Miss South Africa Rolene Strauss was crowned Miss World on Sunday in a competition in London.
“South Africa, this is for you,” she said in an interview after the pageant. “I’m so proud of you and I’m proud to be your representative.”
Strauss, 22, won the title over runner-up Miss Hungary Edina Kulcsar. Miss United States Elizabeth Safrit took third place. Strauss inherited the crown from Miss World 2013, Megan Young of the Philippines.
Strauss, a fourth-year medical student at University of the Free State, put her studies on hold after being crowned Miss South Africa in March. In her official Miss World 2014 introduction video she credits former South African President Nelson Mandela with allowing her to pursue a career in medicine by creating a democratic South Africa.
Strauss said she looked forward to continuing the legacy of Miss World CEO Julia Morley, founder of “Beauty with a Purpose,” a nonprofit that supports humanitarian projects of Miss World contestants. As Miss South Africa, Strauss has supported projects in women’s rights, health and education, including one to provide menstruation education to schoolgirls in South Africa.
By Emanuella Grinberg