The Miss Arab world competition ended on 23 December in a ceremony in Giza, supported by the Ministry of Tourism. Nadeen Fahd of Syria was crowned Miss Arab World; a title she had to compete over with 21 other contestants from Arab countries.
The ceremony was attended by such patrons of Egyptian beauty as Fifi Abdu, Esam Karika and a strange sea creature whom we later identified as actress Ghada Ibrahim, who wore her famous dark mauve “handmade” dress to the Cairo International Film Festival to support happenings in Tahrir.
There are those who were in doubt that the Arab world could host this event in light of the Arab Spring but they were proven wrong; the contest took a leaf out of Ghada Ibrahim’s book and revolutionary fervour was in full spirits, as the event was pushed back to make room for the referendum on the Egyptian constitution.
Beauty, of course, is subjective; a point some of the contestants never ceased to remind us of and forced audiences to make a genuine effort to accept the true diversity of the Arab world’s beauty. Some countries, like Iraq and Egypt, had more than one contestant but it was Syria that ultimately took the home crown.
None could best the strained and slightly frightening smile of Fahd, who won the crown and cemented her position as queen of the Arab world with a peace sign, directed towards the jury, letting them know that she was merely smiling and not about to attack.
Not only does Miss Arab World have to be devastating in her looks, but the contestants undergo strict oral and written exams, overseen by a committee of “distinguished” Arab women, to make sure they are fit to participate. The motto of the contest was “for the sake of culture and modesty,” clearly exemplified in the distinguished guests that included Karika and Abdu.
Some of the Arab ambassadors were in attendance, as well as businessmen, artists, designers, and actors. Some of the guests were given awards and certificates from the Ministry of Tourism, who sponsored and supported the event with the cooperation of Media Motion and numerous other media outlets and companies.
The official website of the competition featured even more pictures of the contestants, all of whom it said were college students, and made sure to inform us that the idea for Miss Arab World was owned by the founder, Hanan Nasr and could not be replicated. We agree, it should not.