hopefuls pose in a photo session before the 1988 contest.
After its broadcast on British television that year, the
contest disappeared from the prime time for a decade. (AP/Wide
Miss World competition entered the 1980s without the support
of its longtime television network carrier, the BBC. After broadcasting
the show for two decades, the network sold its telecast rights
to a rival British broadcaster, which transmitted the contest
globally via satellite. While Miss World's popularity increased
internationally, the contest's following in Britain began to
In an effort to revamp the pageant's tired image, organizers
kicked off a new marketing campaign. Julia Morley, a former
model and the wife of Miss World founder Eric Morley, coined
the mantra "Beauty With a Higher Purpose." New elements -- including
a personality and intelligence segment -- were added to the
contest. Though the intelligence segment took just two minutes
for each contestant, organizers marketed the revised criteria
for judges as an earthshaking marker in the history of the competition.
British bookmakers tip these eight
contestants as favorites to win the Miss World 1983 title.
Miss World contest organizers struggled in the 1980s to
maintain the event's popularity. "Beauty With a Higher Purpose" became the show's mantra, and organizers introduced a personality and intelligence segment to the contest. (AP/Wide World Photos)
While the makeover briefly helped the contest dodge controversy,
by 1984 protestors had found a new cause for revolt. At the
event held in London that year, radical animal rights activists
campaigned against Miss Venezuela, Astrid Herrera, for her support
of toros coleados ("pulling the bulls' tails"), a popular
South American rodeo sport. Britain's Royal Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also weighed in, protesting
the wearing of leopard fur by Bolivia's delegate. Yet despite
anonymous bomb threats, the 1984 Miss World competition was
staged with little disruption, with the exception of a few picketers
who waved signs that stated "Miss World Is the Queen of Torture"
when Miss Venezuela won the 1984 crown.
The protests in the latter half of the decade seemed mild compared with past years. But there was another potential danger -- the
contest's antiquated feel. Newspapers and magazines declared
Miss World a relic of a bygone era. In Britain, the contest
lost so much favor that broadcasters stopped telecasting the
event altogether in 1988. Miss World vanished from the airwaves
in the very country where it had been created.
NEXT - 1990s: A Globalized Culture
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