NOT world’s first Miss World

The ‘world’s first’ stories have been shared online for years, they’re usually no more than just a picture with the claim that what it depicts is the first of it’s kind.
They rarely add any more information, even the most basic bit of background is left out and the questions from followers are ignored.
There are even social media accounts that post nothing but these claims, often not caring about if they are factual, only gathering as many followers and retweets as possible before they start posting sponsored messages or sell the account.
Don’t retweet or follow them.

This is one of those pictures, it claims it shows world’s first ‘Miss World.
It doesn’t.

The woman in this picture is Cléo de Mérode, a woman famous for dancing, performing but also for her looks and being glamorous.
Artist painted her, her appearance was known across the world.
She could perhaps lay claim to having been the first modern celebrity but she was not the first Miss World.

Original picture by Anton Blomberg, 1903.

The photo is sometimes shared with the claim that it is Bahal Sara, Miss World 1896, from India or Iran.
But I can’t find anything about this except on Pinterest.

The first Miss World contest (then named the festival of Britain Bikini Girl beauty contest) was organised in Britain in 1951, Cléo de Mérode was 76 years old at that time and did not take part in the pageant.
The winner was Kerstin “Kiki” Håkansson from Sweden, she was 22 and not easily confused with miss Mérode.

This is basic research, it is easy to get right, you don’t have to be an expert to realise something is dubious about the story and it takes literally just a few seconds to fact check these nonsense posts.
The people who share these clearly can’t be bothered.
Don’t follow them, don’t retweet them, don’t share their nonsense or at least correct them wherever you find them.

Oh and by the way, there’s a related picture doing the rounds that’s also fake history;


Although the description is correct the photo used is not a picture of Kerstin “Kiki” Håkansson but of Carole Joan Crawford who was Miss World in 1963, almost a decade later.

Miss World website
Cléo de Mérode on Wikipedia
Miss World on Wikipedia
Kiki Håkansson on Wikipedia
Carole Joan Crawford on Wikipedia
Carole Joan Crawford’s photo on Getty Images

Picture(s) found online, used for (re-)educational purposes only.
I do not own the copyrights to these images, I only share them here for educational purposes to try and make sure the real story behind it becomes known and people will stop spreading false information.

If the copyright owner objects to the sharing here, kindly contact me and I shall alter the article.
If you’re interested in using any of the images here get in touch with the copyright owners mentioned in the article.
Feel free to contact me with questions.

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