Saudi veiled girl crowned Miss Moral Beauty

Saudi beauty queen behind the veil: Miss Moral Beauty


Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but for a fully veiled Saudi beauty queen who trounced 274 rivals without showing her face and body, morals, not physical beauty, are what matters.

With her face and body completely covered by the black head-to-toe abaya, or long overgarment, 18-year-old Aya Ali al-Mulla was named "Queen of Beautiful Morals," winning a crown, jewelry and a trip to Malaysia late on Thursday, Saudi-based al-Watan reported Friday.

No swimsuits or evening gown competitions and heavy media coverage of beauty pageants were the highlights of the Saudi contest based in the eastern city of Safwa.

Instead, the winner and the two runner-up princesses had to undergo a three-month test of their dutifulness to their parents and family, and their service to society. Tests probing their psychological state-of-mind, social and cultural awareness determined the winner.

Mullah, a high school graduate, managed to pip her rivals in the huge field, with good grades and hopes to go into medicine.

She raked in a 5,000-riyal ($1,333) prize, a pearl necklace, diamond watch, diamond necklace, and a free ticket to Malaysia with her win.

Beauty contests focused on physical beauty are non-existent in segregated Saudi Arabia, where women cannot mix with unrelated men, and must appear in public completely covered -- even in photographs.

Miss Moral Beauty pageant organizer Khadra al-Mubarak kept the focus on inner beauty, as defined by Islamic standards of Saudi Arabia.