In an effort to make inroads at the world’s largest economy, the Miss World organization had been formalizing its presence at the United States by awarding the franchise last year to the Miss United States pageant. This allows Miss World to have a strong presence with several pageants now being progressively held at state levels. The second princess placement of Miss World United States Elizabeth Safrit at Miss World 2014 finals is a strong indication that Julia Morley is serious about her plans. She and Megan Young attended the crowning of Elizabeth last year.
Miss World 2013 Megan Young with Elizabeth Safrit
The relationship of Miss World and USA is a bit complicated. Miss USA, which is under the umbrella of the Miss Universe organization, had been sending its first runner-up to the Miss World pageant in its early part of its history. While the franchise has been passed from one hand to another, the involvement of Miss USA at the Miss World pageant continued until the 90s.
One report has it that the Miss World Organization had insisted that at the finale of Miss USA contest, a formal announcement should be made that the first runner-up will compete at Miss World. This has been refused. Obviously, the Miss USA contest does not want to promote the rival of its parent pageant. This resulted in a formal break-up of the relationship with the Miss Universe Organization and Miss World Organization.
Miss World never caught the fancy of the American audience. In recent years, the pageant did not receive any primetime placement and the Miss World brand is relatively obscure when compared to other pageants like Miss Universe. Before the awarding of the franchise to the Miss United States pageant last year, the Miss World United States was simply chosen via casting. This puts the presence of Miss World in America at the bottom when compared to Miss Universe, Miss International and Miss Earth where all three have existing formal pageants. Even the crowning of Alexandria Mills in 2010 did not create massive public interest in the United States. Most of the people knew that Halle Berry was an international pageant contestant but few among the American general public is aware that it was Miss World where she participated. That is the degree of obscurity of the Miss World brand in the United States.
Alexandria Mills is the latest American woman to win the Miss World title
By going to the state levels and with the Miss United States as the franchise holder, Miss World Organization has this vision to have a better brand presence in the country. State pageants are using the Miss World label and brand with titles such as Miss Delaware World and Miss Virginia USA has already been won. A national finals is slated to be held in Washington D.C. in July and it created a lot of interest within the American pageantry scene.
It must be emphasized however that central to its Beauty with a Purpose theme, the Miss World Organization also seeks to establish an active community service in the United States. The Miss World United States has been pursuing various charitable activities including hospital visits. Alongside with the vision of a strong brand presence is also the desire to intricately associate the pageant with charity and community involvement.
The question however remains if Miss World will enjoy the same level of prestige and recognition like the Miss Universe pageant. Will its national finals be in any way be broadcasted live across the 50 states? Will it get a primetime and generate sponsorship? Above all, will the Miss World pageant finals night caught the fancy of the Americans? Sadly, the answer to these questions are currently negative. Miss World has a long way to go in America but it seems that it is already moving into the right direction.