54th place – Georgina Rizk – Miss Universe 1971

54th place – Georgina Rizk (Lebanon)

(Our judges are: Greg Borowski, Willian Prendiz de Jurado, Edwin Toledo (Times of Beauty), Ricardo Guiraldes (Chilean Charm), Julio Rodriguez (Belleza Venezolana), Alberto Dubal (Miss Memorabilia), Jimmy Harris (Beauty School), Pepe Medel, Jean-Marie Vandecasteele, Andre Sleigh, Rose Foulger, Luis Trujillo. From GB, Ed Dominguez, Henrique Fontes, and Chris Kuntz)

1971 was the last of the Miami Beach years, after that, Miss Universe would take on the world, being held in different countries every year, mostly in Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia. To close the “Miami Beach era”, the Middle East elected its first Miss Universe, Lebanon’s Georgina Rizk.

Georgina had competed in Miss World 1970 and failed to advance to the semi-finals, so the press covering Miss Universe did not pay much attention to her in the beginning, favoring the candidates from France, Finland, Brazil, Israel and Philippines. The latest one, chosen as Miss Photogenic, surprisingly was not even a semi-finalist. Other press favorites who stayed behind were Colombia and Portugal. Both were expected to advance, but failed to do so.

Tribute: the Lebanese government issued stamps to honor its first (an so far only) Miss Universe

Speaking of surprises, there were a few good ones among the candidates who  did make the cut, like the lovely Cherrie Raphaelia Creque, Miss Virgin Islands, or yet another beautiful Caribbean, Beba Franco, coming from the country which had won the title one year earlier, Puerto Rico.

After a great swimsuit presentation, Miss Lebanon was even more impressive and daring in the evening gown parade, when she hit the stage wearing a very revealing top and hot pants. She made an unforgettable fashion statement and bagged the Miss Universe crown, the first (and so far only) won by Lebanon, and the 4th won by an Asian beauty.

The other finalists were Australia, Tony Suzanne Rayward (1st runner-up), Finland, Pirjo Aino Laitila (2nd) Irene Laitila, Puerto Rico, Beba Franco (3rd), and Brazil, Eliane Parreira Guimarães (4th ). The exclusion of Miss France from the “top 5” was widely commented by the press and people in general, after all, she was considered by many the #1 front-runner for the crown that year.

Never before a Miss Universe needed so much security to attend her activities, but Georgina did a good job fulfilling her duties. However, after a few months she put on some considerable weight, making headlines around the world.

In the 1972 Miss Universe pageant in Dorado, Puerto Rico, Rizk was not allowed to crown her successor due to government restrictions because of fears of a terrorist attack. Such fears were triggered when, two months prior to the pageant, bombings occurred outside the hotel in which Miss USA, Tanya Wilson, was then staying. In addition, a group of Japanese hired by Arab terrorists, attacked the international airport in Tel Aviv and killed twenty-two Puerto Rican tourists. The Puerto Ricans were en route to the Holy Land when the massacre occurred. Lebanon did not compete in 1972 and Georgina could not be there to crown Miss Universe 1972.

She was married in 1976 to Ali Hassan Salameh, a Palestinian national with Black September, who was assassinated in 1979 by the Mossad. Georgina Rizk is currently married to renowned Lebanese singer Walid Toufic, with whom she has two children.

Georgina as Miss Universe (left) and in her daring evening "gown" (right)

top 5: Brazil (5th), Puerto Rico (4th), Lebanon (Miss Universe 1971), Australia (2nd) and Finland (3rd)

Favorites: France (left) stopped in the "top 12"; Philippines (right) won Miss Photogenic, but was not even a semi-finalist

40 comments to 54th place – Georgina Rizk – Miss Universe 1971

  • Rica Tililing

    miss photogenic 1971 – look alike of miss photogenic 2007

  • KL

    Rizk’s evening gown looked more like a national costume. I believe it wasn’t until Miss Japan in 2004 that a contestant show off her midriff in the gowns portion of the pageant.

  • taddercountryman

    Ella, Angela Visser del 89 y Mpule Klagowe de 1.999, son las tres Miss Universo que conforman un sub grupo dentrod el Miss Universo, conformado solo por ganadoras que participaron previamente en el Miss Mundo (70, 88 y 97, erspectivamente) y no tuvieron ninguna figuracon en dicho concurso. Ese año Venezuela envio a una mujer de un rostro precisoso (con un cuerpo horrorosamente gordo), Jeannette Donzella (con un increible parecido a Sophia LOren)y no figuró, de hecho nunca fue favorita

  • taddercountryman

    Por cierto, ese año la primera finalista fue Autralia y al año siguiente se inició otro grupo dentro del Miss Universo, la de los paises ganadores que en el año anterior habían sido primera finalista, dentro de ese grupo se encuentran, Autralia 71-72, Canada 81-82, Puerto Rico 2005-2006 y Japón 2006-2007 y dentro de ese grpo Australia forma otro sub grupo que s el único páis con una seguidilla 2da, 1era y ganadora (70, 71, 72), no incluyo el 69 porque fue 2 y no 3era jejeje. Ya hablare de otros grupos y sub grupos dentro d el Miss Universo

    • Joseph

      Puerto Rico tambien tiene una seguidilla igual que Australia: 2da, 1era y ganadora (2004,2005,2006)…..solamente me gustó la del 2005 por cierto.

      • taddercountryman

        cierto, error corregido, Puerto Rico y Australia tienen la misam seguidilla, fue me confiè en mi memoria y no verifiquè la inormaciòn que tenìa, pensè que ese año habìa sido cuarta finalista y no segunda y noconfrontè la informaciòn jejeje, pero efectivamente es como tu dices, son dos los paises con esa misa seguidilla, saludos

  • Luis

    I remembered this edition was the second Miss Universe I saw in my life and it was thrilled to see my native country Puerto Rico going in strong competition after the crowning of Marisol Malaret the previous year. Beba Franco did a good job but many of us believe that she screwed it big with the final answer. When Bob Barker asked her “If you ever have a friend that is going to enter the Miss Universe contest, what advice will you give her?” and she answered “to be on the ball all the time with a big smile”. The term “on the ball” (en la bola) at time in Puerto Rico meant to be in the highest moment or enjoying the best of time (you can name a lot of meanings). Obviously it was not a popular slang around the world and for Miss Universe it could have meant a sexual connotation. Georgina Rizk gave a fantastic answer and advice for what it worth. Georgina became controversial not for her will but the events surrounded the Middle East at that time and if I am not wrong, she feared to be attack when she passes the crown to the next Miss Universe which edition was held in Puerto Rico. One chapter related to the problems in that area at that time and sometimes forgotten is that months before the pageant Puerto Rico mourned a group of people that went in a trip to Israel and were victims of a terrorist shooting at the Tel Aviv airport.

  • Ali

    I think that Georgina Rizk is very underrated by Global Beauties and I wonder why! 10 years ago she also got one of the lowest places by Global Beauties! It’s not fair! There is no logic to consider Riyo Mori, Mpule Kwelagobe, Wendy Fitzwilliam, Michelle McLean etc. as prettier than Georgina!!!!!
    Georgina’s face was considered very beautiful in the 70’s, maybe the pictures don’t do justice to her, but she was really very beautiful, you have to watch the 3 movies in which she acted and you will see how beautiful she was, you will change your opinion about her I assure you.
    By the way, Georgina is half-European from a Hungarian mother, she has a half-sister named Felicina Rossi (from the same mother but an Italian father), Felicina was also a beautiful model and a fashion designer and it’s her who designed the very famous evening gown that Georgina wore in Miss Universe.
    I can say objectively that Georgina is surely prettier than (at least) half of the Miss Universe winners, and she deserves to be among the top 30 places at least; but being elected in an old year and being issued from a small Arab country work against her! I know that the winners of the recent years (and who come from big countries) have more advantage to be elected as the most beautiful Miss Universe, and I will not be surprised if I know that Jennifer Hawkins or Nathalie Glebova is the eventual winner (although they are not really the prettiest!).
    P.S. In 1972, a French magazine elected Georgina Rizk as the most beautiful Miss Universe (1952-1972).

    • Tina

      I agree that Miss Universe winners who were crowned in earlier editions of the pageant have a disadvantage in a contest like this. Even with technology like Youtube that allows us to re-watch their pageants and victories, there is still a disconnect because most pageant fans of today cannot relate to the tastes of beauty from those earlier time periods. Many current pageant fans only jumped onto the Miss Universe bandwagon a few years ago and they don’t even know who was crowned before Dayana Mendoza. Alas, that’s time. It passes by. However, I love how many pageant fans who use this contest’s comments function are aware of these earlier Miss Universe winners and many of you have also presented interesting information that I never knew about. That’s the real fun for me!

    • Lily

      I am sorry… I was originally going to ignore your post however I cannot resist pointing out your hipocrisy. Here you are complaining that you think the more recent Miss Universe winners will have an advantage over those crowned earlier. But your postscript (or “P.S.”) just said that “In 1972, a French magazine elected Georgina Rizk as the most beautiful Miss Universe from 1951 to 1972. Well, duh — in 1972, Georgina would’ve been one of the more recent winners (if not the reigning one – if the contest was not held yet) and so it appears that magazine you so happily use as a resource of Georgina’s beauty back in 1972 is just as guilty as the site you’re complaining about. Hipocrisy is a one-way mirror!

      • Ali

        Sorry! I am not hypocrite. That was a real info, a fact, and everybody in Lebanon know that info (that Georgina Rizk was elected as the most beautiful Miss Universe by that important magazine that I don’t remember the name). But if you want to mean that she was elected the best because she was one of the more recent winners at that time, I don’t disagree with you; on the contrary, I approve what you say and I think in my turn that the fact that Georgina was one of the recent winners at that time might have influenced that magazine in its election and decision, why not? :)
        With my postscript, I wanted to point out that Georgina’s beauty was very much appreciated and loved at that time and not depreciated or disliked like now. At that time, they used to love the calm innocent natural beauties, but nowadays the criteria of beauty changed and people started to prefer sexy fake beauties and disparage the innocent natural beauties.. Slutty unnatural figures are now more appreciated than the innocent natural ones. :D

  • Tina

    For me, Georgina’s “harem” styling during EG is iconic. It was indeed a universal look and it showed cultural flair as well as her own personality, which is lost today with overused cookie cutter Sherri Hill gowns. The only other delegate to ever sport harem pants during a Miss Universe EG competition, albeit less revealing than Rizk’s, was Miss Turkey 1990, Julide Ates, who placed in the semi-finals at Miss Universe 1990.

    I wish Georgina’s reign was not marred by politics as much as it was but I am happy that she won and gave Lebanon a major pageant victory, which the nation did not see again until thirty one years later when Christina Sawaya was crowned Miss International 2002.

  • WilliamNYC

    Miss France looks like Sex Symbol Raquel Welch.

    A few years ago, I got a hold of the 1971 Miss Universe video.What impressed me the most, was the wild enthusiasm of the Brazilian fans when Miss Brazil made it to the top five. I could watch that part over and over again.

  • Ava Gardner

    INCOMPREHENSIBLE! It absolutely makes no sense to rank so low a luminous and vibrant beauty such as Georgina Rizk. She is by far more beautiful than the likes of Marisol Malaret, Karen Baldwin, Michelle McLean, Zuleyka Rivera and Riyo Mori (to name just a few). THIS IS A BAD DECISION!!! She also had so much PIZAZZ and STYLE! I also think FRANCE should have at the very least been 1st runnerup in MU 1971. Leaving France out of the Top 5 in 1971 was like leaving CAROLINA IZSAK of VENEZUELA out of the TOP 3 in 1992.

    • Sami

      True! I agree. This is nonsensical. 10 years ago they also placed Georgina so low in this contest, they ranked her 47th (as I remember) out of 49 Misses!!! In fact there are a lot of plain Misses Universe who deserve to be ranked this low instead of Georgina! Actually 70% of the Miss Universe winners were not really pretty and certainly Georgina is more beautiful facially than them. But there is definitely no objectivity in judging the Misses! I am sure some judges give high scores (by nationalism and subjectivity) to the winners which are from their own countries no matter how they looked! Shame!

    • A.

      True! I agree. This is nonsensical! Ten years ago they also had placed Georgina too low in this election, they ranked her (as I remember) in the 47th place out of 49 Misses Universe! Well, in fact there is a lot of plain Misses Universe who deserve to be ranked this low instead of Georgina. Actually 50% of the Miss Universe winners were not really pretty and certainly Georgina has a more beautiful face than them. But there is definitely no objectivity in judging the Misses! I am sure there are some judges who give high scores (by nationalism and subjectivity) to the winners who were from their own countries no matter how they looked! Shame!

      • Pulcher

        Just a correction: 10 years ago, there were 50 Misses Universe (not 49) in the MBMU countdown (as Miss Universe 2001 Denise Quinones was also included), therefore Georgina Rizk was in the 47th place out of 50 Misses Universe (not 49 Misses). ;)

  • FTLA

    Easy folks…this is exactly why there shouldn’t be a Most Beautiful Miss Universe contest. This kind of blog provokes disharmony and harsh argument, which are the polar opposites of what Miss Universe represent. The judges’ placings would be completely different from another judge panel. So think of it as a random Miss Universe recall of all the winners starting with Miriam Stevenson and ending with whovever; and there can never be a “Most Beautiful” if there’ll always be a new Miss Universe that could supplant the first place position. Karen Baldwin trailed in ss and eg but she won ala Mpule, Dayanara, and Dayana; Riyo lacked in eg but had a strong final answer; Michelle McClean is the 1 of 3 women from Africa. This proves that judges’ decisions are all subjective and unpredictable but the winner will always be first regardless of what future comparisons to other winners will be.

    • David

      To FTLA: “This kind of blog provokes disharmony and harsh argument, which are the polar opposites of what Miss Universe represent”. Are you nuts?? Isn’t Miss Universe about competition also? Get real! Is it because a Miss Philippines is not well ranked? Guys, hellooooo: only Filipinos complained about it. The rest of the world thinks Gloria Diaz did not deserve to win. But good for you that she did it. And the name of the contest is clear: “The Most Beautiful Miss Universe 1952-2010″. GB, keep up the great work! Mostly results are as fair as they can get!

  • FTLA

    To David: Point taken, but no, I am not nuts. And I didn’t gain anything from Gloria Diaz being Miss Universe 1969. It’s good to recall all the winners regardless of what place they are in this competition, regardless of whoever complains, and regardless of what the rest of the world thinks. Personally, I think Natalie Glebova or Shawn Weatherly will be the top 2 but if neither of them are in the top 2, I won’t complain and I’m sure whoever else does will deserve it. Peace to you, peace to everyone.

  • Hansa

    These queens r underrated: Stefanie Fernandez(Miss Universo 2009) is plain, ugly and boring. She is no 60.

  • Nat

    Natalie Glebova is obviously a product of plastic surgery

  • Hansa

    Hope next on the chopping block is …Stephanie Fernandaz (Miss Universo 2009). Period!

  • cejotama


    • taddercountryman

      ARRIBA STEFANIA, IRENE, DAYANA,MARITZA, BARBARA y bueno por no dejar, la loca de la familia, tabien de defenderemos mi loca YOSEPH (mejor conocida como alicia)

  • KL

    I noticed that Judge Toledo so far have only given out scores of 8.

  • juli

    Cejotama I agree with you about Stephania.

  • taddercountryman

    HANSA, yA SE QUIEN ERES TU, DEFINITIVAMENTE TU TIENES QUE SER zuleyka rivera que está escribiendo al igual que el resto de nosotros por un pseudónimo, pero te acabas de descubrir zuleyka, Stefania, es una de las mejores Miss Universo de todos los tiempos, llamemósla la Irene Saez de esta generación es mucho mejor Miss UNiverso que tu, es que definitivamente, cualquiera de las 59 mujeres de verdad que ha tenido la historia del concurso es mejor Miss Universo que tu, porque como ya lo dije antes tu eres un travesti. Saludos desde venezuela. Por cierto la semana pasada vi una foto tuya en una portada de una revista y con los años te has puesto peor, aparecías con un peinado finales 70 comienso de los ochenta (full laca) que resalta en todo momento el hibrito Michael Jackson/Ru Paul que eres.

  • pop

    My 54th place is Miss Universe 1997 Brook Lee from USA. Her score is 8.883

  • Dave

    Georgina is very pretty but the pictures they have of her online are not good bc they are old old bad quality she looks like an old woman in them maybe if they had better clearer pictures of her she would have ranked higher..

    I would like to share this video (an extract of a movie in which Georgina acted) :

  • Georgina Rizk is our Lebanese PRIDE!!!!! oh well, at least she is a natural beauty

  • Andres

    It’s crazy to me the girls that were being elected back in the day. I think to myself and ask myself if let’s say Lupita Jones, Chelsi Smith, Brooke Lee, Mpel, the girls from Thailand were competing in today’s time would they even advance to semifinals?

  • Kate

    Georgina Rizk ranked 47th in GB’s 2001 contest.

  • Javierox

    here I must admit Georgina Rizk could have received a place a little bit higher than a 54th

  • Alex

    This one deserves a better position here in my view.

  • Ken

    We need better pictures of her. I think she looked good in those postage stamps. I cannot honestly say that she deserve this ranking yet. She is one of only two Middle Eastern Miss Universe winners afterall, so if we would like to spread the wealth, she probably should go higher.

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