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The Star: Med student, 22, ends South Africa’s 40-year drought at Miss World pageant

The Star: Med student, 22, ends South Africa’s 40-year drought at Miss World pageant
Dec 18 0 Comments

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Rolene Strauss of South Africa (centre) reacts after being crowned Miss World 2014. – Reuters/Toby Melville

Miss South Africa Rolene Strauss is the new queen of the world, while Miss Malaysia Dewi Liana Seriestha places in the Top 25 and wins the talent competition!

Rolene Strauss, a 22-year-old South African, has won the Miss World 2014 pageant in London, the organisers said in a statement released on Sunday Dec 14. Hungary’s Edina Kulcsár came second and Elizabeth Safrit, representing the US, came third.

Strauss clasped her hands together in surprise and was presented with the sash by the outgoing Miss World, Megan Young of the Philippines. The medical student sat in the winner’s throne as the 2013 champion put the glittering crown on her head before a fireworks finale in east London.

“South Africa this is for you,” said Strauss, a medical student who is currently studying towards her degree at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein. “I think I will brace myself for what’s about to happen. It’s a huge responsibility.”

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Rolene Strauss of South Africa reacts after being crowned Miss World 2014, while Edina Kulczar of Hungary (L) and Elizabeth Safrit of the US (R) placed second and third respectively. – Reuters/Toby Melville

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Strauss is the third South African to hold the Miss World title and puts the country just behind Venezuela (6), India (5) and the United Kingdom (4) for total number of wins. However, South Africa does have the longest gap between wins – Strauss’ victory comes 40 years after Anneline Kriel inherited the crown in 1974. Penelope Ann Coelen was the first South African to win the pageant in 1958.

Meanwhile, Dewi Liana Seriestha from Kuching, Sarawak represented Malaysia. The 25-year-old performing arts student from ASWARA placed in the Top 25 and won the talent competition.

Previous Miss Malaysia queens who won a Miss World placing include Deborah Henry (Top 16 in 2007), Arianna Teoh (Top 10 in 1997) and Rahima Orchient Yayah, the last Malay winner from Malaysia (Top 10 in 1994). Lina Teoh remains the most successful Miss Malaysia World, placing 2nd runner up at the Miss World finals in 1998.

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(L-R) Miss India Koyal Rana, Miss Kenya Idah Nguma, Miss Brazil Julia Gama, Miss Indonesia Maria Asteria Sastrayu Rahajeng and Miss Malaysia Dewi Liana Seriestha react after winning the charity section of the Miss World 2014 pageant. – EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

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Dewi Liana Seriestha, a 25-year-old performing arts student from Kuching, Sarawak, parades during the grand final of the Miss World 2014 pageant. – AFP/Leon Neal

Miss World’s 124 contestants travelled to the Oxford Union society earlier this month to discuss whether such pageants still had a place in modern society. British media reported that some students from Oxford University were disappointed that the event failed to generate a lively debate on the subject.

Sadly this year’s competition, the 64th, was marred by tragedy after Miss Honduras, 19-year-old Maria Jose Alvarado, was found shot dead in a suspected crime of passion days before she was due to take part.

Alvarado’s family and friends buried the slain beauty queen and her sister Sofia, 23, amid tears and applause last month. Hundreds of people walked along dirt roads from the Galeras neighbourhood where the sisters lived in Honduras, following a car carrying the wooden coffins inside a glass case adorned with flowers. Draped across Maria Jose’s coffin was the Miss Honduras sash she won at the contest in April.

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Maria Jose Alvarado, seen here as she was crowned Miss Honduras in April 2014, was found murdered in November, just days before she was due to compete in the Miss World pageant in London. – Reuters

Meanwhile, police suspect Sofia’s boyfriend Plutarco Ruiz shot and killed her in a fit of jealousy after seeing her dancing with another person, and then shot Maria Jose. “This is the main hypothesis we have for this crime, based on the witnesses and investigations we’ve done,” said Leandro Osorio, head of the criminal investigation unit.

The bodies were buried near a river in the mountainous region of Santa Barbara in western Honduras. Police found the bodies because Aris Maldonado, believed to be an employee of Ruiz, told them he helped Ruiz bury the women. Police took Ruiz and Maldonado into custody and also confiscated two pistols and their pick-up truck.

Alvarado, a student who aspired to become a career diplomat, was crowned Miss Honduras World 2014 after beating 18 contestants to the top spot. The daughter of a lower middle class family from Santa Barbara, Alvarado had worked as a model for local department stores. She said she couldn’t live without lip-gloss or Wikipedia, according to her biography on the Miss World website.

Alvarado and her sister went missing on Nov 13, when they were seen leaving a birthday party for Ruiz at a local water park in a car without a license plate. “The family is devastated,” their uncle Claudio Munoz told reporters through tears. “They killed two girls with such promise … They will be remembered as queens forever in Honduras and the world.” – Reuters

Malay Mail: Miss South Africa crowned Miss World, Malaysian Miss Talent

Malay Mail: Miss South Africa crowned Miss World, Malaysian Miss Talent
Dec 16 0 Comments

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LONDON, Dec 15 — Miss South Africa, 22-year-old Rolene Strauss, was crowned Miss World 2014 at the contest’s glitzy final in London yesterday, with an estimated billion viewers watching on television around the globe.

Miss Hungary, Edina Kulcsar, was judged the runner-up and Miss United States, Elizabeth Safrit, came third in the 64th annual competition, contested by women from 121 countries.

Talent winner Miss Malaysia Dewi Liana Seriestha parades during the grand final. — AFP pic
Talent winner Miss Malaysia Dewi Liana Seriestha parades during the grand final. — AFP pic
Miss Malaysia Dewi Liana Seriestha won the talent competition in a live sing-off with Miss Scotland.

While beauty remains central to the event, the women taking part are chiefly judged on their talents and involvement in good causes.

In the Beauty with a Purpose section — the heart of Miss World — contestants present a charitable project they have been working on in their homeland.

In this section, the judges gave equal first place to Misses Brazil, Guyana, India, Indonesia and Kenya, unable to separate them.

In rounds held since the contestants arrived in London, Miss Finland topped the sporting competition; Miss United States was the multimedia winner; Miss Bosnia and Hercegovina won the top model round and Miss Sweden triumphed in beach fashion.

Medical student Strauss clasped her hands together in surprise and was crowned by the outgoing Miss World, Megan Young of the Philippines, to huge cheers in the ExCeL exhibition centre.

“South Africa this is for you,” Strauss said. “I think I will brace myself for what’s about to happen. It’s a huge responsibility.”

She told AFP she wanted to help spread education in her homeland and thereby help other people realise their dreams.

“I am what I am today because of the opportunities I have received and I would love to give others the same opportunities; educating, the opportunity to be educated, to make healthy choices and also to live their dreams,” Strauss said.

Bollywood star honoured

And she was already getting used to the glittering crown.

“I’ll definitely keep it on as long as I can but my parents are staying around here so they’ll be hugging me and I’m afraid that it might fall off,” she said.

This year’s event has been rocked by the murder of Miss Honduras, 19-year-old Maria Jose Alvarado, who was shot dead along with her sister last month.

Police in Honduras accuse her sister’s boyfriend of shooting them after seeing his partner dancing with another man at a party.

Strauss and other contestants will travel to the crime-plagued central American nation to build a school named in honour of the sisters.

“We hope that it will really start to impress on the people in Honduras that the violence, and hurting people like those two innocent women… maybe they can think again before they take a gun,” Miss World chairwoman Julia Morley told AFP.

Yesterday’s show started with a spectacular choreographed dance routine, with all the beauty queens on stage in costumes inspired by their homelands — including Miss Bolivia in a colourful feathered headdress.

The event also featured a special 20-year award for 1994’s Miss World, Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai.

The 41-year-old Indian actress appeared on stage with her film star husband Abhishek Bachchan, their daughter Aaradhya and her mother.

The prize was for the “Dhoom 2” star’s charitable work with children with cleft palates since being made famous by Miss World.

“I stand here overwhelmed by this honour,” she said.

The 10 contestants who topped the final scoreboard were, in descending order, from India, South Africa, England, Guyana, Brazil, Hungary, Kenya, United States, Mexico and Australia.

They were joined by Miss Thailand, who won the people’s choice award, voted for by people around the world through a mobile phone app.

The judges chose Miss Hungary, Miss Australia, Miss South Africa, Miss United States and Miss England as their top five before picking their top three.

Miss World began in 1951, a year before its chief rival Miss Universe.

Strauss is the third South African Miss World, the country having held the title in 1958 and 1974.

Venezuela tops the all-time leader board with six titles, ahead of India and the United Kingdom on five titles each. — AFP

Malay Mail: Reign of Sarawakin Dewi Begins

Malay Mail: Reign of Sarawakin Dewi Begins
Sep 01 0 Comments

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Nanyang Newspaper Today 1st September 2014 Page W2 covering the Top 5 of Miss Malaysia World as Dewi Liana Seriestha crowned as the newly Miss Malaysia World 2014 follow by Bob Low as 1st runner-up, Cassandra Devi Jeremiah (Cassie) as 2nd runner-up, Dhivya Dhyana as 3rd Runner-up and Olivia Shyan as 4th runner-up.

Subsidiary title winners:

Lisa Lau – Miss Natural Beauty

Dewi Liana Seriestha – Miss Talent, Miss Personality and Miss Dr. Alice Award

Bob Low Sze Yie – Miss Metrojaya and Miss Wacoal

Cassie – Miss Social Media Queen and Miss Fitness

Sue Thang – Miss Beautiful Hair

Cheryl Jo-Anne – Miss Elegance

Olivia Shyan – Miss Photogenic & Miss Popular

Miss Malaysia World 2014, Dewi Liana Seriestha Crowned

Miss Malaysia World 2014, Dewi Liana Seriestha Crowned
Aug 30 0 Comments

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Congratulation to Dewi Liana Seriestha crowned as the newly Miss Malaysia World 2014 at the Grand Final of Miss Malaysia World 2014 in Corus KL Hotel just an hour ago.

Congratulation to Bob Low as 1st runner-up, Cassandra Devi Jeremiah (Cassie) as 2nd runner-up, Dhivya Dhyana as 3rd Runner-up and Olivia Shyan as 4th runner-up.

Congratulation to all winners and finalists.

Photo credit to Cyrus Loh (Official Event Photographer)

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