Juicy trivia on the Miss World pageant
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo () - November 27, 2007 - 12:00am

Since it started in 1951, the Miss World pageant has registered a total of 3,571 contestants. This year, it scores a record-high with 107 contestants (tied with the year 2004), among them our bet Margaret “Maggie” Wilson, competing in the grand finals slated for Saturday, Dec. 1 (covered “live” by ABC 5 starting at 8:30 p.m.) in Sanya, China. Miss World Organization headed by Julia Morley can rightfully claim that the Miss World crown is the most coveted among the global beauty pageants.

This piece of information comes from Funfare’s “other beauty expert” Celso de Guzman Caparas (now working in Saudi) who made a list of interesting trivia and anecdotes about the pageant:

• 1953 delegate from Norway, Solveig Gulbrandsen, is the twin sister of Synnove Gulbrandsen, a semi-finalist in the Miss Universe pageant the same year.

• 1954 Miss World Antigone Costanda of Egypt failed to relinquish her crown on Oct. 20, 1955 due to hostilities between Egypt and Great Britain over the Suez Canal. Instead, 1955 Miss World winner, Carmen Susana Duijm Zubillaga of Venezuela, was crowned by British actress Eunice Gayson. Zubillaga was also a semi-finalist in Miss Universe 1955 pageant.

• 1965 first runner-up Dianna Lynn Batts of USA would later be known as Dian Parkinson of The Price is Right (aired from 1975 to 1993). She was Miss District of Columbia 1965 and fourth runner-up in Miss USA 1965 pageant. Dian was the cover girl of Playboy in December 1991 and May 1993.

• 1966 Miss World winner Reita Faria of India was involved in an international dispute with the Indian government which threatened to lift her passport if she joined the Bob Hope Christmas USO Tour in December that year. Reita went ahead and joined the troops in Vietnam, Thailand and Guam.

• After the contest, 1972 semi-finalist Linda Jean Cordova Carter of USA played the title role in the fantasy-adventure TV series Wonder Woman (aired 1975 to 1979); while dethroned 1973 Miss World Marjorie Wallace of USA (her first runner-up was the Philippines’ Evangeline Pascual) became a host of Good Morning Los Angeles and Entertainment Tonight.

• 1983 finalist Unnur Steinsson of Iceland was three months pregnant during the pageant (finals held on Nov. 17, 1983) which violated the pageant’s rules and warranted disqualification. However, this was not found out until after the pageant. Her baby, born on May 25, 1984 and named Unnur Birna Villhjalmsdottir, would be crowned as Miss World and Miss World-Northern Europe in 2005. Steinsson also competed in the Miss Young International 1980 held in Manila and was named Miss Mabuhay (Friendship), Miss Punctual and third runner-up. She was also Iceland’s delegate in the Miss Universe 1983 pageant. Mother and daughter both became movie actresses.

• 1983 delegate Carolina Cerruti Duijm of Venezuela is the daughter of 1955 Miss World Carmen Susana Duijm Zubillaga.

Hollywood actress Halle Berry was 1986 finalist (sixth place) and winner of dress competition, and the first black American to compete in the Miss World pageant. Her first name was taken from Halle’s Department Store, a landmark in her birthplace Cleveland, Ohio. Prior to her Miss World stint, Berry won as Miss Teen-Ohio 1985, Miss Teen-All American 1985, Miss Ohio-USA 1986 and first runner-up to Miss USA 1986 Christy Fichtner.

• Miss World beauties who have appeared in James Bond movies: were: 1953 Miss World Denise Perrier of France (Diamonds Are Forever, 1971), 1958 first runner-up Claudine Oger of France (as Domino in Thunderball, 1965), 1969 Miss World Eva Reuber-Staier of Austria (as Rubelvitch in The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977; For Your Eyes Only, 1981 and Octopussy, 1983), 1977 Miss World Mary Ann-Catrin Stavin of Sweden (Octopussy, 1983 and as agent Kimberly Jones in A View To A Kill, 1985) and Halle Berry (as Jinx in Die Another Day, 2002).

• Three sisters represented the Isle of Man: Kathleen Mary Craig (1979), Maria Elizabeth Craig (1982) and Sarah Therese Craig (1986).

• Four sisters from Macau competed in the pageant: Guilhermina Madeira da Silva Pedruco (1989), Isabela Madeira da Silva Pedruco (1993), Geraldina Madeira da Silva Pedruco (1995) and Guiomar Madeira da Silva Pedruco (1996). The sisters also competed in the Miss Chinese International pageant in which Guilhermina finished second runner-up in 1989.

(E-mail reactions at rickylo@philstar.net.ph)

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