Miss World: Not just a pretty face?

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Reuters

Miss Venezuela, Ivian Sarcos, is crowned Miss World 2011 in Earls Court in west London November 6, 2011 REUTERS/Paul Hackett

Feminists may be up in arms that the “sexist” pageant of crowning Miss World has survived for 60 years, but modern-day contestants insist that just having a pretty face is no longer enough.

“Winning means everything to me and I hope to take advantage of being a winner in a productive manner. I first and foremost want to help people in need. I would like to help people like me. I am an orphan,” Venezuela's Ivian Sarcos told reporters in London after gaining the crown of Miss World 2011 late Sunday.

The 21-year-old student beat rivals from 113 countries to win the coveted title whose categories range from beauty to talent and purpose - a category where contestants must show involvement in a charity project.

Sarcos, dressed in a pearl-studded top with a flowing, light pink feather skirt that showed her long legs, revealed that she was orphaned at the age of eight and dreamt of becoming a nun.

One of 13 siblings, she spent five years studying at a nunnery and later gained a degree in human resources which led to her working for a broadcasting company.

“Unfortunately I lost both my parents at a very young age which led me to study for five years in a nunnery. I spent my five years in there and my dream was to become a nun,” said Miss Venezuela.

Her future ambition is to work with children.

In contrast to the glamour inside the hall, some 100 feminist protestors, clad in anoraks and jeans, braved the cold to hold up banners condemning the event.

“Treating women like cattle is not empowering,” said their posters. “We're not beautiful, we're not ugly, we're angry,” they sang.

A statement on the website of one of the groups, London Feminist Network, recalled better times.

“Forty years ago feminists disrupted this sexist contest in a spectacular fashion... Let the organizers and all those profiting from the event know that we are all angry that such an event is once again being held here in London, 40 years later.”

Joe Robinson spent a night in a police cell for throwing stink bombs at contestants after storming the Royal Albert Hall, where the 1970 Miss World event was held.

Now approaching 70, she told the Independent newspaper Monday:

“You'd think that after 40 years things would have changed, wouldn't you?”

“We thought we'd stopped it, but we haven't. It's back and it's worse than it was 40 years ago,” said fellow-protestor Sue Finch.

Over a billion viewers from around the world tuned in to watch the contest, which has become the world's longest running beauty competition.

The first Miss World competition - in which contestants wore bikinis -was held in London in 1951, proclaiming Swedish beauty Kiki Haakonson the winner. - Sapa-dpa


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Mel, wrote

IOL Comments
10:02am on 9 November 2011
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It's a BEAUTY PAGEANT ... don't know why the world maakes it out to be more than it is. I think our Miss SA contest is way to heavily judges on interviews just look at the current batch of finalists ... If SA ever wants to win a Miss Universe and Miss World title the judging has to be equal looks and brains. Oh Sun City put a bid in for Miss Universe 2012

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Adele Richards, wrote

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09:24am on 9 November 2011
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LOL...obviously these competitions are not all about looks. Just take a look at what our current Ms SA looks like.....nasty......

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Anonymous, wrote

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09:05am on 9 November 2011
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To London Feminists- Miss World is not a fashion parade. Being ignorant and ill-informed is not empowering either.

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Ettienne, wrote

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08:47am on 9 November 2011
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Miss Phillipines looks like a ladyboy. And Taniya, Miss Venezuela is one of the most beautiful woman ever to wear the crown.

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Anonymous, wrote

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08:50pm on 8 November 2011
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Miss Philippines deserved the crown more than Miss Venezuela. Why? Because Venezuela cant even speak the English language wc is very important since the role of Miss World winner is to do charity works and communicate with the world. And as we all know, English is the universal language.

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Baas Ted, wrote

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01:33pm on 8 November 2011
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Taniya, go & play with your crayons because you don't know what you're talking about. This is a very beautiful girl & she deserved to win!

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Anonymous, wrote

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12:20pm on 8 November 2011
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Ugly?? Are you drugged or something? Just remember in life jealousy will get you no where. When I was watching it I picked her out along with most of the world at the very start of the competition because she has the whole package and by far the best looking out of the lot!

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Taniya, wrote

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11:43am on 8 November 2011
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I am totally against the choosing ms. World 2011 - Venezuelan. Always this is the case. All the lovely prettiest Girls are left nowhere and the ugliest ducklings are chosen. What an ugly Ms. World this time. Not even a nail to scratch. Are you Judges drugged or something? or did she lift to one of you. There are so many lovely Asian girls including Sri Lankans but these damn Judges are utterly usless. We are fedup of seeing the same countries winning year by year. Please give top preference to the other countries also.

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