The Italian Almanac

miss Italy in the world

Miss Italy in the World

The possibility to vie for the Miss Italy crown is now open to foreign contestants resident in Italy for at least one year, pageant organizers announced. Aspiring beauty queens can now take part in the parallel Miss Italia nel Mondo or Miss Italy in the World competition, formed in 1991 for women of Italian heritage living out of Italy.

Controversy rocked Italy's pageant world in 1997 when a woman of non-Italian ancestry, Denny Mendez, was crowned Miss Italy and went on to represent the country in an international beauty competition, leading some Italians to call for stricter rules defining 'Italian'.

Pageant organizer Patrizia Mirigliani said that she likes to call foreign competitors part of the "new Italians" and that she has had "very positive feedback from immigrant communities". The Catholic charity Caritas says that there are five million foreigners living in Italy, 300,000 of whom are women 18-26 years old, the required competition age for the Miss Italy in the World crown.