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Miss World

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Miss World
Miss World logo.svg
Formation29 July 1951; 70 years ago (1951-07-29)
TypeBeauty pageant
  • United Kingdom
Official language
Julia Morley
Key people
Eric Morley

Miss World is the oldest-running international beauty pageant. It was created in the United Kingdom by Eric Morley in 1951.[1][2] Since his death in 2000, Morley's widow, Julia Morley, has co-chaired the pageant.[3][4] Along with Miss Universe, Miss International, and Miss Earth, this pageant is one of the Big Four international beauty pageants.[5]

The current Miss World is Toni-Ann Singh of Jamaica who was crowned by Vanessa Ponce of Mexico on 14 December 2019 in London, England.[6] She is the fourth Jamaican to win Miss World.[7]

Miss World 2021 will be the 70th anniversary of the pageant. It is scheduled to be held on December 16, 2021 at the Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


20th century

In 1951, Eric Morley organised a bikini contest as part of the Festival of Britain celebrations that he called the Festival Bikini Contest.[8] The event was popular with the press, and was dubbed "Miss World" by the media. The swimsuit competition was intended as a promotion for the bikini[9] which had only recently been introduced onto the market, and which was still widely regarded as immodest. When the 1951 Miss World pageant winner, Kerstin "Kiki" Hakansson from Sweden, was crowned in a bikini, it added to the controversy.

The pageant was originally planned as a Pageant for the Festival of Britain, but Eric Morley decided to make the Miss World pageant an annual event.[10][11] Morley registered the "Miss World" name as a trademark,[12] and all future pageants were held under that name. However, because of the controversy arising from Håkansson's crowning in a bikini, countries with religious traditions threatened not to send delegates to future events, and the bikini was condemned by the Pope.[13] Objection to the bikini led to its replacement in all future pageants[14][15] with what was accepted as more modest swimwear, and from 1976 swimsuits were replaced by evening gowns for the crowning.[16] Håkansson remains the only Miss World crowned in a bikini.[12] In Miss World 2013 all participants wore a one-piece swimsuit plus a traditional sarong below the waist as a compromise with local culture.[17]

Morley announced the Miss World winners in the order No. 3, No. 2 and No. 1. This was intended to keep the tension up, and avoid the anti-climax if Nos. 2 and 3 are announced after the winner.[18]

In 1959, the BBC started broadcasting the pageant. The pageant's popularity grew with the advent of television. During the 1960s and 1970s, Miss World would be among the most watched programs of the year on British television.[19] However, in 1970, the Miss World contest in London was disrupted by women's liberation protesters armed with flour bombs, stink bombs, and water pistols loaded with ink.[20] The 1970 contest was also controversial when South Africa sent two contestants (one black and one white). Henceforth, South Africa was banned from the contest until apartheid was abolished. More than 18 million people watched the pageant at its peak during the late 1970s and early 1980s.[21]

In the 1980s, the pageant repositioned itself with the slogan "Beauty With a Purpose", with added tests of intelligence and personality.[22] In 1984, BBC1 controller Michael Grade announced that the corporation would cease to broadcast beauty pageants from the following January, after they had shown Miss Great Britain, commenting "I believe these contests no longer merit national air time." Grade added, "They are an anachronism in this day and age of equality and verging on the offensive.''[23] Thames Television broadcast Miss World between 1980 and 1988, when ITV dropped it.[24][25]

During the early 1990s, there was a decline in the popularity of mainstream television broadcasts of the event, after it became "increasingly unfashionable" in the late 1980s. The pageant returned on satellite channel Sky One in 1997,[26] before moving to Channel 5 for three years (1998–2000).[21][27]

21st century

Eric Morley died in 2000, and his wife, Julia, succeeded as chairwoman of the Miss World organisation.[28]

The first black African Miss World winner, Agbani Darego of Nigeria, was crowned in 2001. As part of its marketing strategy, Miss World came up with a "Vote For Me" television special during that edition, featuring the delegates behind the scenes and on the beach, and allowing viewers to either phone in or vote online for their favourites. It also sells its Talent, Beach Beauty and Sports events as television specials to broadcasters.[29] ITV broadcast the 2001 pageant from South Africa on digital channel ITV2, with the special airing a week earlier on the main ITV channel.[30]

In 2002 the pageant was slated for Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria to host its final. This choice was controversial, as a northern Nigerian woman, Amina Lawal, was awaiting death by stoning for adultery under Sharia law there, but Miss World chose to use the publicity surrounding its presence to bring greater global awareness and action to Lawal's plight.[31][32] No British channel agreed to broadcast the event,[33] and there were objections to the contest.[34][35]

In the Miss World 2014 ceremony, Aishwarya Rai the most successful crowned Miss World by the Miss World Organization attended the celebration with her husband Abhishek Bachchan, daughter Aaradhya and mother Brinda Rai.[36] It has been broadcast on local TV channel London Live since 2014.

Miss World Organization

Ivian Sarcos, Miss World 2011 at a school in Mumbai, India

The Miss World Organization owns and manages the annual Miss World Finals, a competition that has grown into one of the world's biggest.[37] Since its launch in 1951, the Miss World organisation has raised more than £250 million for children's charities[38] that help disabled and underprivileged children.[39] Miss World is franchised in more than 100 countries.[40][41] Miss World, Limited is a privately held firm, and thus figures for its earnings, expenses and charitable contributions are not publicly available.


The Miss World pageant has been the target of many controversies since its inception.

  • In 1970, feminist protesters threw flour bombs during the live event at London's Royal Albert Hall, momentarily alarming the host, Bob Hope.[42][43]
  • The 1973 winner, Marjorie Wallace, was stripped of her title on 8 March 1974, because she had failed to fulfill the basic requirements of the job. The Miss World organizers did not elect someone to serve in her place.[44]
  • In 1976, several countries went on a boycott, because the pageant included both a Caucasian and African representative for South Africa.[45] South Africa competed for the last time in 1977, before returning in 1991 as Apartheid disintegrated.[46]
  • The 1980 winner Gabriella Brum of Germany resigned one day after winning, initially claiming her boyfriend disapproved. A few days later it emerged that she had been forced to resign after it was discovered that she posed naked for a magazine.[47]

Nigeria 2002

In the year leading up the finals in Nigeria, several European title holders lobbied their governments and the EU parliament to support Amina Lawal's cause.[48] A number of contestants followed the lead of Kathrine Sørland of Norway in boycotting the contest (despite the controversy Sørland would go on to become a semi-finalist in both the Miss World and Miss Universe contest), while others such as Costa Rica were instructed by their national governments and parliaments not to attend the contest. Among the other boycotting nations were Denmark, Spain, Switzerland, Panama, Belgium and Kenya. There was further controversy over the possibly suspended participation of France and South Africa, which might or might not have been due to the boycott.[49] For her part, Lawal asked that contestants not suspend their participation in the contest, saying that it was for the good of her country and that they could, as the representative of Sweden had earlier remarked, make a much stronger case for her on the ground in Nigeria.[50]

Despite the increasing international profile the boycott was garnering in the world press, the contest went ahead in Nigeria after being rescheduled to avoid taking place during Ramadan, with many prominent nations sending delegates. Osmel Sousa of Venezuela, one of the world's most influential national directors, famously said "there is no question about it (the participation of Miss Venezuela in the contest)." The trouble did not end there, however. A ThisDay (Lagos, Nigeria) newspaper editorial suggesting that Muhammad would probably have chosen one of his wives from among the contestants had he been alive to see it, resulted in inter-religious riots that started on 22 November in which over 200 people were killed in the city of Kaduna, along with many houses of worship being burned by religious zealots.[51] Because of these riots, the 2002 pageant was moved to London, following widely circulated reports that the representatives of Canada and Korea had withdrawn from the contest and returned to their respective countries out of safety concerns. A fatwa urging the beheading of the woman who wrote the offending words, Isioma Daniel, was issued in Nigeria, but was declared null and void by the relevant Saudi Arabian authorities.[52][53][54][55] Upon the pageant's return to Britain, many of the boycotting contestants chose to attend, including Miss Norway, Kathrine Sørland, who was ironically tipped in the last few days as the number one favourite for the crown she had previously boycotted.[56][57][58][59][60]

The eventual winner of the pageant was Azra Akın of Turkey, the first predominantly Muslim country to hold the title since Egypt in 1954.[61]

Indonesia 2013

In Miss World 2013, protests by Islamic groups began a few weeks before the contest began, resulting in the pageant's finale and all pre-pageant activities being isolated to Hindu-majority Bali.[62]

China 2015

Anastasia Lin, Miss World Canada, was not given a visa to travel in China and hence missed the official deadline of 20 November 2015 for entry to the Miss World 2015 pageant, and was declared persona non grata by the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa since she openly criticized China's human rights violations. She was later allowed by the Miss World Organization to compete at Miss World 2016.[63][64]

Recent titleholders

Edition Country Name National Title Location Number of Entrants
2021 TBA TBA TBA San Juan, Puerto Rico 97
2020 No pageant held due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2019  Jamaica Toni-Ann Singh Miss Jamaica World London, England 111
2018  Mexico Vanessa Ponce Miss Mexico Sanya, China 118
2017  India Manushi Chhillar Femina Miss India Sanya, China 118
2016  Puerto Rico Stephanie Del Valle Miss World Puerto Rico Maryland, United States 117

Winners gallery

Fast track events

The winner of these events, called "fast track" competitions, automatically make it into the quarter or semifinals of Miss World.[65] The fast track categories are Miss World Beach Beauty, Beauty With a Purpose, Sports Challenge, Talent and Top Model. Miss World Beach Beauty, replacing Miss World Best in Swimsuit, and Miss World Sports were added in 2003. Miss World Top Model was added in 2004. Miss World Multimedia was added in 2012.

Miss World Beach Beauty

Miss World Beach Beauty was a swimsuit or fast track competition in the Miss World pageant.[66] The Beach Beauty event first started in 2003, when the Miss World Organization decided to have preliminary or fast track events to automatically give a semifinal spot to some of the delegates. This event allowed the Miss World delegates (over 100) to have a chance of being in the semifinals. The winner goes on to make the semifinals automatically. The Beach Beauty event showcased different swimsuits designed by Miss World 1975, Wilnelia Merced. From 2015, the organisation officially eliminated the swimsuit competition from the pageant.[67]

Year Winner Represented Placement at Miss World
2003 Rosanna Davison[68]  Ireland[68] Miss World 2003[69]
2004 Nancy Randall[70]  United States 2nd Runner-up
2005 Yulia Ivanova[71]  Russia[71] Top 15
2006 Federica Guzmán[72]  Venezuela[72] Top 17
2007 Ada De La Cruz[73]  Dominican Republic[73] Top 16
2008 Anagabriela Espinoza[66]  Mexico Top 15
2009 Kaiane Aldorino[74]  Gibraltar[74] Miss World 2009[75]
2010[76] Yara Lasanta  Puerto Rico[77] Top 25
2011 Alize Lily Mounter[78]  England Top 7
2012 Sophie Moulds[79]  Wales 1st Runner-up
2013 Sancler Frantz[80][81]  Brazil[80][81] Top 6
2014[82] Olivia Asplund[83]  Sweden Top 25

Miss World Beauty With a Purpose

The Beauty with a Purpose is an event established in 1972 that is celebrated during the activities prior to the Miss World pageant.[1] It awards the contestant with the most relevant and important charity project in her nation. Since 2005 the winner automatically makes the quarter finals. Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar from India is the first and only Beauty With a Purpose recipient to eventually win the Miss World crown.

Year Winner Country Placement at Miss World
2001 Piarella Peralta  Costa Rica
2002 Nozipho Shabangu  Swaziland
2003 Denisa Kola  Albania
2004 Tonoya Anne Toyloy  Jamaica
2005 Oh Eun-young  Korea Top 6
2006 Lamisi Mbillah  Ghana Top 17
2007 Valeska Saab  Ecuador Top 16
Kayi Cheung  Hong Kong Top 16
2008 Gabrielle Walcott  Trinidad and Tobago 2nd Runner-up
2009 Pooja Chopra  India Top 16
2010[76] Natasha Metto  Kenya Top 25
2011 Astrid Yunadi  Indonesia Top 15
Stephanie Karikari  Ghana
2012 Vanya Mishra  India Top 7
2013 Ishani Shrestha    Nepal Top 10
2014[82] Julia Gama  Brazil Top 11
Rafieya Husain  Guyana Top 11
Koyal Rana  India Top 11
Idah Nguma  Kenya Top 11
Maria Rahajeng  Indonesia Top 25
2015 Maria Harfanti  Indonesia 2nd Runner-up
2016 Natasha Mannuela Halim  Indonesia 2nd Runner-up
2017 Manushi Chhillar  India Miss World 2017
Achintya Holte Nilsen  Indonesia Top 10
Laura Lehmann  Philippines Top 40
Adè van Heerden  South Africa Top 10
Đỗ Mỹ Linh  Vietnam Top 40
2018[84] Shrinkhala Khatiwada    Nepal Top 12
2019 Anushka Shrestha    Nepal Top 12
2021 Rehema Muthamia  England TBA
Sharon Obara  Kenya TBA
Tracy Perez  Philippines TBA
Shudufhadzo Musida  South Africa TBA
Shree Saini  United States TBA

Miss World Talent

Miss World Talent is a talent or fast track competition in the Miss World pageant, in which a number of contestants show their abilities in singing, dancing, poetry, etc.[85] Introduced in Miss World 1978, the winner of the event automatically makes it into the semifinals starting 2003. The award returned at Miss World 2001.

Year Winner Represented Placement at Miss World
Talent Competition
1978 Louvette Monzon Hammond  Philippines Unplaced
1994 Fazira Wan Chek  Malaysia Unplaced
Miss World Talent
2001 Stephanie Chase  Barbados Unplaced
2002 Rebekah Revels  United States Top 10
2003 Irina Onashvili[68]  Georgia[68] Top 20
2004 Shermain Jeremy[86]  Antigua and Barbuda[86] Top 15
2005 Kmisha Counts[87]  US Virgin Islands[87] Top 15
2006 Catherine Jean Milligan[88]  Northern Ireland[88] Top 17
2007 Irene Dwomoh[89]  Ghana[89] Top 15
2008 Natalie Griffith[90]  Barbados Top 15
2009 Lena Ma[91]  Canada[91] 4th Runner-up
Mariatu Kargbo  Sierra Leone[91] Top 16
2010 Emma Britt Waldron[92]  Ireland[77] 3rd Runner-up
2011 Gabriela Pulgar[93]  Chile [a][93] Top 20
2012 Yu Wenxia[95][96]  China[95][96] Miss World 2012[97]
2013 Vania Larissa[98]  Indonesia[98] Top 10
2014 Dewi Liana Seriestha[99][100]  Malaysia[100] Top 25
2015 Lisa Punch[101][102][103]  Guyana[101][103] Top 11
2016 Bayartsetseg Altangerel  Mongolia Top 11
2017 Michela Galea  Malta Top 40
2018 Kanako Date  Japan Top 30
2019 Toni-Ann Singh  Jamaica Miss World 2019
2021 Burte-Ujin Anu  Mongolia TBA

Miss World Top Model

The Miss World Top Model is a modeling fast track competition at the Miss World Pageant.[104] The competition was first held in 2004, but not in 2005–2006. It has been held since 2007; the winner of the competition automatically qualifies for the semifinals.

Year Winner Represented Placement at Miss World
2004 Yessica Ramírez  Mexico Top 15
2007 Zhang Zilin  China Miss World 2007
2008[66] Ksenia Sukhinova  Russia Miss World 2008[66]
2009 Perla Beltrán  Mexico 1st Runner-up
2010[76] Mariann Birkedal  Norway Top 7
2011 Zhanna Zhumaliyeva  Kazakhstan Top 15
2012 Atong Demach  South Sudan Top 7
2013 Megan Young[105]  Philippines Miss World 2013
2014[82] Isidora Borovčanin  Bosnia and Herzegovina Unplaced
2015[106] Mireia Lalaguna  Spain Miss World 2015
2016 Jing Kong  China Top 11
2017 Ugochi Ihezue  Nigeria Top 15
2018 Maëva Coucke  France Top 12
2019 Nyekachi Douglas  Nigeria Top 5
2021 Olivia Yacé  Cote d'Ivoire TBA

Miss World Sports Challenge

Miss World Sports or Sportswoman is a title and award given to the winner of a sports event at Miss World. It is a fast track or preliminary event, giving the winner automatic entry into the semifinals. So far there are 5 Miss World Sports winners starting at 2003. In 2005, there was no Miss Sports winner because it wasn't held as an individual fast track event, but rather a continental team competition. Starting in 2006, the individual competition was back again.

Year Winner Represented Placement at Miss World\
2003 Nazanin Afshin-Jam  Canada 1st Runner Up
2004 Amy Guy  Wales Top 15
2005 Asia-Pacific Asia Team Challenge
2006 Malgosia Majewska  Canada Top 17
2007 Abigail "Abby" McCarry  United States Top 15
2008 Alexandra Ívarsdóttir[66]+  Iceland[66]+ Top 15
2009 Erusa Sasaki  Japan Top 16
2010[76]+ Lori Moore[107]+  Northern Ireland[77]+ Top 25
2011 Marianly Tejeda  Dominican Republic Unplaced
2012 Sanna Jinnedal  Sweden Top 30
2013 Jacqueline Steenbeek[108]+  Netherlands[108]+ Top 20
2014[82]+ Krista Haapalainen[83]+  Finland[83]+ Top 25
2015 Steffi Van Wyk[109][110]+  Namibia[109][110]+ Unplaced
2016 Natalia Short  Cook Islands Top 20
2017 Aletxa Mueses  Dominican Republic Top 40
2018 Marisa Butler  United States Top 30
2019 Rikkiya Brathwaite  British Virgin Islands Top 40
2021 Karolina Vidales  Mexico TBA

Miss World hosts and artists

The following is a list Miss World hosts and invited artists through the years.

Year Hosts Artists
1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958 Eric Morley
1959 Bob Hope
1960 Bob Hope Herald Trumpeters of the Royal Artillery[111]
1961 Michael Aspel Bob Hope[112]
1962, 1963, 1964 Michael Aspel
1965 David Jacobs, Michael Aspel Ronnie Carroll, Lionel Blair[113]
1966 Peter West, Michael Aspel The Three Monarchs, Mark Wynter[114]
1967 Simon Dee, Michael Aspel Malcolm Roberts, Los Zafiros[115]
1968 Michael Aspel, commentary by Keith Fordyce Gene Pitney[116]
1969 Michael Aspel, Pete Murray Frank Ifield, The Roy Budd Trio, Lionel Blair[117]
1970 Bob Hope,[118][119] Michael Aspel, Keith Fordyce Lionel Blair
1971, 1972, 1973, 1974 Michael Aspel and David Vine
1975 David Vine and Ray Moore
1976 Sacha Distel, Patrick Lichfield, and Ray Moore
1977 Andy Williams, and Ray Moore
1978 Sacha Distel and Paul Burnett
1979 Sacha Distel, Esther Rantzen, Germaine Greer and Ray Moore
1980 Peter Marshall, Judith Chalmers and Anthony Newley Anthony Newley and The Dougie Squires Dancers
1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985 Peter Marshall and Judith Chalmers
1981 – Julio Iglesias and The Dougie Squires Dancers
1982 – The Three Degrees
1983 – Leo Sayer and The Ken Warwick Dancers
1984 – The Drifters and The Ken Warwick Dancers
1985 – Jack Jones and The Ken Warwick Dancers
1986 Peter Marshall and Mary Stävin Five Star and The Ken Warwick Dancers
1987 Peter Marshall and Alexandra Bastedo Rick Astley and The Ken Warwick Dancers
1988 Peter Marshall and Alexandra Bastedo Koreana and Donny Osmond
1989 Peter Marshall, Alexandra Bastedo and John Davidson Aswad
1990 Peter Marshall and Michelle Rocca Jason Donovan and Richard Clayderman
1991 Peter Marshall and Gina Tolleson Indecent Obsession
1992 Billy Dee Williams, Jerry Hall, Deborah Shelton, Doreen Morris and Suanne Braun Abigail Kubheka, Sophia Foster, MarcAlex, Mara Louw, Paul Buckby, Malie Kelly, Leslie Klein-Smith and Soweto String Quartet
1993 Pierce Brosnan,[120] Doreen Morris, Kim Alexis and Gina Tolleson George Benson, Crissy Caine, Jon Cecil, Sam Marais, PJ Powers and Vicky Sampson
1994 Richard Steinmetz, Suanne Braun and Bronson Pinchot David Abbate, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Johnny Clegg, Free Flight Dance Company and Ladysmith Black Mambazo
1995 Richard Steinmetz, Jeff Trachta and Bobbie Eakes Caught in the Act
1996 Richard Steinmetz and Ruby Bhatia Alisha Chinnai
1997 Richard Steinmetz and Khanyi Dhlomo Mkhize Ricky Martin
1998 Eden Harel and Ronan Keating Boyzone and Errol Brown
1999 Ulrika Jonsson and Melanie Sykes Robert Palmer, Westlife and Enrique Iglesias
2000 Jerry Springer and Rebecca de Alba Bryan Ferry, bond, Leonard Cohen and S Club 7
2001 Jerry Springer and Claire Elizabeth Smith Umoja
2002 Sean Kanan and Claire Elizabeth Smith Chayanne and BBMak
2003 Phil Keoghan, Amanda Byram[121] and Angela Chow Luis Fonsi, Bryan Ferry, Morrissey and Wuhan Acrobatic Troupe
2004 Troy McClain, Angela Chow and Lisa Snowdon Lionel Richie and Il Divo
2005 Tim Vincent and Angela Chow Alexander O’Neal and Beijing Singing & Dancing Theatre
2006 Tim Vincent, Angela Chow and Grazyna Torbicka Westlife, Robin Gibb and Amici
2007 Fernando Allende and Angela Chow Duncan James, Haikou Artistic Group, The South African Mvezo Choir and No. 9 Primary School of Sanya
2008 Tumisho Masha and Angela Chow McFly, Alesha Dixon, Jeanette Winterson
2009 Angela Chow, Michelle McLean[122][123] Umoja, Gang of Instrumentals
2010 Angela Chow,[124] Steve Douglas Shayne Ward,[125] Dave Koz, Carlos Aponte[126]
2011 Angela Chow,[127] Jason Cook, Steve Douglas Diversity,[128] Blue,[citation needed] Ramin Karimloo
2012 Myleene Klass,[129] Jason Cook,[130] Lily Wu, Ni Ran Mutu, Steve Douglas Rodrick Dixon, Huhehaote Youth Horse Cello Troupe
2013 Myleene Klass, Kamal Ibrahim, Daniel Mananta, Amanda Zevannya, Steve Douglas Matt Cardle,[131] Blue,[131][132] GIGI Art of Dance, Soerya Soemirat Dance Group, Iskandar Widjaja, Maylaffayza
2014 Tim Vincent, Megan Young,[133] Frankie Cena, Steve Douglas Sky Blu,[134] The Vamps[135]
2015 Tim Vincent, Megan Young,[133] Angela Chow,[136] Steve Douglas, Neil Krisralam Yu Wenxia,[137] The Wholls,[138] Julian Believe[136]
2016 Jason Cook, Megan Young, Frankie Cena, Steve Douglas[citation needed] Rodrick Dixon, Morrison Brothers
2017 Fernando Allende, Angela Chow, Megan Young, Frankie Cena, Barney Walsh, Steve Douglas[139] Kristian Kostov, Celine Tam, Jeffrey Li, Zizi
2018 Fernando Allende, Angela Chow, Frankie Cena, Megan Young, Stephanie Del Valle, Barney Walsh Donel Mangena, Dimash Kudaibergen, Sister Sledge
2019 Megan Young, Peter Andre, Stephanie Del Valle, Fernando Allende, Steve Douglas Peter Andre, Lulu
2021 Peter Andre, Stephanie Del Valle, Fernando AllendePeter Andre Don Omar, Gente de Zona, Victor Manuel, Pedro Capó, and The Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra conducted by [140]Angel Velez with guest conductor Mike Dixon

See also

  • The Earth seen from Apollo 17.jpg World portal
  • Beauty with a Purpose – a registered charity and a non-profit organisation associated with Miss World that raises money and participates in humanitarian projects across the world


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