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Beauty with a Purpose

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Giselle Laronde - Miss World 1986


Miss World & Beauty With A Purpose

Giselle Laronde - Trinidad and Tobago

Stealing a kiss in Jamaica! Giselle visits the Maxwell Park Children’s village

A home for handicapped children in Warsaw, Poland
Children from the SOS Village in Banjul, The Gambia, entertain giselle with a song

November 13 1986 will always be a very special date for me. It was that night that I was crowned Miss World 1986, at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

My first day as Miss World was totally different to any other - imagine drinking Champagne and eating Strawberries for breakfast! The day continued with a television interview, a fashion shoot for Top Shop and a visit to their store on Oxford Street and an
appearance on Terry Wogan’s television chat show. That was the start of a wonderful year to remember - one full of experiences I will cherish.

In my 12 months I visited many countries: far more that I would otherwise have been able to see. These included Ireland, Scotland, Germ a n y, The Gambia, Senegal, Jamaica, The Cayman Islands, Belize, El Salvador, Poland and various parts of the USA.



Charity Homes

Not only did I visit all these countries, I also did a great deal of work for Top Shop, most particularly with the Cottage Homes Organisation. This is a charity dedicated to giving a home to and caring for retired people from the retail trade. I visited several of
their homes and was most impressed. All the residents and staff were quite wonderful and made me welcome.

The Miss World title is a unique title to hold. Not only did I have the opportunity to meet many distinguished people and be a part of the glamour and glitter of show business, but I also had the privilege of meeting and helping many beautiful, but deprived,
children from around the world. My first meeting with such children was in The Gambia. There I visited an SOS Children’s Village - a fascinating experience. Hundreds of orphaned and homeless children, all living together as a community in Banjul, the capital.
The community is made up of families; children in groups of eight are given a house, with a mother and father to look after and love them. Education is provided and the children grow in to happy, useful adults.



Hard Work

I really admire the people who work with them and, more so, the Miss World Organisation for helping children from all over the world, living so far from the London base. Much of my year was spent with charitable work in various countries but I also had the opportunity to some of this year’s Miss World entrants as I attended many election pageants and spoke with the winners.

One very important charity event in which I took part was a Fashion Show held in El Salvador. It was a huge success and well worth the hard work that went in to it. Event such as this are what I will look back on with pride in the years to follow. In each country I visited there was something special that will be forever in my memory, something that only I can identify with, and this is an exciting feeling. During my reign I had the opportunity of meeting many celebrities of films, television, radio, and sport which was a once-in-a-lifetime chance. My travels also meant that I was fortunate enough to see many interesting features in some of the countries.

In Poland, for example, not only did I meet some very special children, but I also visited a memorial site dedicated to Polish soldiers in Warsaw and I had the chance to wander through the old towns of Gdansk and Warsaw. Some people say that you can experience this through reading books but I can tell you, pictures cannot replace actually being there.


Each year the amount of money raised by Miss World to help children’s charities grows and grows.

Long ago we reported our first £20 million. Two years ago the final contribution was made to the £250,000 ward we sponsored in the Variety club Children’s Hospital at King’s College Hospital. At our suggestion, its name was changed from the Miss World Ward to the Mountbatten Ward, in appreciation of the services to charity of the great man, the late Earl of Mountbatten, who attended most of the Miss World charity lunches.

In 1985, proceeds were shared with the Variety Club. The £1m Scanner Appeal for King’s College Hospital was nominated to receive 50%. The appeal, chaired by Eric Morley, is fast approaching the £1m target.

Whenever the Miss World International President, Julia Morley, plans an overseas trip with Miss World to places like Malaysia or El Salvador, she ensures that it includes a charity event or visit to a children’s hospital or home. She is also able to feedback information about urgent demands for medical equipment or expertise. We’re proud too, that Miss World has sponsored over 50 Sunshine Coaches, including 25 in one year to 25 countries to celebrate its 25th Anniversary.

Working as International Ambassador for Variety Club International - the world’s greatest children’s charity - Julia Morley recently visited Poland and the Americas and arranged for children from these countries to come to the UK for life-saving surgery. This year also saw a trip to Ireland to help our Miss Ireland franchise holder, Krish Naidoo, raise money to buy a vital piece of equipment for Dublin’s Temple St Children’s Hospital.

Business it may be, but with the sick and needy constantly in mind, truly “Beauty with a Purpose”.

Julia Morley

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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