Miss World 1998
- an amalgam
of news reports -
Miss Israel, an 18-year-old student who is expected to report for military
duty in her country early next year, won the 1998 Miss World contest.
Linor Abargil is due to begin 20 months of Israeli military service in April
1999. But her father, Jackie Abargil, said he hopes the army will postpone
her induction so she can fulfill her yearlong beauty pageant duties.
After she was crowned, Abargil - who said she wants to be a lawyer after
finishing her studies - smiled and waved at the cheering crowd. She will
get the top prize of $100,000.
Miss France, 23-year-old language student Veronique Caloc, was RU.
Miss Malaysia, Pick Lim Lina Teoh, a 22-year-old actress and model, was
For the second straight year, the contest was held in the Seychelles, a
group of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean.
Among the judges were Formula 1 racing driver Jacques Villeneuve; outgoing
Miss World, India’s Diana Hayden; model Christelle de St. Augustin; and
Pilin Leon, Venezuela’s 1981 Miss World.
Controversy came to the contest this year with Croatia’s entry, Lejla
Sehovic, a business administration student stripped of her title by her
country’s Miss World franchise because she is a Muslim. Muslims are a
minority among Croatia’s 4.7 million people.
Judges voted a second time and awarded the crown to a Roman Catholic, Ivana
But protests were so great, the crown was returned to Sehovic, with the
proviso that Petkovic would represent Croatia next year.
After 48 years, the beauty contest created by former British serviceman Eric
Morley to liven up drab, postwar England, underwent a face lift for this
year’s contest, televised in 130 countries.
British production company did away with the high heels and swimsuit parade
before the judges. Instead the women paraded in different sets of clothes,
from a casual look to smart party dresses. Instead of talking about
themselves, they talked about friends and future careers.
The company also made sure that the contestants were environmentally
friendly, planting trees and taking part in a ceremonial return of hawksbill
turtle shells to the sea.
The audience, seated in a lagoon beach, watched prerecorded film of the
contestants, divided into groups of 11, swim, play volleyball, or practice
recent years, the contest has been criticized by some for demeaning women.
Two years ago, groups in India demonstrated against the pageant in
Bangalore, forcing Morley and his wife, Julia, to move the swimsuit
competition to Seychelles, an Indian Ocean archipelago.