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BEIRUT: The Beirut Forum hosted a sparkling showcase of Lebanese talent on Sunday evening as model, journalism student and host Yasmina Zaytoun was crowned Miss Lebanon 2022, nearly four years after the last edition of the pageant.
The host of the online educational platform @WITHYASMINASHOW beat her compatriots Maya Abou El-Hassan, who finished first runner-up, Jacintha Rashed, who was named second runner-up, and Lara Hraoui and Dalal Hoballah who were elected fourth and fifth. place, respectively.
Zaytoun is from the village of Kfarchouba in southern Lebanon and is currently studying at Notre-Dame de Louaize University. She hosts an Instagram show called “With Yasmina Show”, where she interviews media and sports personalities, including politician Paula Yacoubian and actress Enjy Kiwan.
Delayed by years of crises in Lebanon, the highly anticipated show featured 17 contestants from different cities and regions who wowed a jury including music composer Michel Fadel, influencer Karen Wazen, CEO of IP Studios Mohamad Yehya, of Miss World 2022 Karolina Bielawska, General Manager of Al-Nahar and Al-Nahar Al-Arabi Nayla Tueni, Director of Caracala Dance Theater Ivan Caracala, TV host Hilda Khalife and Miss Lebanon 1993 Samaya Chedrawi, who was there to represent the Ministry of Tourism.
“Tonight we are celebrating Lebanon, not just Miss Lebanon,” Tueni said, explaining the significance of the event.
“Celebrating the Lebanon we miss, the beautiful country, life in Lebanon. It is the most beautiful image of the real people, the real Lebanese who are suffering and trying to survive. This is a very important message, and I hope that Lebanon will recover with a very positive message. We will stay strong because we love Lebanon,” she added, noting that the new beauty queen must “be the voice of the Lebanese people.”
Hosted by Lebanese actress and TV host Aimee Sayah, the event also featured a performance by Lebanese song icon Nancy Ajram, which began with a rendition of “Ila Beirut Al Ontha” in tribute to the city. , before surprising his fans with “Salmat Salamat” and a rendition of his new song “Sah Sah”, produced by American DJ Marshmello.
Ajram urged his audience to support Lebanon “in good times and bad”, adding: “I have never thought about how to love Lebanon. There is no rule as to how you can love your country. I love Lebanon until the end.
Sayah was dressed by renowned Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika, fresh from his catwalk presentation at Paris Haute Couture Week in July, while the contestants showed off a number of glamorous looks, including evening dresses and swimsuits, and also demonstrated their ability to keep a cool head under pressure by addressing a range of social issues on stage.
These issues included divorce, fragmented families, female abuse and violence – both verbal and physical – access to health care and education, and female empowerment, among others.
The lucky few took to the stage after being prepped and groomed by the best in the business, including famed makeup artist Bassam Fattouh and hairstylist Wassim Morkos.
Previous Miss Lebanon Maya Reaidy, crowned in September 2018, passed the title and tiara to her successor, ending her nearly four-year reign after a series of crises forced the postponement of the event.
Ahead of the event, billboards dotted the roads of Beirut and elsewhere with the slogan “We missed celebrating the beauty of Lebanon”, which played into the wider #WeMissLebanon campaign touted by organizers of the event. event, The Lebanon Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI) and The Ministry of Tourism.
Organizers also released a glamorous ad featuring a number of contestants posing in daring outfits, with stunning aerial views of Lebanese tourist hotspots interspersed with the 48-second video.
The ceremony reflected the same celebration of the country through the music, which was chosen by Fadel, the installation and the decoration with take-out flowers.
Miss World Organization President and CEO Julia Morley, Miss World 2021 Karolina Bielawska of Poland, Miss USA first runner-up Shree Saini, and Miss World 2019 Toni-Ann Singh of Jamaica and Miss World Events Director Stephen Douglas Morley were also present presence.
“I have traveled a lot and I find that people are at the heart of each country. I can honestly say that Lebanese people are so beautiful and so warm, and even though I’m miles away from my own country, Jamaica, I feel at home,” Singh said.
The winner was selected from a pool of contestants chosen for their beauty and intelligence in auditions held between December 2021 and February 2022, with young Lebanese women between the ages of 18 and 27 invited to participate.