Miss World pageant returns to China

A bevy of 120 beauties from around the globe will don their most alluring evening gowns and sexiest swimwear on Saturday for the Miss World pageant in the Chinese resort town of Sanya.

After a month-long tour of China, from visiting the striking Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing to shopping in Shanghai, contestants have now invaded Hainan island's pristine beaches for the early mini-contests and the main event.

Norway's Mariann Birkedal, the raven-haired 23-year-old who earned a spot in the final by taking the preliminary Top Model title, is tipped by bookmakers to take the crown - a result that might anger authorities in Beijing.

China has been at odds with Oslo since the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded earlier this month to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo - and any glory for Norway, even in a beauty pageant, might ruffle some official feathers.

Also tipped by British bookmakers William Hill are Alexandria Mills of the United States, Yara Santiago of Puerto Rico, and Brazil's Kamilla Salgado.

The competition, which was first held in 1951 and is being staged in Sanya for the fifth time in eight years, annually rakes in a global television audience of about a billion viewers.

"Miss World has a special relationship with Sanya and there is no better place to begin our 60th year celebrations," the pageant's co-chairwoman Julia Morley said on the official website.

Reigning Miss World Kaiane Aldorino of the tiny British territory of Gibraltar will hand over her crown at the glittering ceremony.

"While I will be sad as my Miss World experience will soon be coming to a close, I am very happy that the place to end my year will be Sanya," said the 24-year-old Aldorino, who was a human resources clerk when she won the title.

Aldorino and 10 contestants helped distribute aid to victims of recent flash floods on Hainan, in the south of the country - emphasising what organisers say is the event's commitment to charity work.

"Charity work is integral to the Miss World ethos and part of the brief to contenders in each country is that they volunteer their time or fund-raise for charity," according to a statement on the official website.

Miss Beauty with a Purpose is one of several contestants who will earn "fast-track" spots in the semi-finals by winning mini-titles.

Along with "Top Model" Birkedal, Santiago booked her place with the Beach Beauty title, and Ireland's violin-playing Emma Waldron won the talent contest.

Lori Moore of Northern Ireland, a 20-year-old hockey and netball enthusiast, also secured her spot by taking the Sportswoman crown.

"My family back home are so proud - they are coming to the final," Moore said.

In 1951, Sweden's Kiki Hakansson became the first Miss World. Oscar-winning American actress Halle Berry was a finalist in 1986.

Venezuela and India have produced the most Miss Worlds, with five titleholders each. Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai took the crown in 1994.

In 2002, the pageant was moved from Nigeria to Britain after more than 200 people died in clashes sparked when a newspaper suggested the Muslim prophet Mohammed would have chosen a wife from among the contestants had he been alive.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Systems and Network Support Analyst

    £26000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a rapidly expandi...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Systems Support Analyst

    £20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a rapidly expandi...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

    £20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...

    Recruitment Genius: Stock Broker / Trainee Broker / Closer - OTE £250,000

    £30000 - £250000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Stock Broker/ Trainee FX, Stoc...

    Day In a Page

    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
    Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

    That's a bit rich

    The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
    Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
    Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

    Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

    Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
    A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

    Britain's Atlantis

    Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

    David Starkey's assessment
    Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

    'An enormous privilege and adventure'

    Oliver Sacks writing about his life
    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
    Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

    Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

    Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests