Monday, Nov. 02, 1953

Global Decision

Fifteen pretty girls brought their carefully catalogued charms and mountains of luggage to London last week and, in a polyglot babel of perfumed chatter, settled into a once-quiet, family-type hotel just off the Strand. One of them was destined to become Miss World of 1953.

To protect her figure, Miss Greece would eat nothing but oranges, spent a good part of the week sitting in her hotel room amid piles of peelings and half-eaten fruit. She sent down word that she had a cold, then every few minutes picked up the telephone to report to the switchboard, "I am very nearly better." Miss Norway repeatedly tried to sneak out of her hotel to have dates—a direct violation of the contest rules—but was foiled each time by guards stationed in the lobby. She stamped her sharp heels and railed against being treated like a schoolgirl. Miss U.S.A. was actually Miss Runner-Up U.S.A., the real Miss U.S.A. being in another corner of the planet on business connected with a contest for Miss Universe of 1953. Miss Ceylon discomfited the contest director by proving, on arrival, to be Mrs. Ceylon. The director wouldn't even let Mr. Ceylon into the hotel. "If I broke the rule in her case," he explained, "I'd have to break the rule for all."

"Nothing Here." But all these were minor troubles when arrayed alongside those contributed by Miss Egypt, a sultry Greek-Egyptian brunette of 20 who can speak insults in five languages. After one night in the same hotel room with Miss Egypt, Miss Denmark ran screaming into the hall and demanded a new roommate; since no one else would move in with Miss Egypt, Miss Egypt finally got a room to herself. At a big luncheon with the press and photographers, 14 of the girls came demurely clad in simple dresses or suits. Miss Egypt came in a low-cut gown which, as she rose to leave after lunch, fell off her shoulders altogether. When the others wore the prescribed one-piece bathing suits, Miss Egypt appeared in a Bikini that must have been assembled under a microscope. "These other girls," she explained to the press, with a slap at her hips, "have nothing here."

At one point, Miss Egypt chanced to see an official contest card on which someone had remarked of her bosom: "Very good—for an Egyptian." In patriotic wrath, belittled Egypt locked herself in her room. Seconds later, a bellboy dashed through the hall and shouted, "Now she wants a tape measure!"

Star of the Evening. On the night of the big contest in a jampacked, smoke-filled ballroom in the West End, Miss Egypt fainted at a strategic moment in the proceedings. After being revived, she refused to wear an evening gown, appeared instead in a knit skirt and blouse. But though she was the center of attention, she was not the star of the evening. The title of Miss World, and a $1,400 prize, went to Miss France. Miss Egypt finished third, after Miss Greece. "Phooey!" cried Miss Egypt. "The decision is wrong. You should see Miss France in the morning. She has no elegance. Only in a swimming pool is she O.K."