“Lebanese Is Chosen Miss Universe” – this was the headline written in the NY Times on July 25, 1971. What a proud moment it was for the Lebanese people all over the world!
Georgina Rizk, described by the New York Times as “a brown‐haired, green‐eyed, 19‐year‐old model from Beirut, Lebanon,” was chosen out of 60 girls competing from all over the world in Miss Universe, Miami Beach, Florida.
Rizk was born to a Lebanese father and a Hungarian mother who had a daughter from a previous marriage, Felicina Rossi. Felicina became a famous fashion model and then a fashion designer, currently based in Zalka.
At earning the Miss Universe title, Georgina went on to become a celebrity, and not only in Lebanon.
Years later, she married Ali Hassan Salameh, a leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which incited reactions of disappointment and anger in Lebanon, given the circumstances of the civil war.
Salameh was assassinated by the Mossad in 1979 while Georgina was pregnant with their first child, a son she would name Ali.
In 1990, she married the Lebanese singer Walid Toufic with whom she has two children. They currently live in Beirut.
Throughout history, Lebanese women have contributed to representing their country’s eminence through various forms and acts such as through art, literature, music, activism, fashion, education, and in the case of Georgina Rizk, representing Lebanon with beauty and class. She will always be a Lebanese icon.
From an old video of the 1971 Miss Universe event, here is the crowning moment of Georgina Rizk: