Iraqi Kurds crown first Miss Kurdistan

Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region has crowned the first-ever Miss Kurdistan, though the beauty contest took place without bikini-clad women and with journalists and their cameras kept at bay.

Twelve women competed in the beauty pageant held late on Thursday in Arbil, capital of the autonomous region in northern Iraq, organised by a Lebanese company and attended by foreign diplomats, singers, actors and officials.

Reporters and photographers were allowed to enter the hall where the ceremony was held in the Rotana Hotel for speeches by the organising company and Kurdistan tourism officials.

But after a performance of traditional Kurdish music and dance, the contestants presented themselves and the media was then asked to wait in the reception area of the hotel until the pageant was over.

When journalists asked why they were told to leave, a supervisor said the rights for the pageant itself had been sold to a media company that planned to broadcast it later.

Shene Aziz Ako, an 18-year-old from Sulaimaniyah, was the winner.

"We organised the festival in a way that suits Kurdish traditions and habits; you will not see the bathing suites but you will see sports clothes and decent evening dress, which does not underplay the beauty of the girls," Roy Shalala, an official from the organising company, told journalists.

He said the winner would have a year-long schedule working for a cause of her choice and that "we will put all our abilities into the success of the mission of the girl who will hold the crown," who had to be an Iraqi Kurd living in Kurdistan or abroad.

Ako's cause was not immediately clear.

The judges included actor Yusef al-Khal, singer Dina Hayek, plastic surgeon Nader Saab, all from Lebanon, and former Kurdistan parliament member Shokriyah Rasool, beauty expert Farhad Birbal and various beauty contest winners.

A flashier Miss Lebanon pageant, involving far more revealing outfits, is held each year.

Plastic surgeon Saab said he was encouraged to participate because he is "very close to Kurdish beauty" from operating on Kurdish women in Beirut.

"Of course the standards here match the international standards, but beauty is still relative because Kurdish beauty is different from Lebanese, African or French beauty," Saab said.

"We must respect the traditions and customs, but this does not prevent there from being a Miss Kurdistan," he said. "We focus on the beauty and culture, and beauty consists of a number of aspects."

Omar Dizay, a Kurdish artist, said that "selection of Miss Kurdistan, is a new phenomenon," and a first for the region.

Beauty pageants have been absent from Iraq for decades. During the time of the monarchy, which was overthrown in 1958, they were held in social clubs, especially in the southern port city of Basra.

Kurdistan is a conservative region where women still face restrictions, though it is far safer than the rest of Iraq.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • North Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    North Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two missiles into the sea on Monday and vowed "merciless" retaliation as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre rattling. "And if there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the North …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao
    Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao

    An Indonesian cargo vessel that was hijacked a month ago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia has been found stuck in the waters off Mati, Davao Oriental, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday. PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said the PCG- Southeastern Mindanao district was informed on Feb. 23 that the M/T Rehoboth was found aground off Barangay Cabuaya. Four personnel from the local PCG district office were sent to verify the report. The vessel was reportedly hijacked by …

  • Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros
    Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros

    The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is calling for the pullout of US Marines who arrived in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Wednesday to train Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and members of the allied forces. The SAF commandos and the allied forces will secure the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in this city. Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said the US troops might violate the human rights of activists, especially those …

  • Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf
    Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf

    Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. has ordered the sustained campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) following the successive offensives against the armed groups last week. A total of 24 Abu Sayyaf bandits and two soldiers were killed in recent clashes in Sulu last week. The Joint Task Group Sulu has received information that Abu Sayyaf leader Radulan Sahiron was wounded during one of the encounters but this is …

  • China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral
    China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral

    China is building some “fairly amazing submarines” and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States, a top US Navy admiral told US lawmakers on Wednesday, although he said their quality was inferior. Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee that China was also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines, and their length of …

  • Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA
    Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA

    Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday supported proposals to put Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo under house arrest. “Government prosecutors are opposing house arrest for… Enrile. Binay issued the statement after the 91-year-old Enrile was rushed to the Makati Medical Center on Thursday due to pneumonia. House arrest for him would be the compassionate thing to do,” he added. …

  • Pacman mega fight tax exemption up to Congress, BIR
    Pacman mega fight tax exemption up to Congress, BIR

    Malacañang is leaving it up to Congress and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to consider a proposed special tax exemption for boxing icon Manny Pacquiao in his much-awaited fight with Floyd Mayweather. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said yesterday it will have to be discussed by Congress because lawmakers are the ones who enact tax exemptions, special or general. Pacquiao has been dogged by unsettled tax obligations with the BIR. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options