Lebanese-Australian beauty Jessica Kahawaty has won third place in the Miss World 2012 competition, as a representative of Australia.
Miss China, Yu Wenxia, won Miss World 2012, and Sophie Elizabeth Moulds of Wales came in the second place (first runner-up), while Kahawaty, 23, was the second runner-up.
It was not Kahawaty’s first bid in beauty contests; she participated in the 2008 Miss Lebanon Emigrant and also competed for Miss Lebanon 2010.
Kahawaty, olive-skinned and grey-eyed with features that some have called “an exotic mixture between West and East,” qualified for Miss World after winning the Miss Australia competition by playing a rendition of Beethoven’s Furelisea on the piano with a severely injured hand.
“I had so much adrenaline and thought: ‘I’m going to do it even if it doesn’t sound so good. I took off my cast despite the doctor’s orders,” she told Australian media after winning the national title.
Sydney-born Kahawaty can speak French, Arabic and Japanese and has told media that she is proud of her Lebanese heritage.
Kahawaty has become the second Lebanese-Australian after Nicole Ghazal to win Miss Australia. Both participated in Miss Lebanon before attempting their luck at Miss Australia.
Among other beauty contestants with Lebanese heritage, Rima Fakih won the 2010 Miss USA title, becoming the first Arab-American and the first Muslim to win that title.
Miss World 2012 had a total of 116 contestants -- the highest number ever for the annual competition. This year it was held in the city of Ordos, located in China’s arid and sparsely populated steppes of Inner Mongolia. Ordos, around 700 kilometers from the nearest beach, made an unlikely setting for the world’s biggest beauty pageant.