A 20-year-old Egyptian model was a runner-up in the 15th annual Top Model of the World contest held in Hurghada over the weekend.
Lobna Amin was edged out by a former Miss Germany from a competitive field of 41 young women all vying for the crown, a $10,000 cash prize, and a ?50,000 modelling contract.
Held at the Steigenberger Al Dau Beach Hotel, the venue was filled to capacity and “the audience actively involved in the show, voicing their opinions loudly, said Stefanie Glasser, the hotel’s PR Manager.
Ms Amin did not leave empty-handed though – she was chosen as the Top Model Africa by a panel that included scriptwriter Tamer Habib, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and actor Khaled Abol Naga, and Lebanese media personality Sawsane El-Sayed.
The Steigenberger Hotel was overflowing with local and international media hounds, which will no doubt result in some very positive coverage for one of Egypt’s favorite playgrounds.
It is easy to lambaste beauty pageants, as was done so brilliantly in the film “Little Miss Sunshine, except for the fact that modelling can be a lucrative career. It has turned many women into business tycoons and led to alternative careers as actors.
Many of the big names may well be celebrities, but at least they have worked for it.
Today in Britain, young women list “Wag (Wives and Girlfriends) as a career choice. I would like to see a pageant of footballers’ Wags; possibly in three feet of water where the women have to wrestle a designer handbag from an Anaconda.
Having known a few clothes-hangers, or models, during my years in New York, I appreciate that it is a tiresome way to make a living, posing in front of hot lights for a shooting more likely meant for a mid-western catalogue for plus sizes, than for the latest edition of Vogue.
Though there are perks such as fabulous destinations, “a pretty face is not a passport to success, as Julie Burchill once said, “but a visa that will shortly run out.
The longer I am in Egypt, the more I see that the nation’s cultural life is based around hotel events, be it a golf tournament, family wedding, variety entertainment, or charity event.
On my way home from London after the birth of my son, Max William, weighing in at 4lbs 10ozs, I sat next to a tourist who was joining a tour that would take in the southern temples, Sinai, and Jordon. Our conversation meandered and at one point I mentioned Maadi as the home of many expatriates. He asked if it was a gated community.
“No , I answered. “You find those in the US. Look to Houston or San Francisco for people locking themselves away.
But I wonder if Egypt’s hotels form the same function in some way. Are they a cultural barrier that keeps events exclusive behind closed doors? Members only.
Groucho Marx had a great line about clubs that went something like: “I would never want to be a member of a club who would have me as a member.
Now that the developing world has opened their runways to the beauty pageants scorned by the politically-correct West, I have a suggestion for another type of event that may be revived by an enterprising hotel: Dwarf throwing.
It was banned in Australia some years ago by the PC police. If Egypt can’t attract a grand prix race like Bahrain or stage the world’s richest horse race, then why not dwarf throwing? It was safe, the dwarfs wore crash helmets.
To be fair, dwarf throwing was taking a love of sport a little too far. But as for high profile events, it would be the bomb if Egypt could attract an annual professional tennis tournament or if the new Vodafone golf competition grows into a Major. More people around the globe should know what Egypt is really about.
Russia. That is where Egypt should go and look for events. The Russians love the Red Sea. Bring the big Russian stuff to Egypt. Their economy is booming and they love wearing brand names too. Though what do Russians like? Maybe there is a Russian model out there who will let me know?
The final word on models though, must go to the life models of Italy, who have gone on strike. They have kept their clothes on until students and artists start paying them a living wage. It must be the winter cold; they need that bit extra.