We are just one week away from the finale of the 2014 Miss World competition, and I have to admit that the preliminaries so far have been of limited interest. There was the Miss Sport competition, which was won by Miss Finland; she is in the center on the photo below:


The contestants all traveled to Oxford for what was billed as a debate about beauty pageants at Oxford Union. But no debate took place; a number of contestants gave talks about their “Beauty With a Purpose” projects. The Oxford students in attendance seemed mildly disappointed; the female ones, anyway. This photo of Miss Philippines (left) and the reigning Miss World, Megan Young, was taken at the Oxford event. They look like lawyers at a counsel table, only better:


With the finale just a week away, betting odds are taking shape. This site is useful because it shows, and aggregates, odds from six different bookmakers. We have already previewed some of the favorites, but let’s do a few more.

Currently, the betting favorite is Miss South Africa, Rolene Strauss, a medical student . However, being the favorite, she probably deserves a second look:


Speaking of second looks, Miss Strauss is also South Africa’s representative in the Miss Universe pageant, which will take place next month. So if she doesn’t win Miss World, she will have another bite at the apple.

The next favorite is Miss Australia, Courtney Thorpe:


A strong contender, I think. Next in line is Miss India, Koyal Rana. Miss Rana studied international finance at Harvard and seems unduly interested in green energy, but don’t hold that against her:


The fourth betting favorite is Miss Russia, whom we previewed here. Next in line is Miss France, Flora Coquerel. It is worth noting that pageantry has mounted a comeback in Europe, which I think is analogous to the resurgence of boxing on the continent. Here is Miss Coquerel:


And finally, for now, Miss Mexico, Daniela Alvarez Rey. She lists her occupation as “Miss Mundo Mexico,” which makes sense: in Latin America, pageantry is a full-time job. Here is Miss Alvarez:


So far, there hasn’t been much of a political angle to the Miss World pageant, and this may not make news either. But it seems worth mentioning that Miss Israel, Mor Maman, who lists her occupation as “Armed Forces,” will wear an evening gown featuring the Star of David:


That shouldn’t be controversial, of course, but who knows? In today’s world, it might be.

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