Ireland’s Rosanna Davison was crowned Miss World on Saturday, beating 105 other women from around the globe at the competition held at this southern Chinese tropical resort.
The 19-year-old Davison — daughter of Chris De Burgh, the singer best known for his 1986 hit “Lady in Red — accepted her tiara with minimum fuss, waving calmly to the audience as the other contestants hugged and kissed her while gold confetti were fired out of a mock cannon.
“I was just so thrilled about being placed in the top five,” she said afterward, grinning broadly. “I didn’t think I’d get this far.” Davidson also won the “Beach Beauty” award.
Miss Canada, Nazanin Afshin-Jam, took second, while host country’s Miss China, Guan Qi, placed third.
“I’m seriously proud of her,” said De Burgh of his daughter, who wore a fuschia dress for the competition.
The contestants’ bright smiles never faltered as they sashayed and twirled across the stage in outfits of every hue during the tightly scheduled two-hour event which marked China’s entry into the beauty pageant scene.
‘WHY NOT CHINA AGAIN?’
The competition will be held again in China next year, although the city hasn’t been decided, said Miss World President Julia Morley.
“Why not China again? There’s so much to see here, there’s so much to do,” Morley said. “Already it’s placed Sanya on the map, and now we have to look to see whether we continue going down that road or look for a new place to develop.”
It won’t be the first time that Miss World will be held in the same country two years in a row. South Africa played host five years running, Morley said.
There were no signs of disruptions, unlike last year when the pageant was hastily moved to London from Nigeria following deadly fights between Muslims and Christians.
The rioting erupted after a Nigerian newspaper suggested the Muslim prophet Muhammad would have approved of the Miss World pageant and might have wanted to marry a contestant.
ENTHUSIASM IN CHINA
“When I was a child, I watched Miss World on television and thought ‘There were a lot of fantastic girls but no Miss China.’ I’m happy I could make it happen,” said Guan, 21, who wore a red gown embroidered with gold dragons.
Earlier on stage, the fashion designer from the country’s northeast Jilin province fired up the crowd with a patriotic, “I love you, China!”
Hours before the competition began, hundreds of people lined the streets in hopes of catching a glimpse of the contestants outside the $12 million tiara-shaped convention hall built specially for the event.
“They’re so beautiful,” said Wu Chang, one of four 18-year-old friends who attend college nearby and who planned their outing to Sanya a month ago. “It’s a luxury if we see them."