Monday, 30th September 2013
People’s choice Maroua does Gibraltar proud in Miss World
by Alice Mascarenhas and PA
ABOVE POLITICS Miss Gibraltar Maroua Kharbouch holding hands with Miss Spain Elena Ibarbian Jimenez as they wait with the four other finalists for the announcement of the top three. Miss Philippines Megan Young was crowned Miss World on Saturday. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
Miss Gibraltar Maroua Kharbouch was a finalist at Miss World 2013 on Saturday reaching the top six and winning the people’s choice award. The final public votes were cast moments before the end of the grand final when she was named the peoples champion and joined the other finalists centre stage: Miss Philippines who would eventually be crowned Miss World amid tight security on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali, Miss France, Miss Ghana, Miss Brazil and Miss Spain.
Just four years since Gibraltar first held the Miss World crown with Kaiane Aldorino Miss World 2009, Maroua Kharbouch, once again made history by being one of the finalists of the pageant in the top six. Standing and holding hands on stage next to Miss Spain, Elena Ibarbian Jimenez, Miss Gibraltar, who admitted she was still in shock and had “not seen it coming”, held her breath with eyes closed. It was this image which has captured the imagination of many on the social media sites taking into account the growing tension in the past weeks between Gibraltar and Spain and a day after strong condemnation of a distasteful anti-Gibraltar video posted on YouTube.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo speaking at the Gibraltar Government reception last night at the Conservative Party Conference in UK, gave mention of these two young ladies being an example to the whole world.
Miss Gibraltar, he proudly stated, was the contestant the people of the world loved the most, “She could not have made Gibraltar prouder than when she spoke of kindness being the words deaf people hear and the actions blind people see’. And when the top prizes were being announced, she and Miss Spain held hands in anticipation in front of a global audience.”
Mr Picardo emphasised how in that one image they represented “certainly worth a thousand words, the reality of the symbiotic relationship between the people of Gibraltar and the Spanish people of La Linea and the towns around us. Friendship. Respect. Understanding.”
The Chief Minister had been
amongst the first to congratulate Miss Gibraltar on Saturday on Twitter.
“We could not be prouder of you! You really are an excellent Ambassador for Gibraltar on the World stage!”
Moments later he tweeted: “Moving to see Miss Gibraltar and Miss Spain holding hands on the world stage! Beauty with a purpose!”
Wearing a stunning gold laced dress, Maroua Kharbouch, took to the stage with a gleaming smile looking both elegant and stylish. Having been told moments before she was about to change for the traditional dress section, she said, “they called me aside and I was given the news and I am extremely excited. I just want to thank everybody that voted for me thank you very much.”
Following her short video presentation in which she paid tribute to her parents for being her biggest influence and teaching her “to be respectful, kind and humble, which is why I am the way I am” she was asked to say a few words before the judges made the final decision.
Maroua told the world: “I want to be Miss World for all the right reasons and to genuinely help people in need.”
Eloquently she added: “I don’t want to be Miss world to get my hair done or feel glamorous because those things aren’t what help the disadvantaged, those things aren’t the things that change peoples lives, stuff like beauty from within and kindness are what change people’s lives and I truly believe that kindness is the language that he deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
Maroua will be returning to Gibraltar later this morning.
Minister for Culture Steven Linares congratulated Miss Gibraltar 2013 on her achievement.
“Maroua has done us proud with a beautiful speech so wonderfully delivered.”
The Minister also thanked all those persons in Gibraltar who voted for her and achieved getting her into the final.
NEW MISS WORLD
Young, who took the crown from Wenxia Yu of China, the 2012 winner, was born in the United States. When she was 10 she moved to the Philippines, where she has appeared in films and as a television host. Miss France, Marine Lorphelin, 20, took second place, while Miss Ghana, Carranzar Naa Okailey Shooter, 22, came in third.
Miss Philippines, Megan Young, was crowned Miss World amid tight security on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali, where the contest’s final round was moved following protests by Muslim hard-liner groups.
“I promise to be the best Miss World ever,” Ms Young, 23, said after winning the 63rd annual event.
Despite threats from the Islamic Defenders Front to disrupt the contest, police said no rallies were staged on Saturday. The group has demonstrated for weeks, calling for the government to cancel the pageant because members say it shows too much skin.
Miss World organisers had earlier agreed to cut bikinis from the swimsuit competition, replacing them with more conservative sarongs. But pressure continued to mount, and more mainstream groups joined in and called for the show to be banned.
Indonesia’s government announced three weeks ago that the final would be moved from the outskirts of the capital, Jakarta, and instead held on the Hindu-dominated resort island of Bali, where earlier rounds were taking place.
The British, Australian and US embassies issued warnings to citizens planning trips to Bali during the competition, saying there could be large-scale protests or even attacks.
Col R Umar Faroq, the director of vital security for Bali provincial police, said thousands of security forces had been deployed to secure the final, adding: “The success in securing the Miss World final will be a benchmark for the police in securing the incoming APEC Summit”, referring to the upcoming Asia-Pacific Cooperation summit on Bali to be attended by world leaders, including President Barack Obama, and thousands of delegates.