Miss Philippines is 1st runner-up in Miss World in London

LONDON—A human resources graduate from Venezuela, who grew up an orphan and spent five years in an orphanage, was crowned Miss World 2011 at a glittering beauty pageant in London on Sunday.

Ivian Sarcos, 21, took the ultimate beauty accolade at Earls Court in London, the city where the first Miss World was staged in 1951. Miss Philippines, French-Filipina Gwendoline Ruais, a buxom six-footer from Muntinlupa City, was named the first runner-up, or second place.

Ruais tied for the highest finish for the Philippines in the Miss World pageant, which the pageant-crazy nation has never won. Evangeline Pascual was also first runner-up in 1973.

Miss World is considered a British Commonwealth rival to the US-organized Miss Universe pageant. Shamcey Supsup was third runner-up in the Miss Universe pageant in July.

Nervous

In an interview, Ruais said she was nervous, but she chose to focus on herself and her country.

"Syempre po, I'm competing against 112 gorgeous girls from all around the world, so mahirap po 'yan. Pero, 'yan lang, nag-focus ako sa sarili ko. Hindi ko po iniisip 'yung ibang kandidata. Ako lang po and 'yung buong country ko po, 'yung Pilipinas," Ruais said in a telephone interview aired on GMA News TV's "News to Go" on Monday morning [Manila time].

"You never know what will happen, so hindi ko talaga iniisip kung anong mangyayari. Inisip ko lang na I should do my best talaga to make the Philippines proud. 'Yun lang po ang nasa isip ko," she said.

Ruais' return to the Philippines is not yet scheduled, but she hopes she has made her country proud.

"Sana lahat po kayo proud sa akin. Ginawa ko talaga 'yung best ko para sa buong Pilipinas. Sana happy po kayo," she said.

'Woman of responsibility and reason'

Wearing a pink dress with diamante studs that had giant frills slashed below the waist, the 22-year-old Ivian Sarcos threw her hands to her face as she was announced the winner.

"I believe that the next Miss World should be a woman of responsibility and reason," Sarcos said before winning the title.

"I believe the woman should be committed to the organization and help people in need. Beauty with a heart," added the Venezuelan, who works for a broadcasting company. She and her seven siblings lost their parents when she was eight years old.

Miss Philippines, Gwendoline Ruais, was named the runner-up, while Miss Puerto Rico, Amanda Perez, came third in the contest, which was back in its home city to celebrate its 60th anniversary.

Some 113 beauty queens from Albania to Zimbabwe took their place on the stage, with the show being broadcast live to an estimated audience of more than one billion viewers in 150 countries.

'Being a woman is not a competition'

Around 50 feminists staged a demonstration outside, waving placards reading "Objectification won't achieve world peace", "Being a woman is not a competition" and "Sexism is pretty ugly".

Around a half dozen were veterans of the 1970 pageant protest, which caused a major disturbance.

Inside the Earls Court Two auditorium in west London, the few thousand fans cheered, waved national flags and shouted for their favorites.

To whittle them down to the 15 semi-finalists, several point-scoring rounds were held during the contestants' tour of Britain over the previous two weeks, with the results revealed on stage.

Miss Venezuela topped the interview round; Miss Dominican Republic, Marianly Tejada Burgos, was named the general sports champion; home favorite Miss England, Alize Lily Mounter, won the beach beauty title, while Miss Kazakhstan, Zhanna Zhumaliyeva, was named top model.

The crowd were played clips from the talent round — where performers sang, danced and gave piano recitals — won by Miss Chile, Gabriela Paz Pulgar Luco.

Miss Ghana, Stephanie Adwoa Agyeiwaa Karikari, and Miss Indonesia, Astrid Ellena Indriana Yunadi, were the joint winners of the beauty with a purpose category, where contestants can highlight a charity project.

With the scores in and only the top 15 going through to the semi-final, Miss Puerto Rico topped the leader board, ahead of Miss Venezuela, Miss Philippines, Miss Ukraine and Miss Scotland.

The final seven, chosen by the judges, were Miss England, Miss Korea, Miss Philippines, Miss Puerto Rico, Miss Scotland, Miss South Africa and Miss Venezuela.

It was announced that Ordos in Inner Mongolia, China, will host the 2012 competition. 

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