Beauties on parade: More than 100 of the planet's most stunning women take to the stage in final of Miss World 2014 - and Miss South Africa takes home the crown 

  • Miss World final took place at ExCel centre in East London
  • Miss South Africa, Rolene Strauss, won
  • First runner up was Miss Hungary, Edina Kulcsar, and second runner up was Miss United States, Elizabeth Safrit
  • 120 international contestants took part in 64th competition
  • Winner crowned by last year's Miss World, Megan Young of the Philippines
  • Competition was founded in 1950 with just 26 entrants  

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Beauty queens descended on London this weekend to be put through their paces at the Miss World final - returning to the city where it all started 63 years ago.

The coveted crown was taken home by Miss South Africa, Rolene Strauss. She was presented the glittering accolade by last year's winner, Megan Young of the Philippines.

The 22-year-old, who is studying medicine at the University of the Free State, proved that she is both beauty and brains. Her first runner up was Miss Hungary, Edina Kulcsar, and second runner up was Miss United States, Elizabeth Safrit.

The show, which is being broadcast to millions of viewers across the globe, featured 120 international contestants each deemed to be not only the most beautiful in their home countries, but the best example of what it means to be a modern woman.

This year's crop, far from being the stereotypical dumb beauty queens, are both pretty and polished, with the majority holding a university degree, as well as juggling a vast array of interests, hobbies and charity work.

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We have a winner! Miss South Africa, Rolene Strauss, a 22-year-old medical student, took home the coveted Miss World 2014 crown today in London

Grand finale: Miss Hungary, Edina Kulcsar, Miss South Africa, Rolene Strauss, who won, and Miss United States, Elizabeth Safrit, were the top three in the glitzy competition 

Flying the flag for the UK was England's Carina Tyrrell. She is among the most intelligent of this year's crop, thanks to a first-class brain that has earned her First Class honours in her pre-clinical medical studies degree from Cambridge University.

The 24-year-old medical student, who will now begin clinical training, is also the president of the Cambridge University Global Health Society, which works to increase awareness of health issues around the world, as well as working with those less fortunate in the UK.

But her academic achievements are just one string to this multi-talented beauty's bow. In addition to studying for a degree and participating in Miss World, Miss Tyrrell has raised £19,800 for the international children's charity Terre des Hommes, worked at the World Health Organization for the Tropical Diseases Research department, and to top it off, regularly volunteers with homeless charities in Cambridge.

If that wasn't enough, she is also a fully trained ski instructor, won a national gymnastics award and regularly travels abroad on humanitarian trips to work with children in India, Brazil, Ghana and Rwanda.

Nevertheless, with her long dark hair and slender size eight figure, Miss Tyrrell, who also speaks fluent French, is no slouch in the looks department either.

Speaking about entering the competition, she said: 'I am delighted and proud to be representing England at Miss World. I want to make the most out of life and have enjoyed looking after children at camps and crashes, being a ski instructor for children, water skiing and dress making, designing and modelling.

Winning: The show, which is being broadcast to millions of viewers across the globe, featured 120 international contestants each deemed to be not only the most beautiful in their home countries - and Rolene Strauss won

Top three: Miss South Africa and the 2014 Miss World, Rolene Strauss (C), reacts flanked by first runner up Miss Hungary Edina Kulcsar (L) and second runner up Miss United States Elizabeth Safrit (R) during the grand final of the Miss World 2014 pageant

Big moment: The 22-year-old, who is studying medicine at the University of the Free State, proved that she is both beauty and brains

Beautiful people: Miss South Africa celebrates with her competitors after being crowned Miss World 2014

Chuffed: Miss World 2014, South African Rolene Strauss (Front-C) flanked by runner-up Miss Hungary Edina Kulcsar (L) and third place Miss United States Elizabeth Safrit (R) celebrates after winning the grand final Miss World 2014

Battling it out: National finalists, including Miss Scotland Ellie McKeating (centre), perform on stage during Miss World 2014 at the ExCel Centre

Big bash: Contestants from 126 countries are in London to compete in the 2014 Miss World competition, the 63rd time the annual event has taken place

American girl: Miss USA, Elizabeth Safrit, hails from a small town in North Carolina and holds a degree in Political Science and Journalism and works as a lobbyist

Beauty queens: The competitors wore their most lavish gowns as they took to the stage in the final round

Glamorous: Miss India, Koyal Rana, takes part in the final of the Miss World 2014 contest, showcasing her dancing skills and style credentials 

Duties: The contest's winner will spend the year in London, as well as travelling to represent the Miss World Organisation (MWO) and its causes

Grand scenes: Hundreds of audience members showed their support by waving their respective country's flags 

Getting into the spirit of it: Miss Slovenia, Laura Longauerova, dances her way down the catwalk at the London competition 

Dazzling affair: Over 100 finalists donned their best gladrags and competed against one another for the coveted crown 

Spectacle: Some contestants flew thousands of miles to compete, such as Miss Mongolia, Battsetseg Turbat, who wowed in a beaded red outfit

High stakes: In 1951, 26 women competed for the crown, but today there's over 100, including Miss Bolivia, Andrea Forfori Aguilera 

Skills: Miss Thailand, Maeya Nonthawan, centre, shows off her flexibility as she poses on the runway 

Multi-talented: The women, including Miss India, Koyal Rana, foreground, are required to show off their dancing skills before the judges 

Bonjour! Miss France Flora Coquerel waves during the grand final of the Miss World 2014 pageant and poses alongside a performer 

'Today at age 24, I am a senior student doctor at the University of Cambridge. I have been fortunate enough to help in numerous countries around the world, with a number of local and international hospitals, charities and organisations.

'Since the age of five, I have been deeply moved by the human suffering experienced by those less fortunate. My desire to become a doctor grew stronger as I was exposed to the reality of healthcare around the world.

'My aim is work in global healthcare and be on the forefront of helping people on a worldwide scale.'

Currently studying molecular biology at Cardiff University, Miss Wales - aka Alice Ford, 21 - is another beauty with brains.

Speaking about her place in the Miss World final, Miss Ford said: 'What drove me to enter Miss Wales was the way in which they empower women.

'Leading up to the Miss Wales competition, all the contestants take part in an empowerment day that encourages young women to think positively and believe in themselves.

'This day taught women about not just empowering ourselves, but to empower each too, which is what the competition is all about. The Miss Wales competition has given me more confidence in myself than I could ever have imagined.

'Being a student scientist, empowering young women is personal to me. I feel it is extremely important that we encourage more girls to join the scientific field where I feel that we are sometimes under represented.'

Competitors: (L-R) Miss Vietnam, Loan Nguyen Thi, Miss Serbia, Milica Vuklis and Miss South Sudan, Awien Kuanyin-Agoth

Head-to-head: Miss Cyprus Ioanna Filippou (L) and Miss Greece Eleni Kokkinou (R) parade during the grand final of the Miss World 2014

Long-standing tradition: The Miss World contest is one of the oldest international beauty pageants and was the brainchild of Eric Morley in 1950

Then there's Miss Scotland: Ellie McKeating, 20, who was born and raised in the city of Glasgow in a large but close knit extended family.

Currently in her 2nd year studying Film & Media and Marketing and the University of Stirling, she has aspirations of a career on television. In her spare time, Ellie likes photography, film editing, and cooking, her favourite sports include skiing, swimming and yoga.

The blonde beauty says: 'Film making has always been a passion of mine since i was a little girl and as well as being behind the camera I look forward to pursuing one in front of it as a presenter.

'Alongside my Miss Scotland duties, finding time to remain active is important to me and having a healthy mind and balancing my fitness means just as much.

'Coming from a huge family I am surrounded by children on a daily basis and i absolutely love them, their imaginations are increadible and to think there are children all over the world who are suffering in pain and poverty is truly upsetting and simply unfair.

'I intended to help these children and give them all the opportunities I had as a child. In Scotland we have the highest children poverty rate in all of Europe and it's devestating to hear. I hope I will be able to help them in my position as Miss Scotland 

Rainbow: Each of the women wore a colourful dress in the hope of standing out from the crowd

She says her most memorable encounter was in the president's suite of Murrayfield stadium, when she stood 10m away from Princess Anne of the British Royal Family. 'Although we did not meet, she smiled very fondly at me,' Ellie recalls.

Rebekah Shirley is a media student currently on a gap year - she is Miss Northern Island. 

Born and raised in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, Rebekah aspires to an exciting career in the media. She said: 'I am very honoured to be representing my country in Miss World. I desire to have a positive impact on all the lives I connect with and never take people for granted.

'Being Miss Northern Ireland has given me the opportunity to meet people from many different walks of life.'

In her spare time Rebekah enjoys playing volleyball and netball, and spends time reading biographies and watching style tutorials online.

She is big fan of Instagram, saying: 'They say a picture tells a thousand words and I love getting a visual insight into other people's lives. It also gives me a great platform to promote myself.'

Pale and interesting: (L-R) Miss France, Flora Coquerel, Miss Philippines, Valerie Weigmann, Miss South Africa, Rolene Strauss

Dressed to impress: (L-R) Miss Sri Lanka, Chulakshi Ranathunga, Miss Thailand, Maeya Nonthawan, and Miss Venezuela, Debora Menicucci

Miss Canada, Annora Bourgeault, is a fourth year honours psychology student who hopes to gain her doctorate in counselling. 'My passion is spreading happiness to all of those I encounter and I am so excited to meet the incredible women competing to be Miss World.'

She said the thing that annoys her most about the world is that: 'People are so intently rushing in their own lives they don't look up and notice the beautiful people and places they are surrounded with.'

Aside from her full time studies, she likes to spend time in the countryside camping and hiking and has climbed to the peak of two mountains in the Rocky's.

Miss Australia, Courtney Thorpe, has many strings to her bow. She's currently studying Mass Communications at university whilst working part-time as a freelance writer and fashion stylist. She's already found success as a writer after having a children's book she penned published. She hopes to go on to write an entire series of educational children's books.

'I'm very lucky that since being crowned Miss Australia I have been able to continue my love of working with children by working with indigenous outback communities in remote Australia, especially focusing on education,' she said.

The 'obsessed and devoted' Manchester United fan loves outdoor pursuits in her native Brisbane such as wake boarding, football, horse riding, camping and boating,

Hailing from a small town in North Carolina, Miss USA, Elizabeth Safrit, holds a degree in Political Science and Journalism and works as a lobbyist.

Back again: Tim Vincent and Miss World 2013 winner  Megan Young present the grand final of the Miss World 2014 pageant 

Spectacular: Miss Finland, Krista Haapalainen, centre, performs a dramatic dance and gymnastic routine 

Lady in red: Miss France, Flora Coquerel, parades during the grand final of the Miss World 2014 pageant in a lavish red feathered ensemble 

'My hometown is the epitome of 'Small Town USA'. It is a town where everyone knows one another. My family has lived in Kannapolis for generations.

'I've seen it evolve from a small mill town to a biotechnology hub. I am very proud to be from Kannapolis,' the brunette explains.

The politically minded beauty is hoping to return to education to gain a second degree in Mass Communication.

Multi-talented Elizabeth also is an accomplished ballet dancer and practices bikram yoga.

During her time as Miss United States Elizabeth has worked with the charity Save the Children and believes that: 'Everyone should find something to be passionate about.

'It is so important for leaders like Miss World to encourage the young generation to recognize their beliefs and to know that it is possible to make a difference.'

Miss Russia, Anastasia Kostenko, is a student of Journalism from the town of Salsk in Rostov, eastern Russia. A highly skilled dancer, Anastasia studied to be a ballet master, and has danced in the Rostov State Theatre.

She is also talented at Latin and modern dance, and she can play the piano. Whilst dancing is one of Anastasia’s main passions, she would jump at the chance of a television career, specifically in journalism or hosting her own show.

In her spare time, Anastasia likes to practice aerobics, she is a fan of classic Russian literature.

Final hurdle: National finalists perform on stage during the Miss World 2014 at the ExCel Centre in east London

Miss Uganda, Leah Kalanguka, lives in Bugolobi Flats, a small, beautiful part of Uganda's capital Kampala.

Already a graduate with a BA in Computer Engineering, she is studying further, with the ambitions of becoming a powerful influential computer engineer in her country, with plans of developing programs which can revolutionise the agricultural industry of Uganda.

Aside from her career ambitions, Leah likes to sing and dance, and her favourite sports are volleyball and swimming.

This is one of the first times South Sudan - the world's newest country - has entered the Miss World competition and Awien carries the hopes of a fledgling nation on her shoulders.

'I hope to bring a bit of taste of South Sudan to Miss World this year', Awien Kuanyin-Agoth explains, 'my country is currently standing as the world's youngest nation. The land of the tall, dark, and smooth skinned people with a diverse culture that includes over 60 different tribes.

'South Sudanese people are bold, patriotic, hospitable, honest and hard working.'

Awien comes from a large family. Born in Khartoum, she grew up in Egpyt and the USA. She's currently in her second year studying Child Psychology, and aspires to become the most influential psychologist in her field.

Until she graduates she hopes to volunteer as much as possible to gain experience.

Volleyball and basketball are Awien’s favourite sports. She also enjoys reading and listen to hip hop music. 








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