Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—In spite of the tense political situation in Lebanon, the country still found time to celebrate glitz and glamor this week, crowning Sally Greige Miss Lebanon 2014 on Sunday.
Politicians, including the Minister of Tourism Michel Pharaon, the official sponsor of the ceremony, were in attendance at the Casino du Liban when the 24-year-old civil engineering graduate was awarded the winner’s tiara, seeing off competition from 13 other contestants.
The contestants came from northern Lebanon, West Beqaa, Byblos and the capital Beirut. Greige is from the Koura district, hailing from the Bashamzin family.
Greige won an apartment worth 300,000 US dollars, a 2014 Audi Q3, and 50,000 dollars’ worth of jewelry.
The nine-member jury included television host George Kordahi, Miss Lebanon 1999 Norma Noum, designer Zuhair Murad, and Future Movement MP Serge Torsarkissian. Murad also created the evening gowns worn by all 14 contestants. Dima Sadiq hosted the event for the second year in a row.
During the ceremony, Lebanese pop sensation Nancy Ajram performed two of her latest hits, Come Here and What’s Up?. Responding to a question raised by the host about the advice Ajram would give to her two daughters should they consider participation in the contest in the future, she answered: “I’d advise them to act naturally and spontaneously. If they didn’t get the title, I would tell them, ‘You are the most beautiful in my eyes as well as in the eyes of many others.’”
Greige was one of five young women to qualify to the final stage, alongside Elsa Hajjar, Aya Hadraj, Ruba Monzer, and Stefanie Kiroz. The finalists had to answer the question: “If you were asked to participate in a demonstration in Lebanon, under what banner would you participate and what would be your objective?” Their answers ranged from demanding the election of a president to improving the security situation in the country.
“If I were to take part in one demonstration, I would choose to participate in a demonstration to defend the rights of Lebanese women,” said Greige.
Greige was crowned Miss Lebanon 2014 to the tune of The Beautiful Girl Has a Crown and a Scepter written by the late composer Mansour Rahbani, a song that has become a symbol of the competition in Lebanon.
Miss Lebanon 2013 Karen Ghrawi handed over her crown to successor Greige, but not before taking a tumble on stage. The video of her slip has since gone viral across the Arab world.
Following her victory, Greige is scheduled to represent Lebanon at the Miss World competition in London in December, and at the Miss Universe pageant in Florida in January 2015.