Miss Venezuela Ivian Lunasol Sarcos Colmenares is the winner of Miss World 2011, beating contestants from 122 countries. Sarcos, 21, has long been a finale favorite, despite spending five years training to be a nun before dazzling judges in bikini wear at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre in London.
Sarcos entered a nunnery after the death of her mother and father. Her dream to become a nun however, has since morphed into a desire to become a spokeswoman for orphans and underprivileged children, leading her to get a degree in human resources and joain a braodcasting company. It is a dream already begun with the creation of her own foundation, and which will continue as the newly-crowned winner works with non-governmental organizations and young children during her year as Miss World 2011.
The beauty contest has drawn criticism in recent years for being outdated, with many claiming the competition is little more than well-packaged exploitation, noting how much of the contest is rooted in appearance and how many of the contestants are or become models. Outside the 2011 venue in London, a small feminist demonstration took place, protesting at what they called an appalling offence against women's equality.
In Miss World's defense, others point to the 112 contestants Miss Venezuela beat. Over a quarter are college graduates, with more than half speaking at least three different languages. All hoped to represent the Miss World Organization, which sponsors various philanthropic causes in addition to preparing for each annual pageant.
Here, learn more about past Miss World winners, and decide for yourself whether the competition is about opportunity and philanthropy or more an exercise in exploitation.
Does Miss Venezuela stack up to past Miss World winners? How have other contestants used (or misused) their crown and title? Click on to find out.