Egyptian Beauty Queens of La Belle Epoque

Tuesday July 25, 2017
Written by Doaa Ahmed

The first Egyptian beauty contest was held in Egypt at the beginning of the 20th century. The photo of Yolanda Kassar appeared on the cover of Al-Musawwar Magazine – dated October 21, 1927 – claiming the title. Under her photo was written The Most Beautiful Girl in Egypt.

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Yolanda Kassar 

Charlotte Wissa was the first Egyptian beauty queen to be crowned Miss Universe in the 1935 competition in Brussels, Belgium.

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Charlotte Wissa

Antigone Constanda, an Egyptian of Greek origin, was crowned Miss World in the beauty pageant held in the U.K. in 1954. Constanda was a model and her winning opened the doors for her  international fame and landed her modeling jobs in France and Greece.

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Antigone Constanda

Several other local beauty contests were held in Egypt annually. In addition to Miss Egypt, there were also  Miss Summer, Miss Beach and Miss Golf contests. Also during the harvest seasons,  Miss Harvest contests weld held in Upper Egypt and in Alexandria to celebrate the various crops. The most prominent one was the Miss Cotton contest, as cotton was  one of the main sources of Egyptian  GDP.

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As the Egyptian movie industry thrived, these contests became a source to supply producers and directors with new cinematic faces. Winners of beauty contests were often offered roles in movies, which opened the doors for some to fame and glamour.

Here are some of the Egyptian celebrities who were former Beauty Queens:

Laila Fawzy

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Laila Fawzy was born in Turkey to an Egyptian father and a Turkish mother. Her father owned fabric stores in Cairo, Damascus and Istanbul. She won Miss Egypt contest in 1940 and was awarded a small role in the movie Wives Factory in 1941.

Mariam Fakhr El Din

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Mariam Fakhr El Din was born in Fayoum, Egypt, to an Egyptian father and a Hungarian mother. She received her baccalaureate from the German School in Cairo. Her photo won the title of ‘The Most beautiful Face’ contest by a French magazine and led to her renowned movie career.

Zebeida Tharwat

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Zebeida Tharwat was born in Alexandria. At the age of sixteen, she won a beauty contest organized by Al Geel magazine. Her prize was few minutes of screen time in the famous movie Dalia by Sahdia and Abdel Halif Hafez, and her career took off from there.

Laila Sho’air

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Laila Sho’eir was born in Cairo to an Egyptian father and a French mother. She started her career as a model. In 1964 she won the title of Miss Egypt, which opened the door to her short career in movies, as she soon left to France after she got married.

Dalida

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Dalida was born in the Cairo district of Shubra to an Italian family. In 1954, she won the title of Miss Egypt. She was 21 years old. She played a role in the Egyptian movie A Cigarette and A Glass, which didn’t receive much acclaim from critics. After winning the contest she travelled to France to become an actress. Her acting career never took off, but she became one of the most famous singers in France.

Karima

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Karima Abdulla was born in Alexandria and attended the Notre Dame French school in Zeitoun, Cairo. After she won the title of Miss Egypt in 1955, she played few roles in movies. She retired her short-lived career in 1961 after marrying the famous Egyptian singer and actor Mohamed Fawzy.

Ragaa El Gedawy

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Ragaa El Gedawy received her primary education in the Franciscan School. While in college, she won a modeling competition,  and was hired by Greek Egyptian designer Pierre Klofass to become a model. She also won  the Cotton Beauty Pageant in 1959, which landed her, her first role in the famous Egyptian movie The Call of the Nightingale.

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2 comments

  1. For sure it was La Belle Epoque !!!

    However, most of the beautiful ladies were not pure Egyptians with almost some western genes in their blood!!!

    * I don’t think that Yolanda Kassar was a pure Egyptian.
    * Charlotte Wissa, was of Greek origins.
    * Antigone Costanda, is Greek: Αντιγόνη Κωνσταντά.
    * Laila Fawzy, born in 1918 to a Syrian father and a Turkish mother.
    * Mariam Fakhr El Din, Egyptian father and a Hungarian mother.
    * Zebeida Tharwat, She is of Circassian descent.
    * Laila Sho’air, Egyptian father and a French mother.
    * Dalida (Yolanda Cristina Gigliotti), Her family immigrated from Serrastretta, Calabria, Italy.

    Like

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