In 1971, Miss Lebanon 1970, the blonde Georgina Rizk, 18 years old, of a Lebanese father and a Hungarian mother, was elected Miss Universe. And since then, there have been no Misses from the Arab world on the international podiums. This relative absence raises questions, as there is no lack of national candidates.
After more than forty years of interruption, Morocco organized a Miss contest in November 2021. The winner, Fatima-Zahra Khayat, a financial analyst based in Paris, was to represent her country at the Miss Universe contest in Israel the following month, but an accident forced her to give up her title.
In April 2022 Algeria (whose first election of a Miss had taken place in 1985), organized the 37th edition of its national contest in Oran. A student in biotechnology, Melissa Hammoumraoui, originally from Algiers, won the title of Miss Algeria.
Egypt has been innovating, adding a Miss Eco International to its competition Miss Egypt Bent Masr (which was founded in 2016 as a natural extension to the Miss Egypt Contest which has been held since 1927). Miss Eco is a beauty pageant officially registered with the Ministry of Culture of Egypt in 2015. The pageant aims at promoting environmental awareness and eco-tourism. The winner automatically becomes A UN goodwill ambassador to help the planet and to promote eco-tourism worldwide. Nadeen Elgayar, a 21 year old dentist and dancer was crowned Miss Egypt 2021 on 20th September 2021.
Some other Arab countries argue that it is inappropriate for women to compete in a pageant because it goes against their country’s traditional religious values.