Gear up for another beauty pageant: Miss World 2013 will be held on Saturday, September 28 in Bali where a winner will be chosen from 127 contestants.
This year, the Miss World pageant is making international headlines not for its bevy of beauties but after Islamic extremists protested this year’s pageant location in Indonesia, one of the most populous Muslim nations of the world. The 2013 contest was slated to be held in the Indonesia capital, Jakarta, but was moved to the resort island of Bali amid security concerns.
According to CNN, the organization decided to move the pageant to Bali after opposition became apparent regarding the clothing worn during Miss World pageants. Islamic protestors denounced the pageant, calling it insulting to have women wearing bikinis and form-fitting evening attire in the majority Muslim nation.
The Jakarta Post said the objection from “both the government and Islamic conservatives” come from two main reasons. “First, Islam frowns upon the beauty contest because it involves violating women's modesty by having the contestants expose too much of themselves when they wear bikinis,” the paper reported. “An Islamic edict forbids women from exposing their "aurat", parts of the body that must be covered except to their husbands or relatives.”
Given this, bikinis have been replaced with sarongs this year.
“Second,” it continued, “the contest is seen as contrary to Indonesian culture, according to MUI chairman Amidhan Shaberah. The foreign participants will bring with them their own cultures and values that may not be compatible with those in Indonesia. They will be wearing their own costumes and may conduct themselves in a way that may transgress the pornography law.”
The Jakarta Post brought up an alternative pageant, Miss World Muslimah, which was held earlier this month which was “in line with the local culture, as the emphasis was on sholehah (piety of a Muslim woman) and style rather than beauty.”
Despite the fight from both sides, the pageant was moved to Bali based on decisions made by the government in coordination with the Miss World organizers. At the resort destination, security expanded to include 700 police officers to protest attendees and participants of the pageant.
But the show will go on at the Miss World pageant on Saturday, as it has been all month with preliminary competitions. The opening ceremony was held earlier this month on Sept. 8, as all the contestants took part in an Indonesian ceremony, donning traditional garb and participating in traditional dance. For the first round in the fashion catwalk, contestants wore traditional costumes by Nusantara clothing and performed music and dance alongside Indonesian artists.
Winners have also been announced in the categories -- Beach Fashion, Top Model, Sports and Fitness, Beauty with a Purpose, Talent Competition and the World Fashion Designer Award – on Thursday leading up to the grand finale on Saturday.
Megan Young of the Philippines won the Top Model competition; The U.S.’s Olivia Jordan came in second and Marine Lorphelin of France came in third. The Netherlands’ Jacqueline Steenbeek won the Sports award with Spain’s Elen Ibarbia Jiminez and Northern Ireland’s Meagan Green coming in second and third, respectively. Brazil scored the beach fashion win thanks to Sancler Frantz. Marine Lorphelin of France came in second and Ghana’s Naa Okailey Shooter placed third. In multimedia, India’s Navneet Dhillon was first, Thailand’s Kanyaphak Phokesomboon was second and Nepal’s Ishani Shrestha was third. For “beauty with a purpose,” Nepal (Ishani Shrestha) scored the win with Erin Holland of Australia and Tanzania’s Brigitte Lyimo in second and third.
On Sunday, Vania Larissa of Indonesia was named the winner of the Miss World Talent final for singing “A Question of Honour.” Erin Holland of Australia won second place Ukraine’s Anna Zaiachkivska won third.
In late August, Miss World announced that Olivia Jordan would represent the United States in the pageant. The 24-year-old, who was the runner-up at the Miss California USA 2013 pageant as well as Miss Beverly Hills 2013, will celebrate her 25th birthday the day of the pageant. Jordan works as a model and actress in Los Angeles, Calif. She’s had bit roles in “Ted,” “Here Comes the Boom” and the upcoming “Hot Tub Time Machine 2.” She will compete against 127 contestants from all over the world.
The U.S. has only won three Miss World titles since the competition began in 1951, with Alexandra Mills crowned as the last American Miss World in 2010.
To read more about the contestants, head over to the Miss World website here.