Miss Philippines Megan Young was crowned Miss World 2013 in Bali, a resort island of Indonesia. Marine Lorphelin from France took second place and Carranzar Naa Okailey Shooter from Ghana came third.
Miss Philippines was crowned Miss World 2013 on Sept.28 at a tightly guarded ceremony in Bali, Indonesia, after the contest was plagued by protests from hardliners and fears that extremist groups could try to disrupt the event.
US-born Megan Young, a 23-year-old studying digital film, accepted the crown from last year’s winner, Wenxia Yu of China, and promised to “be the best Miss World ever.” She is the first Filipina to win the Miss World since the pageant’s inception in 1951.
Thousands of members of the radical defenders front took to the streets over the past month to protest holding the pageant in Indonesia. The protests forced organisers to move the event from a venue outside Jakarta to Nusa Dua in southern Bali, a resort island.
Event organisers announced in June that contestants would eschew bikinis this year in favour of sarongs and one-piece swimwear to avoid causing offence.
The embassies of the United States, Britain and Australia issued travel warnings for Indonesia, saying extremist groups could be planning violence to disrupt the pageant.
However, Indonesian police said there were no reports of unrest surrounding the contest on Saturday.
The new Miss World will spend the next year travelling to represent the Miss World Organisation and help raise money for its charitable causes.
Marine Lorphelin, a 20-year-old medical student from France, took second place. From Ghana, Carranzar Naa Okailey Shooter, 23, also a medical student, came third.
Meanwhile, the Philippines — where beauty contests are a serious affair — celebrated on Sunday its first victory in the Miss World contest.
The triumph Young was the main headline in major newspapers, who noted that it finally gave the Philippines a winner in all major beauty pageants after several victories in the Miss Universe and Miss International contests.
President Benigno Aquino’s communications secretary Ramon Carandang congratulated Young in a statement, saying the administration was proud of her achievement.
“Over the course of the competition, Young displayed to the world the beauty, the grace, and the compassionate spirit of the Filipina and has become a source of great pride and inspiration for the Filipino people,” his statement said.
“May her triumph remind all Filipinos of what we are capable of,” he added.
“Finally, the blue-beaded crown for the Philippines,” the Manila Bulletin said in its main story.
The newspapers also mentioned the tight security at the Miss World pageant in the Indonesian resort island of Bali.
The mainly Roman Catholic Philippines, the victory of Young was a cause for celebration especially on social media.
“Feeling proud. The beauty of the Pinay (Filipina) has come out on top,” said one message on Twitter.
“I’m so proud of you Megan. You prove that we’re beautiful. I’m proud to be a Filipino,” another message read.
Beauty queens in the Philippines have often gone on to successful careers as actors and fashion models.
But Young is already a showbiz veteran, having hosted and starred in several TV shows and movies since 2005.
Earlier this month, the national director for the Philippine licensee of Miss World charged that there was a “smear campaign by a negligible sector of the Philippine pageant industry” against Young.
Although the details of the campaign were not given, Philippine beauty pageant blogger Joyce Ann Burton Titular said steamy photographs of Young, taken last year for local men’s magazine Rogue, had been circulating internationally.