Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mid-East Pageantry: Part II

In the past, beauty pageants in the Middle East highlighted the diversity of a region steeped in history and culture. From Top Left: Georgina Rizk, a Lebanese-Christian made history as the first Arab woman to be crowned Miss Universe in 1971; In 1947 Renee Dangoor, who came from Iraq’s once thriving Jewish community, was crowned Miss Baghdad. In 1946 Renee married Naim Dangoor. Today Dangoor lives in London where she is heavily involved with various charities; Rima Fakih knew she had won the Miss USA title after pageant owner Donald Trump gave her his "Apprentice" smirk. "That's the same look that he gives them when he says, 'You're hired,' she recalled.

Similar to the United States, immigrants also played a role in shaping nations in the Middle East. Iolanda Cristina Gigliotti (later known as Dalida) was born and raised in Cairo. The daughter of Italian immigrants, she was crowned Miss Egypt in 1954. Dalida would go on to become an accomplished multi-lingual singer and actress; Georgina Rizk at the 1971 Miss Universe pageant in Miami Beach, Florida, pictured next to Miss Brazil runner up and in oriental costume. Rizk married renowned Lebanese singer Walid Toufic and is a frequent judge at Miss Lebanon competitions.

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