A panel of judges awarded the title of Miss Israel to Aynaw Yityish, at the International Convention Center Haifa on Feb. 27. The freshly crowned beauty will meet with not only the President of Israel but also the President of the United States. Members of the white house staff, reportedly wanted Yityish to join the exclusive event with over 120 guest in order to share her unique story during Obama’s first visit to Israel.
“Ten years ago,” she told Yedioth Ahronoth, “I was walking around barefoot in Ethiopia and I never imagined that one day I would be in the Land of Israel, meeting the Israeli president and The President of the United States. I could never have imagined such a powerful and exciting situation.”
On her win the beauty said “It’s important that a member of the Ethiopian community wins the competition for the first time,” she was quoted by Israeli media as telling the judges in response to a question. Later adding, “There are many different communities of many different colors in Israel, and it’s important to show that to the world.”
Yityish, 21, was born in Ethiopia and made Aliyah (moved to Israel) with her family when she was 12. She served as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces and just this evening was named Miss Israel 2013.
During the competition, Aynaw referenced Martin Luther King Jr. as one of her heroes, saying, “He fought for justice and equality, and that’s one of the reasons I’m here: I want to show that my community has many pretty qualities that aren’t always represented in the media.”
Pageants over the past decade have changed their image. Pageants was once seen as an ‘end-all’ where a beauty wins a title and have achieved their dreams at such a young age. However, title-hopefuls and winners view pageants especially ones with a high publicity such as those run by the Miss Universe Organization as a stepping stone in a multitude of possibilities for whatever their passion may be. Prior to winning her title reigning Miss USA Nana Meriwether, was in the process of MCATs and applying for medical school, former Miss Jamaica Yendi Phillipps has her own foundation in her native country giving aid and assisting with healthcare while being a television personality and even being featured on America’s Next Top Model.