An 18-year-old brunette from South Africa was crowned Miss Universe 1978 in the finals of the annual beauty contest held in Acapulco, Mexico on Monday (24 July).
An 18-year-old brunette from South Africa was crowned Miss Universe 1978 in the finals of the annual beauty contest held in Acapulco, Mexico on Monday (24 July). The competition is always fiercely fought, but this year, the three weeks of miss universe events was marked by added drama, as the organisers attempted to quieten rumours that terrorists were planning to kidnap one of the contestants. In the event, there was no hindrance as the judges weighed up the dazzling smiles, curvacious figures and winning personalities of each of the 75 entrants.
SYNOPSIS: More than 4,500 people crammed into the Acapulco Convention Centre to watch the five finalists parade on stage in front of a set, which resembled an ancient Aztec or Mayan temple. The bouquet for fifth place was presented to Cecilia Rodhe from Sweden. Fourth place went to the entrant from colombia, Shirley Saenz, and the audience waited in noisy suspense for the announcement of the final three places. Betting on the competition had made the blonde Miss United States the favourite, and she was through to the final two after Guillermina Ruiz of spain won third place.
Miss United States, Judi Anderson from Honolulu, had won several of the preliminary rounds. But the ten-man jury reversed these earlier decisions by crowning her second and announcing that Margaret Gardiner from South Africa had won the title of Miss Universe. Miss Garduber, who lives in Cape Town, was one of the tallest contestants, standing 5 foot, 10 and a half inches (1.79 metres). Apart from her vital statistics - 38 - 28 - 38 (97 - 71 - 97) the judges assessed Miss Gardiner on her personality. Her declared hobby is writing poetry.
After being crowned, Miss Gardiner said the competition had proved that people from "all nationalities can get along together". Apart from the prize of 10,000 dollars, she will now begin a year of travelling the world undertaking a variety of commercial activities. The ceremony was watched by some 600 million people on television all over the world.