Leah Ryerse, a 19-year-old resident of Hamilton Ontario and the Canadian representative for the 2008 Miss World Competition, the largest beauty spectacular on the planet, has high hopes.
"I am thrilled to be a new ambassador for Canada," she said. "I have grown so much this year and trained very hard to be Canada's first Miss World." Canada has never won and Leah is hoping that she can make MWC proud and bring home the crown.
Miss World is the longest running major international pageant launched in Britain in 1951 by Eric Morley. The telecast of the final competition is the world's largest live annual beauty pageant television event with global viewers in more than 200 countries. Aside from raising millions of pounds for charities around the globe under the banner of its 'Beauty with a Purpose' program, Miss World is also credited with directly influencing a dramatic increase in tourism in Sanya, China, host of the Miss World finals from 2003-05. Canada no longer broadcasts this popular program.
"I guess there just wasn't enough motor oil in the mascara. No one hot wired the hot rollers" said Connie McNaughton with a smile, president of Miss World Canada.
Leah Ryerse is the first Hamiltonian to win the Miss World Canada title since Connie Fitzpatrick, now McNaughton, won the title in 1984 and finished second at Miss World that year.
McNaughton now runs the Miss World Canada event here in Toronto. "We believe Leah has the right mix of beauty, magic, compassion and intelligence to really make an impact as our delegate on an international stage. Canada is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world with some of the most beautiful women and it is criminal that we have not yet won at Miss World."
A second-year student at McMaster University, Leah is pursuing an Honors degree in Health Studies and Social Work. She is also a professional model and has graced the catwalks of many designers' fashion shows and the famous Fashion Cares gala in Toronto.
True to the head office motto, "Beauty with a Purpose", Ryerse and all her fellow contestants diligently fundraised in the months prior to the contest for the Miss World Canada Charity of Choice, S.O.S. Children's Villages, an international organization dedicated to bringing homes, clean water and the essentials of life to orphaned and abandoned children in over 130 countries. All proceeds raised for this worthy cause were donated to an All-Canadian community revitalization project in rural Namibia.
Ryerse departs this Saturday, from Toronto Pearson, Nov. 15th, at 6:00 PM via KLM ROYAL DUTCH AIR692 to compete in the 58th Annual Miss World event. Leah will spend one month in South Africa, where numerous festivals and fund raising events in celebration of women's beauty, talent, fashion and culture will take place. The final competition will be held in Johannesburg on Saturday, 13th December 2008.