Miss World


Miss World is the oldest surviving major 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] Alongside with its rival, the Miss Universe and Miss Earth contests, Miss World pageant is one of the three most publicised beauty contests in the world

In 1951, Eric Morley organised a bikini contest as part of the Festival of Britain celebrations that he called the Festival Bikini Contest.[10] 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[11] 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.[12][13] Morley registered the “Miss World” name as a trademark,[14] 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.[15] Objection to the bikini led to its replacement in all future pageants[16][17] with what was accepted as more modest swimwear, and from 1976 swimsuits were replaced by evening gowns for the crowning.[18] Håkansson remains the only Miss World crowned in a bikini.[14] In Miss World 2013 all participants wore a one-piece swimsuit plus a traditional sarong below the waist as a compromise with local culture.[19]

Miss World Order or I’ll give you the results in reverse order. Morley announced the Miss World winners in the order No 3, No 2 and No 1. This keeps the tension up and avoids the anticlimax if Nos 2 and 3 are announced after the winner. [20]

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.[21] 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.[22]

In the 1980s, the pageant repositioned itself with the slogan Beauty With a Purpose, with added tests of intelligence and personality.[23] However, there have been various objections to the contest.[24][25] Although it still “enjoys success worldwide, it was last broadcast on UK televisions in 1998.”[26]

21st century

Eric Morley died in 2000, and his wife, Julia, succeeded as chairwoman of the Miss World organisation.[27]

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.[28]

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 Amina’s plight (see Controversies section).[29][30]

Miss World Organisation

Ivian Sarcos in a school in Mumbai, India

The Miss World Organisation owns and manages the annual Miss World Finals, a competition that has grown into one of the world’s biggest.[31] Since its launch in 1951, the Miss World organisation has raised more than £250 million for children’s charities[32] that help disabled and underprivileged children.[33] Miss World is franchised in more than 100 countries.[34][35] Miss World, Limited is a privately held firm, and thus figures for its earnings, expenses and charitable contributions are not publicly available.