MISS WORLD Final 2009
I’ve been asked by the girls to share a bit about my time in Miss World. Yes, I have taken part in a pageant, many years ago. Ha!
So it’s time for me to go down memory lane, and see what I remember from this rather crazy experience. It almost doesn’t feel like it actually even happened, it’s more like a movie I watch or something. But where do I start – there is just so much! So I apologise in advance if this post gets a bit long. Im also sorry if the photo quality is quite bad – the photos were taken 8 years ago, and a lot has happened with camera quality since then!
Anyway, I won the very glamorous title of Miss Norway in 2009, only 17 years old. It was such a random thing even entering the competition in the first place, and I never ever expected to win – or even get to the final.
About 6 months after the Norwegian final, it was time for me to start my Miss World adventure. It was a bit scary going away all by myself as I had never traveled anywhere by myself at this point in my life. I was still at high school, quite an inexperienced traveler, and maybe a bit naïve being from a small and safe Norwegian countryside-town.
1ST STOP - LONDON
The first stop on this pageant journey was London, where we stayed for about 4 days. It was in London that I first met the other contestants, including my new roommate for the next 5-6 weeks, Magdalena - Miss New Zealand. Magdalena is my age, and we quickly became great friends. She also looked after me at times, and gave me some advice on how to be cautious when traveling in big cities. Just small thing like making sure that our luggage would make it safely onto the coach, whilst I, completely oblivious to the fact that it could get stolen, just left my luggage outside the bus to be carried into the luggage room. She also told me to but my valuables in a safe, something that I found absurd as I was used to leaving both my car and front door unlocked… see what I mean, I was quite naive. The one time I didn’t bother to lock my stuff into the safe I had my iPod shuffle, cash, wallet and sunglasses stolen from my hotel room. At least I learned my lesson! And thank goodness I got such an amazing roommate, as this made this whole experience a great one. The other girls where lovely too of course, but being one of the youngest ones, Magdalena and I naturally fitted into some groups better than others. We were also split into 4 different groups alphabetically, and all our travels etc. were always organized by groups. Most of my friends from the pageant are therefor girls from countries starting with L, M, N, O, P – ha!
London was fun and exciting, and little did I know I would end up moving there only a year and a half later. I had however just met my now boyfriend Ben, who is British and lived in London at the time. It was very new and awkward between us at this point, but he came to see me at the Grosvenor House hotel right next to Hyde Park, where we were staying. This is probably the weirdest ‘date’ we have ever had though. The security during Miss World was super strict, we were watched like hawks. I totally get it though, they did after all have the responsibility for something like 130 girls. Anyway, going down to lobby to meet guy that I had only just met was a big deal for them. We were therefor accompanied by my chaperone + a security guard who both sat at the table next to us during our 45 min tea-date in the lobby café.
Speaking of my chaperone, this is another person who made this whole experience so amazing. Funnily enough she is also called Magdalena – so I guess my trip was saved by the Magdalenas :p haha! Magdalena looked after me and abut 9 other girls, and basically looked after us and took care of us for this whole period. The Magdalenas are now in Australia and New Zealand, so they couldn’t have been further away which really sucks!
ABU DHABI NEXT, THEN ONTO SOUTH AFRICA
After London we traveled on to Abu Dhabi, where we also spent about 4 days. We stayed at the Yas Viceroy Hotel which is located directly next to the Formula 1 circuit. During our stay in Abu Dhabi we got to see quite a lot of interesting places, including the Emirates Palace which is know to be covered in silver and gold.
After Abu Dhabi we flew to South Africa where the final was going to be held about a month later. Our base was Johannesburg, but we kept travelling around in South Africa non stop, and were rarely at the same place for more than 3 days. We visited Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban, to mention some. It was an amazing way to see South Africa as we were constantly taken to amazing places, and the people in each city welcomed us like royals. The football World Cup was held in South Africa the following summer, so we did a lot of press and promotion linked in with this massive event that was about to happen. I have pretty much visited all of the big football stadiums in South Africa, but I have yet to visit a single one in The UK – ups! Annoyingly Norway didn’t qualify for the world cup (surprise surprise…), so I didn’t get to join in on a lot of the events – as some were just held for the qualifying countries. But that meant more free time by the pool for me, so I shouldn’t really complain.
We got to go on a lot of amazing Safari trips, which was great of course. South Africa’s wild life is one of the countries many beauties which we were lucky enough to experience. One day we visited a park were they let us hold owls and stroke a lion baby. Little samba was absolutely adorable, and I was completely fascinated by the beautiful birds. Little did I know that we were getting judged that day. I might have not won the title as Miss World (or get any where close to winning for that matter), but that night I did win the title as ‘The Bird Ranger’, and I was given a handmade doll as a trophy – which is obviously waaaay more impressive! Haha :P
Whilst I’m on the topic on all my amazing achievements during Miss World, I have to also mention that I came 3rd in their talent competition. This was genuinely quite a big deal at the time, and I got to perform during the live tv-show during the main final.
The days leading up to the final was filled with stage rehearsals and press events. We spent hours walking around in a line, learning when and where to step forward and wave while our country was called out.
The final was nerve wracking of course, but I was way more worried about my singing than the result of the pageant. I was actually so home sick at this point that I was terrified of winning, as this would mean a full year of traveling around whilst smiling and waving with a crown in my head. I mean, don't get me wrong - I didn't have high hopes of winning, but of course the thought of how it would be did cross my mind. My mum and her husband came to see the final, and I had a lovely evening celebrating some great weeks together with my parents and my new friends from all around the world.
People often ask me about my experience with Miss World and I how found being a part of all of it, and at such a young age. It is after all a competition when you get judge by your looks. I do have to honestly say that I find he whole concept quite strange, I was never and will never be the 'pageant type' what ever that is. But I guess I'm still judged by my looks every day in my work as a model, and I learned very early to never take anything too personally.
The experience that I'm left with, and the memories I have of Miss World is that I got to go on an incredible journey where I met some amazing girls. It's a once in a lifetime experience, and I know for a fact that I will never do anything like it again. Of course there are some weird things that I didn't agree with, and that I questioned then but maybe even more so later as I grew older. But the over all experience is that Miss World was a crazy, strange but wonderful adventure!
The winner of my year was Kaiane Lopez - Miss Gibraltar. Kaiane actually became Gibraltar youngest major ever earlier this year, have amazing is that!! I think that's one of the things worth mentioning about the misses. People expect us all to be stupid and completely self obsessed, with no clue about what's happening in the world. In my experience I only met smart, resourceful girls like Miss Gibraltar, who has gone on to do great things!