New Delhi: Miss Russia Kseniya Sukhinova has been crowned Miss World 2008 at a glittering ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Miss India Parvathy Omanakuttan finished as the first runner up and Miss Trinidad and Tobago Gabrielle Walcott was the second runner-up.
"Miss World 2008 is Russia," announced Julia Morley, head of the Miss World committee that organises the event.
Sukhinova was crowned after a two-hour spectacle in Johannesburg on Saturday that combined elements of travelogue and reality show, and the kind of flag-waving usually seen at sports events. She beamed as she was crowned.
Sukhinova also had won the contest's top model award and was third in the swimsuit competition. She was a crowd favorite — though not as popular as hometown beauty Miss South Africa, Tansey Coetzee. Coetzee made the final five.
Among the other five finalists were Ms South Africa Tansey Coetzee and Ms Angola Brigite Santos.
The final round was being held in Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg and the country was said to be expecting one billion-strong TV audience for the event aired on Zee Cafe.
Names of the semi finalists:
- Miss Russia Kseniya Sukhinova
- Miss Mexico Ana Gabriela Espinoza Marroquin
- Miss Iceland Alexandra Helga Ivarsdottir
- Miss Barbados Natalie, Olivia Griffith
- Miss Venezuela Hannely Zulami Quintero Ledezma
- Miss Ukraine Iryna Zhuravska
- Miss Croatia Josipa Kusic
- Miss Brazil Tamara Almeida Silva
- Miss Angola Brigite Santos
- Miss Kazakhstan Alfina Nassyrova
- Miss Puerto Rico Ivonne Orsini Lopex
- Miss Spain Patricia Yurena Rodriguez Alonjo
- Miss South Africa Tansey Coetzee
Parvathy's crucial answer
Parvathy impressed the jury with her looks and quick wit and was one the five finalists out of the 109 contestants at the Sandton Convention Center.
Exuding charm in her white gown, Parvathy cat-walked confidently on the stage to answer her question in the final round. She was asked what being in South Africa meant for her. To this she compared the "similarity in the cultures" of India and South Africa and thanked the locals for their hospitality. She also compared legends Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi and how inextricably linked the two countries' fates have been.
Earlier, a collective cheer went up in the audience when Paravathy’s name was announced at the end of a 15-name long list of semi finalists.
Other semi-finalists included Ms Trinidad and Tobago, Ms US, Ms Guatemala, Ms Venezuela, Ms Ukraine, Ms Croatia, Ms Brazil, Ms Angola, Ms Kazakhstan, Ms Puerto Rico, Ms Spain, Ms Russia and Ms South Africa.
Who is Parvathy?
Twenty-one-year-old Parvathy stands tall at 5 feet 9 inches and hails from Kerala. India had high hopes on her to win the crown that last came to the country in 2000.
Two days before the final round, she appeared sure of her victory and said she was confident of carrying forward the legacy of India’s glamour queens Reita Faria (1966), Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan (1994), Priyanka Chopra (2000), Diana Hayden (1997) and Yukta Mookhey (1999).
"I am very much confident about my victory. Femina Miss India World is not merely a crown of joy for me. With the crown, the responsibility of upholding the name of the country has also fallen on my shoulders," she said in a statement.
Asked on December 11, about her preparations for the pageant, Parvathy said, "Preparations have started ever since I won the Femina Miss India contest in April this year. Apart from just concentrating on my appearance, I am trying to be a stronger person to face the contest." "I'll try my level best to make every Indian all over the world proud," Parvathy said.
Born on July 23, this Cancerian charmer's "never say die" attitude has helped her conquer one beauty pageant after another- be it the Navy Queen contest held in connection with the annual Navy Ball or Femina Miss India, South held in Hyderabad last year.