All hail the beauty queen!

08:41, November 02, 2010      

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The passing on of the Miss World crown in tropical Hainan province heralds the reign of a new pageant winner. Jules Quartly reports

The queen is crowned, tears flow and confetti pours down as 120 of the world's most beautiful women scream in unison and embrace one another at the conclusion of the 60th Miss World contest in Sanya, Hainan province. Photographers and fans rush to the stage at the Crown Convention Center, while security tries to hold them back, like a leaking dam.

In the middle of the melee on Oct 30 is the red-robed Miss World organizer, Julia Morley.

She breaks up a scuffle between cameramen trying to crowd in on comedian Zhao Benshan, one of the judges, by speaking a few words of Chinese.

She then takes the stage herself, bringing some kind of order to the pandemonium that has just broken out.

As she watches the newly minted Miss World Alexandria Mills of the United States hold court, she purrs, "you're a natural", before telling the rest of the contestants she is proud of them and offering consolation hugs.

The amazingly well preserved 70-year-old widow of Miss World founder Eric Morley is a force of nature.

She even has time for a short interview, in which she says the diamond anniversary Miss World was flawless, both onstage and backstage.

"This was a classic, especially with all the classic ladies who helped judge the event," she tells China Daily. She is referring to the seven previous Miss Worlds, including Denise Perrier, the 1953 winner from France, and China's Zhang Zilin, who took the crown in Sanya three years ago.

There is calm after the storm the next day in the Miss World retreat at the Crowne Plaza in Sanya.

The new Miss World holds her first press conference, along with runners-up Miss Botswana Emma Wareus and the vivacious Adriana Vasini from Venezuela.

Nicknamed "KFC" by the rest of the girls because she comes from Louisville, the home of the Kentucky Derby horse race, Mills' floods of tears from the previous night have dried up. In their place is a smile that never fades for an instant during her hour-long interrogation and photo call.

Although Mills was one of the favorites to win, she says she is still in a state of shock but feels "blessed".

"My family saw the show (at home in the United States) on a two-hour delay, and they were absolutely ecstatic and fully supportive," she says.

"After the coronation ball, I had some time alone on Skype, and there were so many faces on the feed. Somehow, they even managed to get my dogs in on it."

Unlike many of the other contestants, Mills is not a professional model and had not appeared in previous beauty pageants. She was asked whether this helped.

"I'm young, fresh and energetic, and will bring a lot to the table I think I stayed true to myself throughout the competition," she says.

"I am who I am, and I'm always just me. I'm not going to change now, and I will be the same in a year's time - but maybe just a bit wiser."

She says the beauty queen crown fits, but is a bit heavy, so she will have to get used to it.

Vasini, from the beauty capital of Venezuela, says her countrymen had been expecting great things of her, and they shouldn't be disappointed, as Mills is a deserving winner.

Botswana's Wareus echoes this sentiment but admits she is a "little sad".

"But disappointment is when you haven't represented yourself well, and I think I did. There are a billion girls who would want to be in our shoes."

Mills and Wareus will jet out to Los Angeles for a charity event before they get to take a break with their families, after what was a month-long tour of China and intense preparations for the contest itself.

The rest of the contestants were packing their bags, and swapping phone numbers and e-mail addresses with their new best friends on Oct 31.

It was the end of a long road, and one organizer's comment that "beauty is hard work" seems apt.

Source:China Daily


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