Someone Just Showed Up At Miss World One Year, Pretending To Be Miss Uzbekistan
In 2013, the Miss World beauty pageant proudly announced that Uzbekistan was joining the competition for the first time. This surprised lots of people around the world, who thought Uzbekistan didn't hold beauty contests like that. It especially surprised Uzbekistan, who knew Uzbekistan didn't hold beauty contests like that.
The contestant was named Rakhima Ganieva, and she claimed she'd won some kind of national qualifying competition. That was good enough for the organizers of Miss World, but not for the international news media.
Ganieva did come from the Uzbek capital of Tashkent like she claimed, as the media were able to track down an agency whose course she took as a teen. But there was no such "national qualifying competition," and even that modeling agency weren't too keen to support their alum.
"If there had been a process to choose a young lady for this competition, I can assure you that a much more beautiful model would have been chosen," said a rep. Meanwhile, the president's daughter, who had ties to the fashion industry, called Ganieva a "Tajik-looking girl" (we're guessing Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are bitter rivals and each call the other ugly).
Qualifying for international beauty pageants is confusing. It's not like one single organization holds contests in every single country. In the US, for example, there's currently a national pageant called Miss World America to decide who goes, but in previous years, the winner of some other pageant got the chance, or a runner-up did, or there was no contest at all and some modeling agency got to choose whomever they wanted. So, you can imagine someone in the Miss World Organization hearing about a new entrant and just accepting her with a shrug.
Ganieva didn't make it past the first round, so her fraud didn't earn her eternal glory. The only news we have on her since then is from her personal Facebook page. Uzbekistan, however, did go on to enter beauty pageants. Not Miss World, but they did crown a Miss Intercontinental Uzbekistan, who'll compete in Miss Intercontinental, a pageant which apparently exists.
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Top image: Miss World