Miss South Africa crowned Miss World 2014
15 December 2014, Nirapad News : Miss South Africa, Rolene Strauss, 22, won the title of Miss World 2014 on its 64th year held in London. She inherited the crown from Miss World 2013, Megan Young from Philippines. She won the title over runner-up Miss Hungary, Edina Kulcsar and Miss United States Elizabeth Safrit who won third place.
Stauss a fourth-year medical student at University of the Free State, put her studies on hold after being crowned Miss South Africa in March. She describes herself as having a “wild South African heart.” Asked why she felt she wanted to be Miss World, Rolene said: “Being proudly South African, I have firsthand experience that unity, respect, forgiveness exists those all the aspirations of the Miss World organization, so it would be amazing to represent an organization that is a beacon of hope all over the world.” “South Africa this is for you,” Strauss said afterwards. “I think I will brace myself for what’s about to happen. It’s a huge responsibility.” In her official Miss World 2014 introduction video, she credits former South African President Nelson Mandela with paving the way for her to pursue a career in medicine by creating a democratic South Africa. Strauss said she looked forward to continuing the legacy of Miss World CEO Julia Morley, founder of “Beauty With a Purpose,” a nonprofit that supports humanitarian projects of Miss World contestants. As Miss South Africa, Strauss has promoted projects in women’s rights, health and education, including one to provide menstruation education to schoolgirls in South Africa.
One of the highlights of the evening came when the candidates surprised Beauty With a Purpose founder and Miss World chair Julia Morley with a tribute in the form of a song number. She was then greeted by Miss World 1994, Bollywood royalty Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Miss World 1953 Denise Perrier, and Miss World 2013 Megan Young.
This year’s event has been rocked by the murder of finalist Maria Jose Alvarado, the 19-year-old Miss Honduras, who was shot dead along with her sister last month. Their bodies were found buried on the day the beauty queen was due to travel to London. Police in Honduras accuse her sister’s boyfriend of shooting them after seeing his partner dancing with another man at a party. Strauss will travel to the violence-hit central American nation to build a school named in the sisters’ honor. “We hope that it will really start to impress on the people in Honduras that the violence, and hurting people like those two innocent women; maybe they can think again before they take a gun,” Miss World chairwoman Julia Morley told AFP.
While beauty remains central to the event, the women taking part are also judged on their brains, skills and involvement in good causes. In the Beauty with a Purpose round, contestants present a charitable project they have been working on in their homeland.
The event also featured a special 20-year award for 1994’s Miss World, Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai. The 41-year-old Indian actress appeared on stage with her film star husband Abhishek Bachchan, their daughter Aaradhya and her mother. The prize was for the star’s charitable work with children with cleft palates since being made famous by Miss World. “I stand here overwhelmed by this honour,” she said.
The 10 contestants who topped the final scoreboard were, in descending order, from India, South Africa, England, Guyana, Brazil, Hungary, Kenya, United States, Mexico and Australia. They were joined by Miss Thailand, who won the people’s choice award, voted for by people around the world through a mobile phone app. The scores were reset at zero and the judges chose Miss Hungary, Miss Australia, Miss South Africa, Miss United States and Miss England as their top five. Miss World began in 1951, a year before its chief rival Miss Universe. As well as Rai, previous finalists include US actress Halle Berry in 1986. It returns to Bali in Indonesia for the 2015 final.