MISS South Africa, 22-year-old Rolene Strauss, was crowned Miss World 2014 at the contest’s glitzy final in London on Sunday, with an estimated billion viewers watching on television around the globe.
Miss Hungary, Edina Kulcsar, was judged the runner-up and Miss United States, Elizabeth Safrit, came third in the 64th annual competition, contested by women from 121 countries.
Medical student Strauss clasped her hands together in surprise and was crowned by the outgoing Miss World, Megan Young of the Philippines, to huge cheers in the ExCeL exhibition centre.
“South Africa this is for you,” Strauss said. “I think I will brace myself for what’s about to happen. It’s a huge responsibility.”
She told AFP she wanted to help spread education in her homeland and thereby help other people realise their dreams.
“I am what I am today because of the opportunities I have received and I would love to give others the same opportunities; educating, the opportunity to be educated, to make healthy choices and also to live their dreams,” Strauss said.
And she was already getting used to the glittering crown.
“I’ll definitely keep it on as long as I can but my parents are staying around here so they’ll be hugging me and I’m afraid that it might fall off,” she said.
Passing on the crown … Rolene with outgoing Miss World, Megan Young of the Philippines