Alexandria Mills was all smiles when she was crowned Miss World on Saturday, making her the third American to nab the title in the pageant's 60-year history. Yet new reports are surfacing that suggest the 18-year-old's victory was primarily the result of ongoing diplomatic tensions between Norway and China following Liu Xiaobo's controversial Nobel Prize win, according to the Daily Mail.
The article cites Miss World authorities who speculate that judges at the ceremony, held in Sanya on China's tropical Hainan Island, may have bowed to pressure from officials in Beijing, who are said to be furious that the Oslo-based Nobel Prize committee honored Liu, a jailed dissident, last month. Though she was considered an early favorite for the Miss World title, Miss Norway Mariann Birkedal wasn't even named into the top five contestants.
"They must have mixed politics and business," 2002 Miss World contestant and Norwegian personality Kathrine Sorland told the Daily Mail. "Without jumping to conclusions, I would stress that Miss World competitions have always been political. And the relations between China and Norway are very strained at the moment."
As for Birkedal, the 23-year-old former Miss Universe has thus far shrugged off the speculation. "I have been very careful with speculating about that myself...it is kind of stupid to start thinking that if this or that had not occurred, I would perhaps have been Miss World 2010," she is quoted as saying. "I do believe everything happens out of a reason."