Lifestyle

BAGHDAD (Web Desk) – Miss Iraq beauty pageant has been successfully held for the first time in over 40 years.

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Shaymaa Abdelrahman, a 20-year-old from Kirkuk, became the first person to claim the title of Miss Iraq since the event was last held in 1972. The pageant was held in a hotel in Baghdad and involved the eight contestants posing in dresses and high heels, before pitching ideas for charity projects to the judges.

Media reports say the jury’s decision was popular with the audience, especially in the back rows, where young men with beards and tight blazers had been standing on their chairs shouting her name.

“I’m very happy to see Iraq going forward,” Abdelrahman said as she tried to fend off a scrum of admirers. “This event was huge and put a smile on the faces of the Iraqis.”

There was more talking than posing during the pageant as the contestants, in high heels and evening dresses that were sleeveless but fell below the knee, pitched their charity projects to the jury.

The pageant was designed to meet enough international criteria to allow its winner to attend the next Miss Universe contest, but some elements, such as the guard carrying a Kalashnikov at the door, were uniquely Iraqi.

Abdelrahman said she would use her fame to promote education initiatives, especially among the massive population of people who have been displaced by conflict.

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Eight contenders competed for the crown and a chance to represent Iraq in the Miss Universe contest. Organizers tried to stick to criteria of the international event, but made concessions to cultural sensitivities.