Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Or is it? Check out 18 stunning Miss World winners and judge for yourself.
A beauty pageantry is an excellent opportunity to scratch your eyeballs. Yes, perfect women do exist, and most of them had modest early lives before luck struck them. Is your crush the unpolished gems waiting to snatch the crown?
1. Linor Abargil (1998)
Linor Abargil is an exotic beauty that brought the first and ever Miss World title for Israel.
The most remarkable aspect of her 1998 victory in Paris was that she was successful despite being attacked at knifepoint by her travel agent, Uri Shlomo Nur, in Milan.
The beautiful model reported the case, and Israeli authorities were prompt to take action. The man spent 16 years in jail for his crime.
Although traumatic, the experience attracted a lot of attention and eventually influenced the jury’s vote. Forgetting was not Linor’s choice.
After winning Miss World she became an ambassador for anti-violence movements, inspiring, and empowering thousands of women to take action and break the silence.
Linor Abargil is now an actress, model, and even certified lawyer.
2. Yukta Mookhey (1999)
Yukta Mookhey won Miss World in 1999 and brought India’s fourth victory.
That year’s competition returned to the home country of the beauty pageant and took place in London. Yukta emerged victorious from a total of 94 contestants.
The picture might now show Yukta from head to toes, but we will tell you that she is 1.80m tall. This detail highlights that beauty goes hand in hand with height at Miss World.
You might say that a beautiful woman gets everything she wants from life. However, the Indian princess did not have a happy marriage and had to break away from a problematic marriage with a New Work millionaire, Prince Tuli.
Yukta pointed out at domestic violence. The plea mentioned cruelty and harassment. She is a single woman since 2014.
3. Priyanka Chopra (2000)
Priyanka Chopra is by far the most successful woman to ever win Miss World.
Few people expected the crown to stay in India in the 2000 competition. However, the 18-year-old Chopra was just stunning.
While her breakthrough in modeling was evident, few saw more potential. Despite constant flip-flops in the years that followed, she emerged as Bollywood’s most wanted.
If you accept that money is an accurate measure of success, then Chopra is way ahead of all the other beauties on the list. Forbes reported that the Indian model turned actress earned $11 million just from last year’s TV contracts.
Her success took a wider angle once she appeared in ABC’s “Quantico,” so chances are the 36-year-old will make her way to the top even in Hollywood.
4. Agbani Darego (2001)
Agbani Darego’s victory in 2001 brought the first ever Miss World crown on the head of someone of African descent.
Nigeria victory was so acclaimed because India had won four of the last seven competitions. However, Agbani’s slim physique and gracious presence also helped.
Winning Miss World means that you get thousands of generous contracts to choose from. Darego was even more desirable because she was the first Black model to breach the old standards of beauty previously in effect.
Darego graced catwalks and photo shoots by wearing Oscar de la Renta, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, and Gianfranco Ferre. Magazines like Elle, Allure, and Cosmopolitan featured her story, engraving Agbani Darego as a resilient brand in popular culture.
5. Azra Akın (2002)
Born in Netherlands from Turkish parents, Azra won the 2002 edition of Miss World.
As you see in the photo, Azra was thrilled to receive the tiara and the attention of the entire world on her. There was nothing to announce her victory. Before winning the 2012 edition of Miss Turkey, Azra was just your average model.
Although being selected Elite Model of Turkey, this meant close to nothing. Turkey is far from being a liberal equal rights society, and few women dared to put their beauty on display with the same fervor like in the Western world.
Azra did not stay long in the international headlines. We last heard of her when she won the Turkish version of “Dancing With the Stars” in 2004.
6. Rosanna Davison (2003)
What Rosanna Davison did after winning Miss World in 2003 will shock you.
Ireland is not a traditional hotspot regarding beauty. In fact, Rosanna’s victory in Sanya, China was the first and only occasion when the tiara traveled to The Emerald Isle.
Don’t let yourself fooled by the last name. Rosanna Davison is the daughter of singer Chris de Burgh. If you think that would be enough to live a comfortable life, away from the media, you are wrong.
Davison is a vegan, and this gave her another good reason to shed the clothes. You can see her in nude campaigns orchestrated by PETA.
7. María Julia Mantilla (2004)
María Julia Mantilla brought the Miss World title in Peru in 2004.
Although the success made her a big celebrity back at home, María Julia was already in the media attention for entirely different reasons. The high school teacher won National Triathlon and Pentathlon competitions and was declare athlete of the year in 2001.
Beauty runs in the family, and María probably received the right genes from her aunt, the woman that won the 1969 edition of Miss Peru. Like other victors in the beauty pageant, María Julia traveled around the world, promoting good causes.
12 years after her victory, María Julia has many reasons to declare herself happy. The 32-years-old gave birth to a gorgeous daughter in February this year. Chances are she will be Peru’s 2035 finalist.
8. Unnur Birna Vilhjálmsdóttir (2005)
Something went wrong in 2005, as Unnur is not the typical Icelandic blonde beauty you would normally expect.
However, this made her victory even more spectacular. Trying to identify a specific ethnic component on Unnur’s face led many experienced Miss World judges deep into a trap. They spent so much time gazing at those gorgeous eyes that they did not even notice she left home with the tiara.
You will be happy to know that Unnur found genuine happiness in life. A decade after being crowned the world’s most beautiful, she married lifetime boyfriend, Pétur Rúnar Heimisson. The two have three children together.
9. Tatiana Kucharova (2006)
Czech girls are famous for their beauty, and Tatiana Kucharova finally made justice for the ex-communist country by bringing its first ever Miss World title.
Like many before her, Tatiana won Miss World at the tender age of 18. It happens that she finished high school nine months after taking the crown in Warsaw, Poland.
Many doors were open once the hot model from the Czech Republic ended her one-year reign and tour around the world. Her most notable efforts went in the direction of supporting positive aging. Tatiana even attended a conference on the topic at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
Look at her one more time. If you do not like blonde girls, this is one good reason to start a new obsession.
10. Zhang Zilin (2007)
China’s first ever Miss World triumph came in 2007, confirming once more that the bigger the country, the higher the chances of finding extreme beauty.
Zhang Zilin was already a fashion icon by the time she entered the contest and ranked amongst the favorites to win. Runways in fashion capitals like Berlin and Paris were part of the routine for Zhang. She even modeled for Giorgio Armani months ahead of the Miss World hosted in Sanya, China
However, Miss World gave her the final push to reach the billions of fans engaged by one of the most watched beauty pageants. Her victory came just in time for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Zhang supported the effort by acting as an ambassador of the competition.
We are happy to announce that 32-year-old Zhang became mother earlier this year.
11. Ksenia Sukhinova (2008)
More than 1 billion viewers tuned in to see Ksenia Sukhinova win the 2008 Miss World.
Ksenia received the tiara at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. This proved once again that South Africa was a lucky venue for Russian contenders. Back in 1992, Julia Kourotchkina was the first woman from Russia to win the pageant.
Ksenia’s road to victory was not straight. Although winning Miss Russia in 2007, Ksenia was caught with college work and could not attend the Miss World competition. However, she came in 2008 and did not stop until she reached the top.
Like many other stunning women that won the competition over the years, organizers invited Ksenia to become a member of the jury in future editions. She lent a hand in electing the world’s most beautiful in 2011, 2011, and again in 2015.
12. Kaiane Aldorino (2009)
Kaiane Aldorino won Miss World in 2009. While her beauty is beyond doubt, the fact that puzzle is her country of origin.
Kaiane was born and raised in Gibraltar. If your mind is left clueless of the geographic position and status of this country, you are not alone. Millions of fans that watched live the ceremony taking place in Johannesburg had a similar feeling.
Gibraltar lies between Spain and Morocco and is a British Overseas Territory. Although claimed continuously by Spain, the population of 30,000 expressed its attachment to the British Crown.
Given the small size of the country, this can be considered one of the biggest upsets in Miss World history. Kaiane became so popular back home that she was even appointed Deputy Mayor of Gibraltar.
13. Alexandria Mills (2010)
Alexandria Mills was highly emotional when she received the news of winning the 2010 edition of Miss World.
Alexandria was 18 years old by the time she won the prestigious competition. Although promoting the same beauty we saw in the last years, her background was a bit unusual.
Mills did not go to high school like we all did. Instead, the Louisville princess was homeschooled. Interested in landscape photography, Mills is also a vegetarian. Not the kind of girl you would expect to emerge from the Bible Belt.
Good things often come packed, and Alexandria’s boyfriend proposed just days before the competition unfolded in China. The two married two years laters.
14. Ivian Sarcos (2011)
2011 was the year when Venezuela made its way to the top of the chart regarding numbers of Miss World titles.
The South American country is known around the world for its generous output of beautiful women. No one was surprised when the jury announced Ivian Sarcos as the winner.
Ivian’s story is atypical. Because she became an orphan at the age of eight, Ivian found a home in a convent in Cojedes, where nuns raised her.
You might think that a strict Catholic upbringing can last a lifetime. However, the call of the spotlights was too loud to resist. By the time Ivian became Miss World at age 18, she was already an established model in her home country.
15. Yu Wenxia (2012)
China’s second Miss World title came shortly after the 2007 breakthrough. Yu Wenxia shifted the pole of beauty in 2012 back to the most populous country.
Yu Wenxia declared from the beginning that she was a big fan of Zhang Zilin and that her victory inspired her to pursue a career in modeling.
Having role models is indeed important, but not essential. With a population of 1.35 billion in 2012, China is a spring of beauties just waiting to conquer the world.
Yu Wenxia delighted the home crowd. As an interesting fact, the 2012 edition took place in a rather unusual venue. Many saw Ordos, Inner Mongolia as having little in common with the coordinates of a beauty contest.
16. Megan Young (2013)
Don’t let yourself fooled by the name. Megan Young competed for the Philippines and brought home the country’s first-ever Miss World title.
A mix ancestry made Megan an exotic presence at the 2013 pageantry that took place in Bali, Indonesia. With an American father and a Filipino mother, Megan received enough right genes to raise the eyebrows that matter.
Young was a local TV personality well before she won Miss World. With a career in acting going back to 2007, Young first hit the lights in the “StarStruck” reality search.
Soap operas occupy an important chapter of Young’s life. Can you imagine a Filipino adaptation of Mexican telenovela Marimar? We certainly cannot.
17. Rolene Strauss (2014)
Rolene Strauss brought in the third victory for South Africa when the pageantry returned to Sanya, China for its 64th edition.
Strange rules govern the world of beauty. We only showed you winners of Miss World. However, another parallel competition runs under the name of Miss Universe. Contrary to what you might expect from the name, Martian women do not compete there.
Winning Miss South Africa traditionally books you tickets at both Miss World and Miss Universe. However, because Rolene won Miss World in December 2014, she was denied access to the rival competition that took place next January.
Rolene also had the incredible privilege of being proposed just days ahead of the contest. It seems that such acts boost morale and improve the odds of winning.
18. Mireia Lalaguna (2015)
Mireia Lalaguna won the 2015 Miss World and currently reigns as the most beautiful woman. We won’t argue with that. She is indeed perfect in any aspect.
The jury made justice in December 2015. Can you believe the fact that Spain endured a prolonged drought regarding beauty titles? Mireia joined Amparo Muñoz, Miss Universe 1974, as the country’s only laureates.
Few people know that Mireia cheated a bit to get the crown. In her presentation video, the adorable Catalan claimed to know how to play the piano. However, it turned out to be a lie.
Winning Miss World did not stay in the way of obtaining a degree in pharmacy. As the motto of the competition says “beauty with a purpose.”