Aishwarya Rai circa 1994.
Aishwarya Rai after winning the Miss World beauty pageant in 1994. Reuters

The Miss World beauty pageant celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.

Miss World was started in 1951, making it the oldest international beauty pageant. Miss Universe would be created the following year. Another international beauty pageant, Miss Earth, began more than a decade ago, and has more of an environmental focus.

The first Miss World pageant took place in London, England and had 16 contestants. Sweden would be first country to win, with Kerstin Haakonson taking the crown.

Today, 122 women from around the world are competing for the title. The pageant has taken place all over the world in previous years but returned to its hometown of London for the 60th anniversary.

Pageant rules require that Miss World winners live in London for their reigning year. The current reigning Miss World is Alexandria Mills of Louisville, Kentucky, the third U.S. contestant to win this competition.

Past pageant hosts include Bob Hope, who hosted in 1970.

Anyone who would try and break up an affair as wonderful as this has got to be some kind of dope, he said when the contest was protested by some feminists.

Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai is one of the most famous Miss World alumni. She was already modeling and doing commercials when she was crowned in 1994 and would go on to have a successful acting career.

She talked about competing in Miss World and winning the crown in a 2006 60 Minutes interview with Bob Simon.

For me, it was about being the 20-year-old girl from India on international platform and a lot of people actually would assume that I wasn't even educated in India because of the way I'd speak, she said. I was like, 'This is so interesting that so many people know so little about my country' and this is exactly what I wanted to do when I set out on this little mission in my head.