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Beauty with a Purpose

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Azra Akin - Miss World 2002
Miss World Azra Akin (left) and Miss New Zealand Rachel Huljich met baby Dale during a visit to Kidz First Neonatal Care Unit.  They are pictured with the unit's Clinical Director, Lindsay Mildenhall and Variety - The Children's Charity Executive Director, Laura Langford.
Azra in New Zealand
Azra in New Zealand
Azra in New Zealand
Azra in New Zealand


Miss World & Beauty With A Purpose

                    Azra Akin - Turkey


The title of Miss World has brought many pleasures achievements and responsibilities. I have enjoyed my role of bringing the message of peace, friendship and love to the many places that I have visited.

Every event I attended was exciting and special in its own unique way. Some were fun, some were strenuous and some were prestigious.

It was a great honour to be invited to lay a wreath on the tomb of Ataturk, the founder of modern turkey. Following the service I was introduced to the Prime Minister and the President of Turkey.

The most rewarding part of the Miss World duties is practising the theme of Beauty with a Purpose. This ethos involves supporting charitable organisations around the world. It was my pleasure to help Variety International, New Zealand’s Child Cancer and the Chinese Children’s Charity Federation this year.

In March I went to Des Moines in America to help with their Telethon which raised 4 million dollars for American Children’s Charities. I was taken to the Blank and Mercy Hospitals to visit their young patients and to see how some of the money raised would be spent.

I was greatly honoured to meet Denise Shippler who helped to present the telethon. Denise, who is wheelchair disabled, has helped present the telethon for many years and has raised huge sums of money for wheelchairs for disabled children. This year, much to her surprise, a benefactor purchased a new wheelchair for her. I will always admire her strength and positive spirit.

In April I was interviewed on “Good Morning America” to emphasize Turkish fashions and fabrics. It was then back to Turkey to attend the Miss Turkey Pageant and to hand on my national title.

In May I led the Turkish Day Street Parade in New York before travelling to New Zealand. There I joined Miss New Zealand in raising money for their Children’s’ Cancer Charity. We attended a tea party organised for the children and had a wonderful time with balloons, games and a huge cake. A charity dinner was organised with an auction and a fashion show. All the proceeds were donated to the charity and were used to build accommodation in the hospital for the parents of these small patients enabling them to stay with their children during the often arduous treatments. There was also a visit to a school to present a cheque for the school library. I had much pleasure reading to the children.

In the summer I went on a tour of China and was overwhelmed by the beauty and culture of the country. The Chinese and in particular the people of Sanya were very hospitable and made me feel so welcome. Sanya has a very special place in my heart. It is a true paradise with a tropical climate, palm trees, beautiful unspoilt beaches and green hills.

In August I went to Jamaica and what a joy it was to see the island and meet the people. It was a pleasure to meet Lisa Hanna (Miss World 1987) and to attend the Miss Jamaica Pageant, then on to Ireland for a lovely and hospitable time.

It was then a long flight to Australia. In Brisbane I met all the Miss Australia contestants and we all had a wonderful lunch with disabled children. Some of my most memorable experiences there included feeding a huge crocodile, holding a Kuala bear, touching a poisonous snake and meeting a 150 year old turtle.

The biggest challenge was training and competing in a televised sports tournament called “The Games”. This involved six famous celebrities who were trained over two months in six Olympic events (swimming, 100m. sprint, 80m. hurdles, hammer throwing, speed skating and judo). The training was hard, long and intense. You can imagine my joy when it was announced at the end of the week long competition that I was the joint winner. The cash prize for the winner was donated to my choice of charity and was given to Varity International.

I passed my title on in December 2003 in that beautiful town of Sanya, however,my busy life seems to continue working for “Yunctajuvant” (a Dutch charity which works for children across Europe), I’m appearing in a Turkish film and in July I will carry the Olympic torch for part of its journey through Turkey and so the wonderful journey which started when I won the Miss World Title seems to be continuing.

My ambition is to continue with the themes I have learnt through the ethos of “Beauty with a Purpose”. Raising money for charitable causes and showing that the Miss World Competition is not only about “beauty” but much more about the fellowship of womankind working to help the disadvantaged of the world.

Azra Akin, Miss World 2002

Special Features

Each week, BWP will present a new in-depth report on one of the many charity projects worldwide that has benefitted from the work of Julia Morley and the support of Beauty with a Purpose. Keep watching this space for more details on these special features.



Julia Morley



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