Ivian Sarcos, 21, of Venezuela has won the coveted Miss World 2011 title, after outpacing 112 other contestants at the finals, held at Earls Court Two, in London Sunday night. Sarcos is the sixth Venezuelan to win the title.
The often controversial pageant celebrated its 60th birthday this year, at a star-studded event accompanied by live television coverage to more than 150 countries and a billion viewers worldwide.
But not everyone enjoyed or endorsed the event.
A feminist demonstration outside the venue panicked the organizers for a while, as approximately 200 campaigners stormed in with placards, banners and chants denouncing the contest as an appalling offence against women's equality.
Let the organizers and all those profiting from the event know that we are all angry that such an event is once again being held here in London, said a statement on the group's Web Site.
Carrying signs and posters that read Miss Deed and Miss Ogynist in opposition to the beauty pageant, the angry protestors made it loud and clear that this event has no place in London in 2011.
We are here because this contest does not belong in a world that treats women and men equally. It perpetuates the beauty myth and indoctrinates people all over the globe with their unacceptable ideals. And we all know that those wrongly placed ideals have a very harmful effect on others, said Kat Banyard, the founder of UK Feminista.
The event itself was supported by former South African President Nelson Mandela, who, in a message to the contestants, congratulated them for their charitable work.
We joined the pageant by choice. We enjoy being a part of it and we support each other, said Clara Belle, a finalist for Miss England, speaking in support of the pageant.
Laura Coleman, a former Miss England, was equally supportive, saying the appreciation of beauty ought not to cause anger. She attempted to discourage protestors by saying that the pageant empowered women and was not just a bikini parade.
Women enter beauty pageants at their own will, they are not forced into it. I don't understand why feminists think it is degrading, as pageants are actually empowering women, she added.
As per the tradition and rules of the Miss World Pageant, contestants must actively demonstrate their involvement in and the support of a charity project or cause; the newly crowned Miss World 2011 will follow suit.
The contestants were judged by a panel of former Miss World winners that included Cindy Breakspeare (1976), Agbani Darego (2001), Zhang Zilin (2007) and Kaiane Aldorino (2009).
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