss World), and 22-year-old Jona Kristin Heimisdóttir, Miss Hafnarjordur. 22 women participated in the annual beauty pageant.

* MISS MOLDOVA (May 27).- “Miss Moldova 2006” was held at the National Theater of Opera and Ballet with 20 participants. Alexandra Demciuk from Balts-city won the title en route to Miss World 2006. The contest was organized for the first time in the last three years, and viewers, also for the first time, were able to vote for their favorites via SMS. And as a third novelty, for the first time, the contest was won by a representative from the north of the country. The 1st runner-up was Yekaterina Vigovskaya.

* MISS CROATIA WORLD (May 27).- Ivana Ergic (19) from Vodice, won the crown of Miss Croatia and the Miss Photogenic sash in Studio 9 of HTV. The finalists were Marina Parlov (19), from Zagreb and Ândrea Atanasov (18), also from Zagreb. For her part, Diana Skec from Kozarevac was Miss Congeniality.

* MISS BELARUS (Jun.2).- Yekaterina Litvinova, 22, a student at the Belarusian-Russian University, won the “Miss Belarus 2006” pageant held at the Palace of the Republic in Minsk. The finalists were Julia Sindeyeva and Helen Sedyak (also Miss Popularity).

* MISS MONDO ITALIA (Jun.3).- Elizaveta Migatcheva, 17, a model of Russian descent from Rome, won the “Miss Mondo Italia 2006” contest, held in the tourist port of Santa Maria di Leuca among 52 participants. Another six special awards were assigned: after Miss Cover Girl and Miss Congeniality went to Giorgia Moschini from San Remo (17 years old) and to Penelope Landini from Romagna de Imola (17 years old), it was the turn of Miss Trentino de Bolzano, Michela Chemoli, 21, to receive the Miss “Canon Image” sash. Miss “Bolleblu Compagnia Italiana Intimo” went to the blonde Nadia Albergati from Bergamo (24), Miss Model to Valentina Massi from Forlì (23) and, finally, the Miss Moda Capelli “Kemon” tiara went to the absolute winner Elizaveta Migatcheva.

* MISS GIBRALTAR (Jun.3).- Hayley O’Brien, 21, a human resources employee, won the “Miss Gibraltar 2006” pageant that was held for the third consecutive year at St. Michael’s Cave, with 9 candidates. The First Princess was Lian Falzun and the Second Princess was Angelique Ruiz.

* MISS COTE D’IVOIRE (Jun.3).- Alina Diomande, 19, won the Miss Cote D’Ivoire contest at the Ivoire Hotel Congress Palace among 24 contestants. Diomande, 1.70 m., earned the right to represent her country in Miss World 2006. The first runner-up was Diane Kobou Kousso and the second runner-up was Salimata Traore.

* MISS BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA (Jun.4).- The Miss Bosnia and Herzegovina pageant was held at Termalna Rivijera Iidiza in Sarajevo with 22 participants. The winner was Azra Gazdić from Tuzla, who had previously won the Miss BiH Federation sash. The runners-up were Katarina Martinović from Orašje (also Miss Oriflame), and Nataša Petrović from Lopar. Sarajka Mirela Tahirović received the most televotes and Mateja Dujić was Miss Photogenic.

* MISS WORLD ESTONIA (Jun.4).- The Gloria restaurant in Tallinn was the venue for “Miss World Estonia 2006”, where Leisi Põldsam was the winner. The princesses were Marleen Tarik (21) and Keith Tootsi (18). Like the previous year, the contest was made in a reality-show called “Missid”.

* MISS BOLIVIA (Jun.8).- Bolivia crowned three new beauty queens, chosen from 21 contestants, at the Expocruz in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. The winners were: Miss Bolivia Universe, Srta. Beni, Jéssica Jordán (also Best Smile, Best Face, AeroSur Girl and Miss Photogenic); Miss Bolivia World, Miss Beni, Ana María Ortíz and Miss Bolivia International, Srta. Santa Cruz, Pamela Justiniano. For her part, Katherine Barba, Miss Santa Cruz, was chosen as the first runner-up of the contest.

* MISS & MR.WALES (Jun.9).- In a glittering ceremony held at Cardiff’s Coal Exchange, 16-year-old Sarah Fleming from Brecon was crowned “Miss Wales 2006”, making her the youngest queen in the history, while Luke Roberts, from Bangor, took the title of Mr. Wales. This year, the Miss Wales/Mr. Wales events raised around £15,000 for “Save the Children”, a record for the pageant. The finalists were Lydija Vrcic from Cwmbran and Jamie Williams from Llanymynech, while in the men field, the finalists were Leigh Brookman from Pontypridd and Frank Lillywhite from Cardiff. 30 candidates and 15 gentlemen participated. Miss World 2005, Unnur Birna, was a judge.

* MISS WORLD MONGOLIA (Jun.10).- It was won by Selenge Erdene-Ochir in Ulan Bator, among 12 contestants. The finalists were Oyungerel Gankhuyag and Baatarsren Khandaa.

* MISS MALTESE ISLANDS (MISS WORLD MALTA) (Jun.10).- The pageant was held at Selmun Castle, one of the oldest and most historic castles in Malta, with an audience of 650 people. 29 girls competed for the title and the show was broadcast live on NET TV. Solange Jeanne Mifsud, 24, was the winner. The finalists were Lyona Xeureb and Shanel Debatista.

* MISS PERU WORLD (Jun.17).- The contest was divided from this year, leaving the “Corporación de la Belleza” organization and the San Juan Bautista Private University with the Miss Universe franchise and Tito Paz of “Reinas del Perú” with the Miss World franchise. The winner of Miss Peru World was Silvia Cornejo Serna, in the final that took place at the Vertex of the Museum of the Nation. The representative of La Libertad was able to overcome the other 22 candidates, followed as finalists by the contestants from San Martín, Darayi Tejada Celis; from Lambayeque, Brenda Aguirre; from Piura, Maria Cristina Montenegro; from Ucayali, Dulcinea Prado Rodríguez, and from Tacna, Macarena Florez Altamirano.

* MISS NEDERLAND (Jun.18).- The election of the Dutch representative to Miss World was held in Studio 21 in Hilversum, with 12 candidates. It was won by Sheryl Lynn Baas followed by Florencia Mulder (to Miss Europe) and Leoni Lammers.

* MISS NORTHERN IRELAND (Jun.19).- Catherine Milligan, 19, from New-townards, was elected “Miss Northern Ireland 2006” in a lavish ceremony held at the Europa Hotel in Belfast. The finalists were Jenny Curran and Hannah Mathers.

* MISS BURKINA FASO (Jun.24).- Ramata Barry, 18 years old and 1.72 m. in height, surpassed 13 other contenders to be crowned “Miss Burkina Faso 2006” (country known in the past as Upper Volta) in the capital, Ouagadougou. The finalists were Diane Ouedraogo and Alice Gisèle Couldiati.

* MARTINIQUE QUEENS (Jun.24).- It was won by Stéphanie Colosse and the runners-up were Mégane Cindy Martinon (for Miss Earth), Murielle Desgrelle (for Miss International), Sarasvati Lutbert (for Miss Intercontinental), Elodie Charon (for Miss Tourism Queen ) and Desire Katlyne. Susan Carrizo, Miss World Venezuela 2005, was one of the judges.

* MISS SLOVENIA (Jun.25).- It was held at the Portorož Auditorium with 12 candidates. The winner was Iris Mulej, 24, from Podgrad, who had already represented the country at Miss Universe 2002. The finalists were Katarina Jurkovič, 24, from Mavčiče (also Miss ONA and Miss Photogenic) and Vanja Ivanovič, 21, from Vrhnika. Miss NET TV was Tamara Pavlovič, 18, from Cerklje ob Krki and Miss Congeniality, Maja Žižek, 24, from Maribor.

* MISS & MR. MACEDONIA WORLD (Jun.28).- In the competition of 15 girls, held in the parking lot of the hotel-casino “Flamingo” in Gevgelija, the title of Miss Macedonia was won by Marija Vegova, 17 years old, from Gevgelija. The finalists were Ivana Popovska from Kocani, and there was a tie for third place, which was shared by Margareta Zaseva from Stip and Elena Stojceva from Strumica. The competition for the boys was only 8. Mr. Macedonia was 20-year-old Gjorgji Filipov from Radovish. The finalists were Dejan Krstev from Skopje and Lazar Ivanov. The queen of the previous year, Milena Stanivukovic, did not attend because she was supposedly sick, so the new queen was crowned by Vera Mesterovic, the beauty of 1996. The first runner-up sash was given by mistake to the second runner-up and vice versa.

* MISS IRELAND (Jun.30).- Miss Afterdark.ie, Sarah Morrissey, 24, won the title heading to Miss World, while Miss Limerick, Eleanor Fitzgerald, came in 2nd place and Niamh Kiely, Miss Face of Bray, was in 3rd place. The event was held at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin with 22 candidates.

* MISS SINGAPORE WORLD (Jul.1).- Colleen Francisca Pereira, 24 (also Miss Charming, Miss Body Beautiful, Best in Swimsuit and Miss Chic Attitude) won the Miss Singapore World crown at Novotel Clarke Quay, beating 17 other girls. The finalists were Low Xiao Qi and Melissa Cheong.

* MISS GUADELOUPE INTERNATIONAL (Jul.1).- The final was held at the Plantation Grand Café in Capesterre Belle Eau. It was won by Caroline Virgile Bevis and the finalists were Ingrid Bevis and Marie Ange Balon.

* MISS SERBIA & MONTENEGRO (Jul.2).- The event was held at the Sava Center in Belgrade with 33 candidates. The crown went to Vedrana Grbović, Miss Diaspora Australia. Vedrana, 19, was a second-year marketing and advertising student at the University of Perth. The finalists were Miss Vojvodina, Teodora Marčić (to Miss Universe), and Miss Subotica, Ana Mladenović (to Miss Europe). The most charming girl and Face of Austrotherm awards went to Ana Šain, and the most photogenic girl was Sanja Vojnović, who also became the Face of LMX and the Face of Deborah Cosmetics. Maja Perović from Montenegro became the Face of Miramonti Sauro, a hotel in Italy where the girls spent an unforgettable week, while the Face of Guess went to Sandra Damjanac from Belgrade. Weeks before, the Miss Crne Gore (Montenegro) had been held, whose winner also competed in the “Miss Serbia & Montenegro” contest. The winner was Ivana Knezevic and the finalists were Snezana Buskovic and Maja Perovic. Knezevic was sent to Miss World, debuting the country in the pageant after the official separation of Serbia and Montenegro.

Miss Serbia
Miss Montenegro

* MISS WORLD COLOMBIA (Jul.2).- At 17 years of age, the representative of Valle del Cauca, Elizabeth Loaiza Junca, won the crown of Miss World Colombia in Corferias de Bogotá, an event that included the participation of 30 candidates. The viewers, who followed the election and coronation on Channel One, could, from any cell phone, through text messages, vote for their favorite candidates. In addition, she was part of a percentage in the judge’s vote, among whom was Jacqueline Aguilera, Miss World 1995. Zahira Benavides from Cundinamarca was the vice queen and Leidy Bibiana Vargas from Norte de Santander, the first princess. The remaining finalists were the representatives of Nariño (Vanessa Ramírez), Antioquia (Johanna Chalarcá), Sucre (Stephanie Tamara de la Ossa) and Caldas (Yurani Cartagena). The semifinalists were completed by the candidates from Risaralda (Mildred Patiño), Boyacá (Maira Torres), Santander (Erika Fernanda Sánchez), Meta (Millare Sánchez), Caquetá (Diana Carolina Poveda), Vaupés (Raquel Arroyabe), Cesar (Stephanie Otava), and Chocó (Bibian Maritza Saavedra).

* STAR CYPRUS (Jul.6).- It was held in Monte Caputo, Limassol, with 13 participants. The winner (“Star Cyprus 2006”) was Polyvia Achilleos (for Miss Universe), while the title of Miss Cyprus went to Elli Manoli (for Miss World and also Best Smile). Miss Carlsberg was Constantina Christodoulou and Miss Mediterranean, Elena Georgiou. The finalists were Zena Ioannou and Yiota Antoniou.

* MISS WORLD TAHITI (Jul.7).- The first edition of “Miss World Tahiti” was won by Vainui Simon in Papeete. Simon had previously participated in “Miss Tahiti 2005” for Miss France. The chairwoman of the judges was Miss World 2004, Maju Mantilla.

* MISS WORLD HUNGARY (Jul.7).- Renáta Tóth, a 22-year-old student from Budapest, was chosen in a contest held at the House of the Future in Budapest, an event that was attended by the reigning Miss World, Unnur Birna Vilhjálmsdóttir from Iceland and Julia Morley. The finalists were Réka Nagy, 18, from Eger, and Noémi Oláh, 20, from Budapest. 20 candidates participated.

* MISS GUYANA WORLD (Jul.8).- Dessia Braithwaite won the crown at the Le Meridien Pegasus hotel among 8 candidates. The finalists were Kristia Ramlagan (for Miss International), Tenesia Harding (for Miss Tourism Queen), Yulanda Armstrong (for Miss Globe) and Kean Andrews, also Miss Photogenic and Miss Internet (for Miss Intercontinental).

* MISS BAHAMAS WORLD (Jul.8).- Deandrea Conliffe won the pageant held at the Rainforrest Theater in Cable Beach with 11 candidates. The finalists were Kendi Smith and Alexandria Deal (for Miss Tourism Queen International). Rounding out the Top 6 were Sherwaine Ferguson (also Best in Evening Gown, Miss Photogenic and Best Skin), Tia Butler and Shannelle Newton. Miss Friendship was Tricia Hilton.

* MISS WORLD SWEDEN (Jul.10).- It was held at the Café Opera in Stockholm with 17 girls. The winner was Cathrin Skoog from Östersund, while the runners-up were Sandra Thorsell from Gothenburg and Maria Hedmark from Strömstad. Miss World 2005, the Icelandic Unnur Birna, was present at the event.

* MISS WORLD CHILE (Jul.10).- With the slogan “A Chilean for the World”, Ricardo Güiraldes and his team chose Constanza Silva as the Chilean representative to Miss World 2006. The finalists were Marta García-Huidobro Ochiogniero, Teresita Carrasco Cáceres, Constanza Rettig Giglio, María Cecilia Huerta Pagliero, Karinna Zúñiga Valenzuela and Rocío Gutiérrez Vidal.

* MISS DOMINICAN WORLD (Jul.10).- The final of the contest was held in the ‘Salón La Fiesta’ of the Jaragua Hotel, where Paola Torres, 21, was elected as “Miss Dominican World 2006”. Paola was selected from a group of 23 participants. The finalists were Tania Madera, Massiel Sánchez, Ana Carolina Viñas, Jennifer Pérez, Aurys Sánchez and Valerie Chardonners.

* MISS ENGLAND (Jul.14).- Miss Oxford, Eleanor Glynn, 20, from Sandford on Thames, was crowned “Miss England 2006” at the Leicester Athena, an event that had 68 participants. The finalists were Miss Manchester, Zoe Louise Bodnarec and Miss Leicerstershire, Lisa Kettle.

* MISS GEORGIA (Jul.15).- Nino Kalandadze from Tbilisi, won the contest in Batumi (400 km from the capital) on Saturday night, July 15. Second place and Miss Georgia Universe 2007 was Ana Giorgelashvili and in third place was Nino Abashisze (Miss Tourism International). 30 candidates participated.

* MISS LIBERIA (Jul.15).- It was held at the Unity Conference Center in Virginia, near Monrovia, with nine candidates. The winner was Miss Bong County, Patrice Juah, while the runners-up were Miss Lofa County, Bendu Ciapha and Miss Maryland County, Amina Wesley.

* MISS VENEZUELA WORLD (Jul.15).- Federica Guzmán (Miss Miranda 2001) was chosen “Miss Venezuela World 2006” in Estudio One of Venevisión. The event was attended by six candidates, all ex-misses. The other five participants were Pamela Djalil (Miss Sucre 2003), Apmerys León (Miss Zulia 2001), Ana Quintero (Miss Zulia 2002), Tibisay Montilva (Miss Táchira 2002) and Johanna Peñaloza (Miss Vargas 2005). Federica was crowned by Osmel Sousa and Jacqueline Aguilera, Miss World 1995. The brand new Miss World Colombia was also present at the event.

* MISS WORLD CANADA (Jul.16).- Malgosia Majewska, 25, Miss Peel Region, was crowned Miss World Canada at a gala event held at the Diesel Playhouse in downtown Toronto. The finalists were Ashley Bursey, 20, representing Newfoundland and Labrador; Grace Russell, 20, representing Edmonton; Aminata Farmo, 25, Miss Gatineau; and Shannon Bowles, Miss Victoria, also 25. Majewska also won the Totum Fitness Miss Sport award (which automatically gave her a spot in the 15 semifinalists), while Bowles won the Miss Point Zero Ocean Swimwear contest. Daphne Choi, 22, Miss North York, won the “Beauty with a Purpose” award for raising almost $10,000 for Miss World Canada 2006’s official charity, the Rock Solid Foundation. Other “Fast-Tracks” winners included Jenna-Lee Creelman, 23, Miss Brampton (winner of the Canoe.ca People’s Choice Award) and Sasha Abunnadi, 23, Miss Costa British Columbia (Best in Interview). 35 women competed in the pageant.

* MISS PANAMA WORLD (Jul.19).- It took place in the Great Hall of the Hotel Veneto, and the winner was Giselle Bissot, 23 years old (also Best Hair). The election of “Miss Panama World 2006” was held with nine candidates, among whom were some ex-misses. They were Hercilia Rivera, Kelly Mata, Nadia Díaz, Irina Pardo, Lilliane Thompson, Giselle Bissot, Sorangel Matos, Anais Velásquez and Anayda González. The Chica Cover Girl award went to Nadia Díaz.

* BEAUTY OF RUSSIA (Jul.24).- It was held at the October Hall in Moscow with 45 participants. The title went to 19-year-old Alexandra Mazur of Moscow, while the finalists were 18-year-old Natalya Pervova (Perm region) and 22-year-old Irina Vtorushina (Yekaterinburg).

* MISS GUERNSEY (Jul.26).- Held at the Carlton Hotel in St.Martins. The winner was Kira Gavey and the princesses were Vikki Alderson and Melissa Winstanley. Guernsey attempted to return to the Miss World pageant after a 31-year absence.

* MISS TAIWAN WORLD (Jul.28). – Tzu-Hsuan Liu won it, but her directors decided to send her to Miss International for financial reasons. In the same event, Yu-Cheng Chiu was chosen for Miss Earth.

* MISS MALAYSIA WORLD (Jul.28).- Adeline Choo defeated 18 other contestants for the title of Miss Malaysia/World 2006 at the Sime Darby Convention Center in Kuala Lumpur. The finalists were Cassandra Athene Patrick, Stephanie Mak and Sim Van Ren.

* MISS & MR. BARBADOS WORLD (Jul.29).- It was a double stroke of luck for the McDowald family when a brother and sister won the titles of Mr Barbados World and Miss Barbados World 2006 on Saturday, July 29 at The Savannah hotel. Latoya McDowald beat out 6 other beautiful young ladies to clinch this year’s title while her older brother, Fabian McDowald, was crowned the first Mr. Barbados World since 2004. The brothers proved that good looks came from genetics, as they won the titles of Mr. and Miss Photogenic respectively, and Latoya also won Miss Popularity. The finalists were Dannyele Leslia and Kileha Butcher and the Mister finalists were Jamaal Nedd and Richard Weeks.

* MISS BELIZE (Jul.29).- It was held at the Belize City Center with nine contestants. Miss Belize World was Felicita Arzu, 21, and Miss Belize Universe, Maria Jeffery, 24. The finalists were Sharilee Green and Candice Hutchinson.

* MISS BRAZIL WORLD (Jul.30).- The Miss World franchise in Brazil changed hands and a separate contest was held, organized by Henrique Fontes of Global Beauties. Jane de Sousa Borges Oliveira de Goiás was crowned “Miss Brazil World 2006” at the Music Channel Auditorium, in Curitiba, in an event broadcast by the CNT Network. She was crowned by the reigning Miss World, Unnur Birna from Iceland, who went to Brazil as a special guest accompanied by Ms. Maureen Brader from the Miss World Organization. The first runner-up was Miss Cuiabá, Vanessa Regina de Jesus, while Miss Ouro Preto, Tamara Almeida Silva, was the 2nd runner-up. Fourth and fifth place went to the representatives of Guarapari, Mariana Bridi, and Pinhais, Clarissa Caetano. Completing the Top 10 were Daniela Martins (Miss Balneário Camboriú), Ana Paola Apolônio (Miss Astorga), Larissa Reinert Minatto (Miss Joinville), Anelize Garcia (Miss Maringá) and Vivian Noronha Cia (Miss Umuarama). 41 candidates participated.

* MISS WORLD URUGUAY (Jul.31).- Soledad Gagliardo won the title at the Cine Plaza in Montevideo heading to Miss World 2006, among 13 girls. The finalists were Marlene Valeria Politi and María Verónica Saravia. However, for personal reasons, Gagliardo decided not to travel to Miss World. She was replaced by the 1st. runner-up, Marlene Valeria Politi, who was a candidate for Queen of Punta del Este in 2005.

* MISS WORLD CHINA (Aug.2).- Duo Liu won it in Beijing and the finalists were Lan Gu and Ni Zhang.

* MISS KOREA (Aug.3).- Honey Lee, 23, from Seoul, was crowned “Miss Korea 2006” on her way to Miss Universe 2007 at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in Seoul, among 61 candidates. The finalists were Sharon Park (to Miss World 2006), Yoon-seo Jang (to Miss International 2006), Hee-jung Park (to Miss Earth), Yoo-mi Kim, Seong-min Park and Soo-hyun Kim.

* MISS MALAWI (Aug.4).- It took place at the Comesa Hall in Blantyre. It was won by Peth Msiska and the finalists were Tusekile Wilkinson and Elizabeth Chipangula.

* MISS INDONESIA (Ago.5).- The final of “Miss Indonesia 2006” was held in Balai Sarbini, Jakarta with 33 candidates. Miss North Sulawesi, Kristania Virginia Besouw, was chosen to represent the country at Miss World. The finalists were the representatives of Bali, Putu Yunita Oktarini and Jawa Tengah, Josephine Amelia Widagdo. Completing the Top 5 were candidates from Maluku Utara, Berlian Dewirani and Riau, Nia Permatasari Sastradipura.

* MISS THAILAND WORLD (Aug.5).- The coronation of Melisa Mahapol of Bangkok, 23, culminated a four-month search to select the Thai candidate for Miss World 2006. This year, the “Miss Thailand World 2006” was made as a reality TV show broadcast on Channel 3. The finalists were Yada Migelli from Chiang Mai province and Panassarom Kumkij from Nakornsritammarat province. The remaining six finalists were Chanikarn Kedsang, Parichart Visuttipat and Sageena Ganyawatiwong. The Miss Photogenic award went to Amptida Prapapinpong. The two-hour contest, which was held at the BEC-Tero hall in Bangkok, saw the participation of 17 contestants.

* MISS TANZANIA (Ago.5).- It was held at the Diamond Jubilee Hall in Dar es Salaam. The winner was Wema Sepetu and the runners-up were Jokate Mwegelo and Lisa Jensen. Rounding out the Top 5 were Irene Uwoya and Sarah Kangezi.

* MISS KENYA (Aug.5).- It took place at the Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC), where Khadijah Shamillah Kiptoo was the winner heading to Miss World 2006.

* MISS ARUBA (Ago.5).- It was held at the Wyndham Aruba Resort. It was won by Carolina Raven heading to Miss Universe 2007. For Miss International was Zenny Donata, for Miss World Shanandoa Wijshijer and for Miss Intercontinental, Alicia de Bruyn. The 5th place went to Mila Fernandes. 10 girls participated.

* MISS BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS (Aug.6).- The winner was Martha Ramírez and her participation in Miss World in Poland was announced. The finalists were Shirmel Maduro and Sandra Daniels.

* MISS HONG KONG (Ago.12).- The winner of the “Miss Hong Kong 2006” contest was Aimee Chan, 25, while the finalists were Janet Chow and Koni Lui, in the event that took place at the Coliseum of Hong Kong. Janet Chow, the first runner-up, replaced Aimee Chan at Miss World, as Chan was too old to compete in that pageant. Amy Tsang and Suki Tsui Suk Man completed the Top 5. 16 contestants participated.

* SUOMEN NEITO (Ago.13).- Jenniina Tuokko, 17, from Nousiainen, was crowned “Maiden of Finland 2006” at the Kaivohuone in Helsinki among 8 entrants. The princesses were Julita Airaksinen, 21, from Kotka, and Tiia Ekholm, 19, from Espoo. On the other hand, viewers voted for 22-year-old Martina Linna from Rovaniemi.

* ARGENTINA BEAUTY (Aug.14).- María Beatriz Vallejos Schulze, 18, the National Queen of the Corrientes Carnival 2006, was crowned in one of the halls of the luxurious Hilton hotel in Puerto Maderos, federal capital as “Miss World Argentina 2006”, an event that brought together 18 young girls. Soraya Bohl, the queen of Marí Marí, came in second. The remaining finalists were Luisina Alegre Levrino, Rocío Escobar, And rea Carolina García, Pamela Medina, Cintia Mariel Fabrizzi, Natalia Edith Delbon, María Virginia Gallardo, Eliana Noel Fabre, Estefanía Dana Argarate Ruzich and Vanesa Soledad Baudracco.

* MISS POLAND (Aug.19).- It was held in the Congress Hall of the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw with 20 competitors. The winner was Marzena Ciéslik and the finalists were Dorota Gawron, Judyta Mojżesz, Magdalena Burak (also Miss Television and Miss Webmasters) and Dominika Brzeska (also Miss Photogenic). Miss Internet was Magdalena Pałys.

* MISS JAMAICA WORLD (Aug.19).- It was held at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel with 15 participants, Sara Lawrence being the winner. The finalists were Kristelle Harris and Zahra McGraham.

* MISS VIETNAM (Ago.26).- Thuy Mai Phuong was crowned “Miss Vietnam 2006” in a dazzling contest held at the Vinpearl Resort in the tourist city of Nha Trang. The finalists were Anh Luu Bao from Tien Giang Province and Lan Thi Ngoc from Ho Chi Minh City.

* MISS WORLD ROMANIA (Aug.27).- The title of “Miss World Romania 2006” went to Ioana Boitor, 17, from Satu Mare. The finalists were Diana Lucia Tor, 16, from Oradea, and Adrienne Beatrix Andronne, 16, also from Oradea. The national final took place at the Majestic Hotel in Mamaia with 30 participants. The ten semifinalists were Alexandra Elena Iovan (Craiova), Amanda Ilie (Baia Mare), Andreea Pena (Craiova), Corina Puenaru (Constanta), Diana Toba (Craiova), Ionela Maxim (Galati) and Catcoan Monica (Iasi). Miss Maybelline was Corina Puenaru, Miss Phenicia was Amanda Ilie, and Miss Photogenic was Alexandra Elena Iovan.

APPOINTED.-

                Due to the advancement of the Miss World date to September, several countries chose to designate their representatives due to lack of time to hold their national contests:

* CAMBODIA (May 1).- The Saphors Fashion Academy, with Mrs. Saphors Rindle as director, bought the rights to Miss World and appointed Sreymon Sun as the first representative of Cambodia in the history of Miss World.

* PUERTO RICO (May 5).- Thebyam Carrión, first runner-up of the “Miss World of Puerto Rico 2005”, was designated as representative of the Island of Enchantment in Poland. The surprise announcement responded to the date change of the Miss World event.

* GERMANY.- In mid-May, Miss Edita Orascanin, Miss Nordrhein-Westfalen, 17, who was a semifinalist in Miss Germany 2006, was appointed to Miss World. The reasons why neither the titleholder nor her finalists attended the world contest were not given.

* DENMARK (Jun.12).- Sandra Spohr, 19, from Allerød, was named “Miss World Denmark 2006” in a private event held at the Sankt Petri Hotel in Copenhagen.

* SCOTLAND (Jun.19).- Nicola McLean, who had placed third in the Miss Scotland contest in 2004, was chosen in a private casting with 6 candidates, as there was no contest this year.

* AUSTRALIA (Jul.19).- Sabrina Houssami, the first runner-up of “Miss World Australia 2005” was appointed and crowned as “Miss World Australia 2006” in the city of Bankstown.

* PORTUGAL (Jul.23).- Sara Leite was appointed for Miss World, privately, in a hotel in Setúbal.

* SRI LANKA (Jul.30).- Rapthi Raffella Dannielle Kerkoven was appointed Miss Sri Lanka for Miss World 2006 in a casting held at the Hilton Colombo hotel.

* ETHIOPIA (Jul.31).- Amleset Muchie was appointed as representative to Miss World because Miss World Ethiopia did not take place this year.

* CURAÇAO.- In 2006, the company Reinilla Productions Developments (ReProD) obtained the franchises of Miss World, Miss Intercontinental, Top Model of the World and Miss Earth for Curaçao. For Miss World they appointed Fyrena Martha.

* KAZAKHSTAN.- The “Miss Kazakhstan 2006” contest would be held in October 2006, so the 2005 winner, Dina Nuraliyeva, would go to Miss World, who in the end was sent to Miss Universe 2006. Later, the young Sabina Chukayeva, from the Karaganda region, was appointed for Miss World.

* FRANCE.- Miss France 2004, Laetitia Bleger, had initially been appointed to represent France in Miss World 2006, however, the photos that appeared of her in Playboy magazine in May 2005 prevented her from participating and, in addition, the Miss France Organization had suspended her for 6 months. The French committee then appointed the new Miss France 2006, Alexandra Rosenfeld, as the representative for Miss World 2006, but because she had to go to Miss Universe first and then Miss Europe, she was ultimately replaced by her second runner-up, Laura Fasquel.

* LATVIA.- The director, Inta Fogele, decided to choose Miss & Mr Riga 2001, Līga Meinarte and Agris Blaubuks, as the Latvian representatives to Miss and Mr. World 2006 and preferred to leave the winners of Miss and Mr. Latvia 2005 (chosen in January 2006) for the 2007 Miss and Mister World contests.

* US MISS WORLD.- The contest was originally going to take place on July 23 at the Century Plaza in Beverly Hills, California, but was suspended. The directors of the Barbizon agency, which had the Miss World franchise, appointed Brooke Elizabeth Angus, former Miss Vermont USA 2002, as the representative of the United States in Poland in mid-August.

* ZAMBIA.- As the Miss Zambia contest was not held this year, Katanekwa Matundwelo, second princess of Miss Zambia 2005, was appointed as the representative of that country in Poland.

THE GROUP IS REDUCED.-

                At the end of August, several German newspapers and the Polish news agency PAP reported that only 106 candidates would compete for the Miss World crown this year, instead of the scheduled 120 delegates. The reasons given were allegedly that some contestants had submitted their visa application too late and were therefore not allowed to travel to Poland. In the case of Miss BELIZE (Felicita “Leesha” Arzu) her participation was postponed until 2007 due to lack of time to get sponsors. Miss NEW ZEALAND (Nicolette Spencer) who was appointed by the New Zealand director to travel to Poland to Miss World, could not attend because she could not raise the money to pay for her participation. Something similar happened with Miss PARAGUAY (Leryn Dahiana Franco Steneri) and Miss GUERNSEY (Kira Gavey). The other absentees were Miss ALGERIA (Meriem Leitim), Miss AMERICAN VIRGIN ISLANDS (Mystique Burke), Miss ANTIGUA & BARBUDA (Shari Janay McEwan), Miss BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS (Martha Josefina Ramirez), Miss BURKINA FASO (Ramata Barry), Miss CHAD (Aché Myriam Commelin), Miss CONGO (Fatouma Blanda Eboundit), Miss COTE D’ IVOIRE (Alima Diomandé), Miss MALAWI (Peth Msiska) and Miss NIUE (Katrina Folau Brown).

CANDIDATES

REPLACED

DID NOT COMPETE

THE CANDIDATES ARRIVE IN WARSAW.-

                At the end of August, the participants from all over the planet began to get ready to travel to Poland and take part in the 56th edition of Miss World. Miss Chile, Constanza Silva had to travel to London on Friday, August 25 to prepare with her manager Ricardo Güiraldes, who lived in that city. The day of the trip, the girl missed her flight and had to buy another plane ticket to the British capital with money from her mother. The young woman arrived in London and received catwalk and makeup classes, as well as wardrobe tests, but she also had time to get to know and tour the city. “I am fascinated by London. Here not everything has been runway rehearsals, poses and so many details to be prepared for Miss World. I have also given myself the time to tour the city and go shopping”, she commented on her stay in England. For her part, Miss Peru, Silvia Cornejo, said goodbye to her town through a press conference before her trip. The farewell ceremony was held at the headquarters of the Polish Embassy in Lima, in the presence of Ambassador Przemyslaw Marzec, and other officials of that diplomatic legation. The arrival of the participants in the Polish capital was scheduled for Friday, September 1st, so the girls from the American continent traveled on Thursday, August 31, with many suitcases and dreams of winning the coveted blue crown. However, Miss Peru’s trip was delayed and she left Lima on the night of Saturday, September 2.

               Nearly 100 beautiful young women arrived in Warsaw that Friday to begin preparations for Miss World 2006. Sunlight drove away the rain clouds to provide a glorious backdrop for the contestants’ arrival at the city’s Okacie Airport. Media from around the world and Miss World fans flocked to the arrivals hall as flight after flight brought contestants from all over the world for the start of the four-week show that would take place on Polish soil. What to pack is always a consideration when traveling. But when one is going to spend a month in a foreign country with a schedule of events, galas and TV specials, this dilemma multiplies to colossal proportions. For many contestants, the solution was simple: bring more luggage, with an average of five bags. “I tried to keep my luggage to a minimum, but it was impossible to choose,” said Catherine Milligan, Miss Northern Ireland. “I only brought three bags, which is pretty good I think!” Miss Australia, Sabrina Houssami, was one of the first to arrive after a journey of more than 20 hours. “It was a long flight, but now that I’m here it seems very exciting”, she said. “It’s good to meet the other contestants and hear about our plans. We have a fantastic month ahead of us.” Miss El Salvador, Miss Lebanon and Miss Thailand arrived that same morning at the Okęcie airport. The arrival times of the Miss World participants were covered with much mystery. “It’s for security reasons,” said Agnieszka Krakós of the Polish Tourist Organization, which deals with the promotion of Miss World. “I can only say that there will definitely be bigger groups coming from London and Frankfurt.” The girls stayed at the Marriot Courtyard hotel, which was only 60 meters from the airport, so the misses walked there with their luggage. The Venezuelan Federica Guzmán, as was customary in the misses of that country, arrived very prepared with six suitcases, including three gowns by designer Gianni Straccia.

                Enthusiasm levels increased as more candidates arrived. Miss Philippines Anna Maris Igpit couldn’t contain her excitement, commenting, “I’ve been waiting for this for months, I’m so excited.” Miss Guatemala, Jackelinne Piccinini, was very happy to arrive after a 16 hour flight and was determined to have the time of her life in the next month. Miss El Salvador, Tatiana Romero, agreed: “After traveling for more than two days, I hope to make many new friends and learn about the Polish people and their rich history.” Miss Finland, Jenniina Tuokko, already felt at home in Poland with similar weather to where she left from that morning: “It’s just a short flight and it seems like everything is happening now. I’m so excited to be here.” Miss Venezuela, Federica Guzmán, agreed: “I don’t want to miss this for anything in the world. This is going to be the most exciting moment of my life. I can’t wait.” That day, the contestants spent time getting to know each other and catching up on their schedule of activities for the month.

                Polish authorities hoped the event would help boost the country’s tourist image abroad. A total of 30 million zlotys ($9.68 million) was to be spent on preparations for the final, but the profits from the contest were expected to be much higher. TVP, the Polish TV station that was awarded the right to broadcast the final live, would be among the main beneficiaries, with its advertising revenue alone expected to reach 15 million zlotys ($4.84 million). The audience would vote via the calling system or short message service and telecom operators were expected to get some 32 million zlotys ($10.32 million). Meanwhile, hoteliers, restaurateurs and public transport operators also expected to earn an additional 44 million zlotys ($14.19 million), the Polish Market Economy Institute estimated. A peculiarity was the fact that certain brochures were sent to the hotels where the Miss World participants were planned to stay. Feminist brochures in English had been attached to advertising brochures in restaurants in Warsaw. These pamphlets criticized the image of the beauty queen and the treatment of women as objects. They also discussed the relationship between the beauty ideal and anorexia. The flyer encouraged contestants to show solidarity with other women and recommended a dumpling shop where they could easily gain weight to a “more realistic size” by the end of the contest…

FIRST ACTIVITIES.-

                The first activity of the contest was held that same Friday at 5:30 in the afternoon. A group of contestants along with Julia Morley and Tadeusz Deszkiewicz (Warsaw Promotions Director) went to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and commemorated the anniversary of the start of World War II on September 1st, 1939. The Miss World Organization selected one contestant from each of six geographic regions to represent all contestants: Asia Pacific was represented by Sabrina Houssami, Miss Australia and Melisa Mahapol, Miss Thailand. Northern Europe was represented by Sandra Spohr, Miss Denmark. Southern Europe by Renata Toth, Miss Hungary. The Americas by Giselle Bissot, Miss Panama, Africa by Wema Sepetu, Miss Tanzania and the Caribbean by Thebyam Carrión, Miss Puerto Rico. The contestants laid flowers on the grave and posed for photographs in what was the first official event of the Miss World 2006 pageant.

                It was clear from their expressions that the girls had been deeply moved by the solemn atmosphere and recognized the hope that the memory represented for future generations. Miss Puerto Rico commented, “This place represents a lesson from the past for current and future generations. How this country has emerged from so much hardship gives me so much hope that we can achieve anything in life.” Miss Hungary, whose mother is Polish, was deeply moved: “It is important that we remember this terrible event, as a big family.” For Miss Panama, the memorial with the soldiers and the sea of flowers was overwhelming, while Miss Denmark was amazed to hear that the memorial was the only thing left of the building that once stood there. Miss Australia said she felt “honored that Poland has taken us to heart and trusted us to share in an event as important as this one.” Miss Tanzania also felt very privileged to be there that day. She thanked the people of Poland for making them part of such an important day in their history. She commented: “Although many years have passed, it is good to see that Poland still commemorates its past. I was very touched by the monument and the flowers.” Miss Thailand agreed: “The monument is a fitting reminder for future generations. It is inspiring to hear the stories of brave Poles. This was a deeply moving experience for me.”

                On Saturday, September 2, the girls went to the city on buses, around 8:30 in the morning. At 9:00 they were in the Historic Center of Warsaw, where they took a four-hour tour, and they took advantage of recording images that would be broadcast during the final on September 30. Passers-by spontaneously applauded and stopped the girls for photos and autographs as the group walked through the cobblestone streets of the Old Town. The girls posed in front of the Palace, gathered for photos next to the mermaid statue in the old town square and laughed with a barrel organ and a company of clowns. “I really like architecture, so I find all of this really interesting,” said Miss USA, Brooke Elizabeth Angus. “The fact that this city was destroyed during World War II and then rebuilt to such high standards is just amazing. I love being here in Warsaw.” Those sentiments were echoed by Miss Chile, Constanza Silva, who added, “I can’t believe the reaction we’re getting from everyone, especially the kids. I’ve signed so many autographs that my hand is so tired I can’t eat my ice cream!” . After touring the reconstructed Old Town, the contestants enjoyed an hour of relaxation and culture by a lake in Lazienki Park. This green oasis, in the center of Warsaw, is home to the Chopin Monument, a national landmark for Poland’s greatest composer. The girls strolled through the park before sitting down to listen to a special lunchtime concert of some of Chopin’s most beloved works. That was the perfect ending to a great morning in Warsaw, and afterwards, the contestants enjoyed a buffet lunch at their hotel. In the afternoon, all the Misses went to the Warsaw Technical College to rehearse for the two-hour televised welcome gala, which was scheduled for Sunday night. At 7:30 p.m., the girls, together with the residents of Warsaw, watched the illumination of the crown at the Palace of Culture and Science and witnessed a great fireworks display and light show at the Palace of Congress.

                The Warsaw night sky was lit up with bursts of fireworks as Miss World pressed the button to start a magnificent show that night. Julia Morley and the Mayor of Warsaw, Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, stood alongside Unnur Birna at the official opening ceremony of Miss World 2006. The contestants brought their own sparkle to the proceedings as they arrived at the city’s Congress Palace to witness the spectacle. With a countdown, Unnur Birna lit the fireworks and a unique crown of light that enveloped the roof of the Palacio de Congresos. As the sky erupted in a blanket of color and explosive sounds, the Miss World 2006 contestants cheered and clapped from the steps of the building. In front of a live television audience and, for the first time on the internet, as well as addressing the thousands of supporters gathered in the Congress Hall to commemorate the moment, Unnur Birna said that she had enjoyed her reign as Miss World 2005. “Of course I’m a little sad, but I’ve had a wonderful year doing a great job. Now it’s time to hand over the crown to another girl and I’m happy about that. But you know what they say: once Miss World, always Miss World”. Miss Netherlands, Sheryl Lynn Baas, said: “This was the perfect way to kick off Miss World 2006. Warsaw is showing that we are welcome and that makes us feel relaxed here. Miss Liberia, Patrice Juah, who had only been in town a few hours, added: “I just got here and now we have a big fireworks display. It makes me look forward to a wonderful month in Poland.”

BIRTHDAY OF MISS BELARUS.-

                Miss Belarus, ‘Katsia’ Litvinova, found out what it meant to be part of the Miss World family when nearly 100 contestants sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to her in English, Spanish and Polish on Saturday, September 2. In a speech to highlight that 23-year-old Katsia and her fellow contestants were now part of the Miss World family, organizers told her that getting together to celebrate birthdays was an important tradition as the girls gathered to sing Happy Birthday in multiple languages, always including that of the host nation. Just as she was about to retire to her room after dinner, the other Miss World contestants gathered around her table to make sure this was a day Miss Belarus would never forget. They gave her a birthday cake worthy of a Miss World contestant. Miss Belarus said: “I was very focused on my rehearsals today so I didn’t realize until tonight that it was my birthday. It’s overwhelming that so many people sing happy birthday to you. Everyone has been so nice to me and I’m making a lot of new friends here. I will never forget my birthday.”

MISS WORLD OPENING CEREMONY IN WARSAW.-

                On Sunday, September 3, the Miss World contestants were the guests of honor at the Miss World Opening Ceremony which was televised, and was attended by Polish personalities and dignitaries, including the President of Warsaw, famous Polish actors and performers, and Julia Morley, president of the Miss World Organization. The excitement had been building throughout the day as the girls rehearsed for six hours on stage with their continental groups. A great uproar took over the dressing rooms, as more than a hundred girls got their hair and makeup done for the big event. The television special was broadcast live on Polish National Television (TVP) and, for two hours, the culture and beauty of 101 young ladies from around the world were celebrated (Miss Peru, Miss Ethiopia and Miss Vietnam had not arrived) and included some of the best musical acts Poland had to offer. The gala was a first sample of the great list of events in which the girls would participate during the following four weeks. The Warsaw Technical College formed the perfect backdrop for the girls to shine in all the glamor of their multi-colored evening dresses. The gala was hosted by Aneta Kręglicka and Piotr Adamczyk, and the contestants appeared on stage, in groups, elegantly dressed in glamorous gowns, according to their respective continental areas. Contestants from each of the six continental groups descended the steps to the proscenium, starting with the girls from Africa, then those from the Americas, the Caribbean, Asia Pacific, Southern Europe, and closing with the girls from Northern Europe. Each contestant was individually introduced in Polish alphabetical order and escorted down the catwalk by an elegant gentleman. After their parade, each candidate came down from the stage and sat at their corresponding table. The event was attended by several Polish singers, including Michał Urbaniak, Edyta Górniak, Urszula Dudziak, Anna Maria Jopek, Justyna Steczkowska and Piotr Rubik. The program also featured the presentation of folk groups from each of the girls’ continental areas. At the end, the children from Joszko Brody’s group ran to the surprised participants and handed them their stuffed animals, officially welcoming them to Poland.

                The musical interludes were especially eye-catching for Miss Sri Lanka, Dannielle Kerkoven: “The music was really wonderful. Since the acts were Polish, they were all new to me, but I love discovering new music. This has been a fantastic night to remember.” Miss Norway, Tonje Elise Skjaervik, said: “Everyone wore wonderful dresses, which made the night very special. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the tour and more of these events. It was great, I still feel very excited”. Although for some girls this was practically their first time walking down a runway, no one would have ever known it. Each one commanded the red carpet with grace and elegance, showing off their most beautiful gowns, specially selected for this glamorous occasion. After the television program ended, the contestants had the opportunity to experience the famous Polish hospitality and taste a good meal. “I felt very glamorous when I went downstairs, knowing that millions of Poles were watching me on TV,” said Tatiana Romero from El Salvador. “This was a great opportunity to get a feel for the final and the other events.” Miss Lebanon, Annabella Hilal, added: “Being at the opening gala felt like magic with all the colorful glitter in the room. This was a great start to the Miss World celebrations and it has been a wonderful night for me. I hope I could made my country proud on stage”. Miss Aruba, Shanandoa Wijshijer, echoed her sentiments. “Going down the steps as the first group meant I was able to enjoy the spectacle of the audience for most of the night. It seemed magical, seeing all the girls on stage. Miss World has really started.” Miss Portugal, Sara Leite said: “It’s great to be able to represent my country in front of such a big audience. I’m looking forward to the rest of the tour, especially the final.” Late that same night, Peruvian Silvia Cornejo, participant number 102, arrived in Warsaw.

WELCOME CEREMONY