Miss World: A Final Preview

The finale of the Miss World pageant will be broadcast tomorrow night, live from Johannesburg, South Africa. An international television audience of 2 billion–one third of the people on earth–is expected. That’s about twenty times a typical Super Bowl audience.
The strong betting favorite remains Puerto Rico’s Jennifer Colon, at odds varying from 2:1 to 1:1. She is, obviously, a strong candidate:
But those odds are way too short. There are lots of upsets in the world of beauty pageantry, and we’ll probably see one tomorrow night. As we noted here, Miss Barbados is generating a lot of publicity and is among the betting favorites. Earlier today, she was named one of the three “Beauty With A Purpose” finalists. This photo is from her Facebook page:
So far, we haven’t mentioned Miss USA, Lisa-Marie Kohrs. If only for patriotic reasons, we should. She is a good candidate and currently is ranked 15th in the betting odds:
There are lots more strong contestants; I’ll just mention one more, Miss Northern Ireland:
You can learn more about the contestants at the official Miss World site, which suffers from mediocre photography, and at sites like Missology and Global Beauties. Years ago I had a friend, a young lawyer in my office at that time, who was a pageant veteran, as was her sister, who won a major title. Together, they wrote the first “how to” guide for beauty pageant contestants. My friend, who was and remains a solid conservative, enjoyed the extent to which her status as a former beauty pageant contestant scandalized her liberal colleagues. I, too, enjoy the politically incorrect aspect of pageantry. Mostly, though, I admire the young women from around the world, usually smart and ambitious, who take this highly competitive route to, perhaps, fame and fortune.
A final note: we have it on good authority (like, from Bill) that Bill Bennett enjoys our pageant coverage. So Bill will no doubt be proud to learn that Miss Minnesota in the Miss America pageant, who attended the same middle and high schools as my kids, visited my youngest daughter’s middle school a week or two ago. She passed out a card with a photo that was created by the Miss Minnesota organization; on the back was a quote from–Bill Bennett!

The arts are an essential element of education, just like reading, writing, and arithmetic….music, dance, painting and theater are all keys that unlock profound human understanding and accomplishment.
–William Bennett, former U.S. Secretary of Education

So, Bill, the admiration is mutual!
UPDATE: In response to a reader’s request, Miss Minnesota: