Blonde, blue-eyed 18-year-old teenager Miss USA Alexandria Mills was crowned the 60th Miss World 2010 on Saturday evening, defeating more than 100 other hopefuls at a glittering ceremony held at the 2,000-capacity Beauty Crown Theatre in the resort city of Sanya on Hainan Island in southern China.
The 1.75-metre (5’9″) Mills, a professional model listed with the Elite Models agency, looked stunning in her snow white gown with some delicate sequins stitched beautifully which fitted her to a perfect ‘T’. She wowed the crowd and the judges with her winning smile and her confident and witty answers.
Mills, dressed in a crisp white evening gown, was crowned by Kaiane Aldorino of Gibraltar, the title holder of 2009.
Miss Botswana Emma Wareus, dressed in a yellow gown, was named the first runner-up while Miss Venezuela Adriana Vasini was placed third in the pageant.
The pageant kicked off with a performance by dancers and drummers from China’s Li ethnic minority group, who mainly live on Hainan island, which was hosting the event for the fifth time in eight years.
Before the contestants whirled in national costumes for the “Dances of the World” segment, viewers were treated to a video montage of the women’s whirlwind tour of China — from the Great Wall to the shopping malls.
This was followed by the introduction of the contestants from around the globe. The contestants set the stage on fire with an aptly titled act “Dances of the World”.
The glittering evening saw an opera performance, melodious symphony of saxophone and group performances by the contestants.
The jury included former Miss World winners Denise Perrier Lanfranchi (1953), Ann Sidney (1964), Mary Stävin (1977), Agbani Darego (2001) and Maria Julia Mantilla (2004).
During the two-hour competition, which annually draws a global television audience of about one billion, Mills said her month spent touring China with the other 114 Miss World hopefuls had made a “big impact” on her life.
Early favorite Mariann Birkedal of Norway, listed by British bookmaker William Hill as the woman to beat ahead of Mills, finished in the top seven.
A win for Norway could have caused a stir in Beijing, where the government is furious that the Oslo-based Nobel committee awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
The outgoing Miss World Kaiane Aldorino, 24, said she had enjoyed her year as Miss World, saying that in all the countries she had visited, one thing had remained the same: “The smile on a child’s face, and that’s what has captured the moment”.
The competition emphasises the importance of charity work.
Miss Kenya Natasha Metto, who has worked on combatting an epidemic of parasitic Jigger fleas in her country — earned a “fast-track” spot in the final group of 25, but was then eliminated. She was awarded the Miss Beauty With A Purpose.
Ireland’s violin-playing Emma Britt Waldron, who won Miss World Talent subsidiary title and finished in the top five, wowed the audience by greeting them in Chinese, while Miss China, Xiao Tang, spoke mostly in English.
Other subsidiary titles were awarded to the followings:
Miss Puerto Rico Yara Lasanta is Miss World Beach Beauty held at Mandarin Oriental, Sanya on October 19, 2010.
Miss Northern Ireland Lori Moore is Miss World Sports held at Sheraton Sanya Resort on October 22, 2010.
Miss French Polynesia Mihilani Teixeira became Miss World Dress Designer held on October 23, 2010.
Miss Norway Mariann Birkedal became Miss World Top Model held at Crowne Plaza Sanya on October 23, 2010.
Miss India Manasvi Mamgai, who was amongst the top contenders, failed to make the top 20. Dressed in traditional Indian attire, she was astounding when she danced to the classical number ‘Dhai shyam rok lai’ from the 2002 film ‘Devdas’ in the ‘Dance of the World’ round, winning her great reviews.
The event rivals the Miss Universe pageant owned by US tycoon Donald Trump, which was won by Mexico’s Jimena Navarrete in August.
In 1951, Sweden’s Kiki Hakansson became the first Miss World. Oscar-winning American actress Halle Berry was a finalist in 1986.
Venezuela and India have produced the most Miss Worlds, with five titleholders each. Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai took the crown in 1994.
Enjoy the following YouTube video featuring the 2010 Miss World Alexandria Mills: