As the Miss World 2013 contestants prepare for the grand finale to be held in Bali on 28 September, several controversies continue to linger around the pageant.
Controversies have been hovering over the 63rd edition of Miss World contest ever since the pageant began in Indonesia early September. There are controversies pertaining to host city, the beach beauty contest and two of the Miss World contestants – Miss Philippines and Miss Uzbekistan.
The Miss World Final had been earlier scheduled to take place in Sentul, on the outskirts of Indonesia's capital, Jakarta.
But protests by the hardliner Muslims of Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, led to a last moment shift of venue for the pageant's finale, confining the contestants and the month-long events of the pageant to Bali, which is the only Hindu dominated province of the country.
The protests eventually affected contestants' travel plans also as they had to cancel their scheduled trip to Jakarta.
Even away from the hardliners, who have called Miss World pageant an offence to Islam, the effect of protests was quite palpable on the beauty pageant as Miss World Organisation brought a major change in one of its most anticipated contests – the Beach Fashion round.
Miss World contestants, for the first time in the history of the pageant, competed in the beach beauty round without wearing a bikini. Instead, they wore traditional Balinese sarongs and blouse. The reason for the same was never disclosed while officials emphasized that "Miss World is not only about the physical beauty of the contestants, but also the values of the culture."
Miss Uzbekistan and Miss Philippines' controversies
Before the pageant could let the dust settle, Miss Uzbekistan Rakhima Ganieva's participation came under scrutiny. During an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Uzbekistan's Culture and Sports Ministry and the national committee on women called Ganieva, 18, an imposter and said that no such contest as Miss Uzbekistan happened in the country.
The most recent contestant to join the controversies is Miss Philippines, Megan Young. Having made to the top ten of two contests – Beach fashion and Top Model – at the Miss World 2013 pageant, Young is one of the top contenders predicted to win the coveted Miss World crown during the finale.
However, topless photos of Megan Young, an early favourite among pageant's fans, that appeared in the March 2012 issue of Rogue Magazine have surfaced and drawn ire from the fans.
"Rules are rules when it comes to the Miss World beauty contest it seems that contestants' taking their clothes off is a clear breach of the laws," a user wrote to IBTimes UK on condition of anonymity.
"A beauty queen is somebody that is a good role model inside and out and obviously is a beautiful person. It's not just about exterior beauty; a beauty queen has to have outstanding morals, elegance, femininity and class. And that's what everybody thinks it is. Beauty queens should be seen as role models not sex object."
The user asks: "Will an Indonesian group of religious and feminist launch a protest on Megan Young's naked pictures? How will Miss World Organization and Indonesian government handle this issue?"
Notwithstanding any of these controversies, the Miss World Organisation is readying to host all the 130 contestants on the Miss World 2013 finale. Both Miss Philippines and Miss Uzbekistan remain listed on the pageant's official website.