Lebanese women have always contributed to the rise of Lebanon in many ways and through many aspects, and we are not stating only the obvious and evident of ensuring the perpetuation of the Lebanese people. Their contributions have encompassed literature, education, art, music, fashion, intelligence, patriotism, and activism for a better society; among the many others.
Beauty is just one of the aspects in which they have brought the name of Lebanon to shine in the world. Georgina Rizk was one of these striking examples, with an exceptional difference: She placed the Universe Crown of beauty on the head of Lebanon.
Georgina Rizk was born to a Lebanese father and a Hungarian mother who, herself, was previously married to an Italian by the name of Rossi. Georgina's half-sister, Felicina Rossi, was a famous Italian model who became a known fashion designer long-based in Lebanon.
Currently a main beauty pageant's judge for the Miss Lebanon contest, Georgina became a model at the age of fourteen when she landed her first job in modeling at Carlton Beach for a boutique prêt-a-porter called Mic Mac.
A praised Lebanese model, who was also a socialite, Georgina captured the hearts of the Lebanese nation in 1970, after she was crowned Miss Lebanon. In 1971, she went on capturing the world's attention when she was crowned Miss Universe, becoming the first woman from the Middle East and the fourth from Asia to win that highly challenging title.
However, in addition to her beauty and class, it was her poised and sincerely natural personality that most gained her the world's hearts and admiration.
Georgina stood out during the pageant's personal interview with her personality and simplicity. When the host asked her what advice she would give to a friend entering the Miss Universe contest, Georgina said, "It would be a great experience to enter a contest even if you do not win. It is still lots of fun and a wonderful experience."
In an early interview after the crowning, Georgina was asked about how she feels wearing her crown, and she answered with the following, "I feel great. It was a big surprise for me to be between the first five. I thought I would be between the first 12, but then I became between the first 5 and finally Miss Universe. It was unbelievable."
Unlike all other contestants, Georgina did not require professional beauty work to prepare herself for this great "universal" event. She, in fact, did her own makeup and hair with no help from the others. She was naturally confident in herself and the experiences she had already gained from her modeling career.
It is said that Lebanese all over the world cheered high and loud at the crowning moment. Hundreds didn't even wait for the event to end to convey her with their joy and greetings. In fact, Georgina stepped out of the stage and into her room to find already hundreds of telegrams from Lebanese people all over the world.
Georgina is currently married to the Lebanese singer Walid Tawfik since 1990 and is a mother to two children, Walid Jr. and Nourhan, and a son Ali from a prior marriage.
There hasn't been another Lebanese Miss Universe since Georgina, not that we lack outstanding Miss Lebanon entering that contest. There have been many speculations blaming international politics in that regard.
Whatever the reasons, and while we wish that our next Miss Lebanon gets the Miss Universe crown, we all know that Lebanese women don't need a crown to shine out in what they undertake nationally and internationally. They have been proven their value more than enough in so many fields and through many challenges and obstacles.