Yasmina Zaytoun reacts after winning the Miss Lebanon 2022 pageant at the Forum de Beyrouth in Beirut on Sunday night. AFP
Lebanese journalism student Yasmina Zaytoun won the Miss Lebanon 2022, which was held for the first time in 4 years.
The organisers of the competition wanted to send a message of "hope" in a country suffering from an economic crisis ranked among the worst in the world.
Zaytoun, 20, from the town of Kfarshouba in the south of the country, won the title that Miss Lebanon 2022 after Maya Raidy (2018) retained the title for four years as the competition could not be held during the past three years, initially due to popular protests in October 2019, then the COVID-19 pandemic and the country's financial crisis.
The elected queen, who studies journalism, is 167 centimetres tall and weighs 51 kilogrammes, and will receive a financial prize of $100,000. She will also represent Lebanon in the Miss World and Miss Universe competitions.
Miss Lebanon 2022 contestants pose on stage during the pageant at the Forum de Beyrouth in Beirut. AFP
Maya Abul-Hassan was the first runner-up, Jacinta Rashid, the second runner-up, and Lara Hrawi, the third runner-up, while Al Khalasiya Dalal Hoballah was the fourth runner-up.
Seventeen participants competed to win the title of the competition sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism under the slogan "We miss Lebanon", and it was broadcast by LBCE directly from the Forum de Beirut hall.
The jury consisted of musician Michel Fadel, influencer on social networks, Karen Wazen, general director of "An-Nahar" newspaper and website, Nayla Tueni, producer Mohamed Yahya, director of Caracalla Theater Ivan Caracalla, presenter Hilda Khalife, and Miss Lebanon for the year 1993 Samaya Shadrawi, and the current Polish Miss World Karolina Bilavska, who was replaced by the chairperson of the board of directors of the organizing body for the Miss World contest, Julia Morley, due to a health problem.
Yasmina Zaytoun is crowned by Miss Lebanon 2018 Maya Reaidy at the Forum de Beyrouth in Beirut. AFP
The contestants first wore a bathing suit, and then swayed in front of the audience and the jury in evening dresses designed by the Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika.
The jury then chose nine of the contestants, and its members asked them various questions.
Five participants then qualified for the final stage, and they were asked a unified question about their opinion of the Ministry of Tourism's campaign to promote the summer season in Lebanon and the region they choose to highlight in this context.
The Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram performed at the event, which included dancing and was presented by the Lebanese presenter and actress Aimee Sayah.
The return of this beauty contest, which was launched during the French rule in Lebanon more than nine decades ago, and has booked an annual date for it since the sixties, is symbolic in light of the stifling economic crisis that the country has been going through for nearly three years, during which the majority of the Lebanese are below the poverty line.
The repercussions of the multiple crises were evident in the statements of the contestants during the party, as a number of them touched on various problems experienced by the Lebanese, including the emigration of young people, the scarcity of medicines and strict restrictions on bank withdrawals.