A new Miss Worldwas crowned Saturday, and though she competed as Miss Philippines, she hails from the United States. The 23-year-old US-born beat 126 other contestants and pledged to be “the best Miss World ever”.
“No words! Thank you so much for everyone for choosing me. I promise to be the best Miss World ever,” Megan Young said after winning the 63rd annual event, as a large number of Filipino fans who traveled with her celebrated by jumping and waving the country’s flag.
Miss World’s 127 contestants competed in beach fashion, fitness, world fashion, talent and “Beauty with a Purpose” meant to honor charitable work. On their way to the final for all their “challenges” world beauties were awarded certain points. The finalists also faced a question-and-answer round from a panel of judges.
The top 10 models – from Ukraine, South Sudan, Brazil, the Philippines, France, Cameroon, Cyprus, England, Italy and the United States – were announced earlier this week, reports CNN.
The new Miss World, who took the crown from Wenxia Yu of China, the 2012 winner, was born in the United States. When she was 10 she moved to the Philippines, where she has appeared in films and as a television host.
Young, who is studying digital media and also presents TV shows in the Philippines, pledged to “just be myself in everything I do, to share what I know and to educate people”. Megan wants to move behind the camera and become a director, according to her bio.
The new Miss World will spend the next year travelling to represent the Miss World Organization and help raise money for its charitable causes.
Miss France, Marine Lorphelin, came second in the contest and Miss Ghana, Carranzar Naa Okailey Shooter, took third place.
A total of 129 contestants had been due to compete in the final but two pulled out at the last minute, according to organisers.
However, not everyone is happy with the new World Miss and the beauty pageant. Before the contest was held thousands of members of the radical Islam Defenders Front took to the streets to protest holding the pageant in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, calling it “pornography”.
The competition was even moved to Bali from the capital, Jakarta, because of protests from hardline Muslim groups. Security for Saturday’s event was high in Bali, a resort island with a majority Hindu population, but no further demonstrations were reported.
Almost 700 police were deployed across Bali to provide security for Miss World, backed by traditional Balinese security personnel wearing sarongs and armed with daggers, according to police.
In an attempt to appease religious concerns, the pageant scrapped the swimsuit competition and replaced it with less-revealing beachwear attire.
The British, Australian and U.S. embassies issued warnings to citizens planning trips to Bali during the competition, saying there could be large-scale protests or even attacks, say the NY Daily News.
The event, broadcast in 180 countries, was guarded by heavily armed police with water cannon while some 1,000 FPI members held a prayer session at a mosque outside Jakarta.