The History of Miss World Pageant (2024)


Miss World pageant is one of the oldest and most prestigious international beauty pageants, with a rich history that spans over seven decades. It was created in 1951 by Eric Morley, a British businessman and entertainment promoter, who wanted to showcase the beauty and diversity of women from different countries. Since his death in 2000, his widow, Julia Morley, has co-chaired the pageant and continued his legacy.

The Beginning

The first Miss World competition took place on July 29, 1951, at the Lyceum Ballroom in London, as part of the Festival of Britain celebrations. It was originally called the Festival Bikini Contest, and featured 26 contestants wearing bikinis, which were still considered scandalous at the time. The winner was Kiki Haakonson from Sweden, who became the first and only Miss World to be crowned in a bikini. The press really liked the event, so they started calling it “Miss World”. Morley thought it was a great idea, so he decided to hold the event every year with that name.

The Growth

In the following years, the Miss World pageant grew in popularity and prestige, attracting more contestants and viewers from around the world. It also faced some challenges and controversies, such as protests from feminist groups, political tensions, and cultural clashes. In 1970, some women’s rights protesters caused chaos during the pageant by throwing flour bombs, stink bombs, and water pistols onto the stage. In the same year, South Africa sent two contestants, one black and one white, amid the apartheid regime.

In 1976, the swimsuit competition was replaced by evening gown for the crowning, to appease the religious objections. In 1980, the pageant was held in London instead of South Korea, due to the threat of war with North Korea. In 2002, the pageant was moved from Nigeria to London, after riots broke out over a newspaper article that suggested that the Prophet Muhammad would have married one of the contestants.

The Evolution

Over the years, the Miss World pageant has evolved to reflect the changing times and values of society. It has introduced new segments and criteria, such as talent, interview, sports, social media, and “Beauty with a Purpose”, which showcases the contestants’ commitment to social causes and humanitarian work. It has also traveled to various countries, such as China, Indonesia, South Africa, and India, to celebrate the diversity and culture of the host nations. The pageant has also produced many successful and influential women, such as Priyanka Chopra, Aishwarya Rai, Halle Berry, and Megan Young, who have gone on to pursue careers in entertainment, business, politics, and philanthropy.

Over the years, Miss World has undergone several changes in its format, criteria, and segments. Initially, the pageant focused on the physical appearance of the contestants, who competed in categories such as evening gown and swimsuit. However, the pageant faced criticism and protests from feminist groups, religious groups, and political groups, who challenged the objectification and exploitation of women.

In response, Miss World introduced new segments that aimed to showcase the contestants’ talents, intelligence, personality, and social awareness. Some of these segments include:

  • Talent: The contestants perform a skill or talent of their choice, such as singing, dancing, playing an instrument, or reciting a poem.
  • Interview: The contestants answer questions from the judges or the host, on topics such as current affairs, personal opinions, or their “Beauty with a Purpose” project.
  • Beauty with a Purpose: The contestants present a project that demonstrates their commitment to a social cause or a charitable organization. This segment is considered the most important and influential part of the pageant, as it reflects the motto of Miss World: “Beauty with a Purpose”.
  • Sports: The contestants participate in a series of physical activities, such as running, swimming, or obstacle courses, to test their fitness and endurance.
  • Social Media: The contestants interact with the public through various social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, to gain popularity and support.

Miss World has also removed or modified some segments that were deemed outdated or inappropriate, such as the swimsuit competition, which was replaced by a beachwear or a resort wear competition, or later by an evening gown competition.

Miss World Pageant Today

Today, Miss World is one of the most watched and respected beauty pageants in the world, with millions of viewers and fans across the globe. The pageant is organized by Julia Morley, the widow of Eric Morley, who co-chairs the Miss World Organization. The pageant is also supported by various sponsors, partners, and media outlets, who help to promote and broadcast the event.

Miss World is more than just a beauty contest. It is a platform for women to showcase their talents, express their opinions, and make a difference in the world. Miss World is also a network of ambassadors, who represent their countries and cultures, and work together to support various causes and initiatives. Some of the causes that Miss World has supported include:

  • Children’s welfare and education
  • Women’s empowerment and rights
  • Environmental protection and conservation
  • Health and wellness
  • Peace and harmony

The current Miss World is Karolina Bielawska from Poland, who was crowned on March 16, 2022, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She is the 70th Miss World, and the second from her country. She will reign until the next Miss World pageant, which will take place on March 9, 2024, in Mumbai, India.

The Future

The Miss World pageant is still going strong, with the 71st edition scheduled to take place on March 9, 2024, in Mumbai, India. The current Miss World is Karolina Bielawska from Poland, who was crowned on March 16, 2022, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She will pass on her crown to her successor, who will represent the beauty, intelligence, and compassion of women from all over the world. The Miss World pageant is more than just a beauty contest, it is a platform for women to make a positive difference in the world.


Miss World is a historic and iconic beauty pageant, that has evolved and adapted to the changing times and expectations of society. It is a celebration of beauty, diversity, and humanity, that inspires and empowers women to achieve their dreams and goals. Miss World is not just a title, but a responsibility, a privilege, and a honor.

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