By Alex P. Vidal
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Will organizers of the Miss World Canada remove the swimsuit component when the pageant’s 2012 edition selects its new “Voice and Ambassador” on May 13 at the River Rock Resort Show Theater?
This will be known when the Board of Directors of Miss World Canada discuss the controversial issue during the “business mixer” meeting of the ownership, the management and the staff of Quality Hotel and Suites Langley at the hotel in Langley on January 26.
In an exclusive interview, Miss World Canada National Director and Chairman Ike Lalji said they will have as guest Miss World Canada 2011 Riza Santos who will join the discussion.
She will also be promoting Miss World’s powerful mandate of Beauty with a Purpose, said Lalji, who is president of the Coast Meridian Hospitality.
Lalji, an industrial engineer who grew up in Belgium, said there have been mounting suggestions to remove the swimsuit portion in consonance with the pageant’s mandate as “philosophic and charity-driven.”
“While other pageants are based on beauty, ours is not only based on beauty but charity. Other pageants teach the participants how to walk while we teach our participants the life skills — leadership skills prior to the competition,” Lalji stressed.
He said as ambassador of Canada, the Miss World Canada travels around the world to pass the message to the young generation to help the children.
“We involve the United Nations and we let the people all over the world know that Miss World Canada is also about beauty with a purpose,” he pointed out.
Santos, 24, who wowed everyone at the Miss World competition in London with a 4th place finish in the sports competition, and a top 30th overall ranking out of over 120 contestants, will be accompanied by her runner-up Poonam Punni.
Santos is from Calgary and is engineering student and Canadian Forces soldier. She completed her BMQ and SQ with the Canadian Forces Army Reserve, and plans on becoming a commissioned officer.
She has also been a dedicated volunteer for the last 14 years, and continues to raise funds for charities such as Variety – The Children’s Charity, the Safe Haven Foundation, and relief funds for victims of natural disasters.
Lalji said “a lot of changes are happening with Miss World Canada. The search is on for women aged 17-24 that are beautiful on the inside and out, have a philanthropic and passionate mindset, and above all else believe they can be Canada’s next ambassador to the world.”
Every contestant will be taught valuable life building skills which will help open up many doors. The winner will receive numerous gifts, including an all-expense paid trip to China to compete in the Miss World pageant in July of 2012, as well as scholarships, and opportunities to work with and become a spokesperson for Variety – The Children’s Charity.
Lalji said the Miss World Pageant is the oldest and most annually watched televised show in the world, even beating out the Olympics in its ratings. Miss World is one of the two top pageants in the world and continues to break records.
Represented by over 120 countries and fundraising topping £150 million and the most successful ever international television show.
Lalji said they have donated $5 million for children’s charities worldwide. He was accompanied in the interview by Comfort Inn & Suits Director Evelyn Yadao.
Langley Mayor Peter Fassbender will award a certificate to Santos.