Yelena Ralph, 21, who made aliyah alone from Ukraine three years ago and currently resides in Ramat-Gan, was crowned 2005 Israel Beauty Queen Wednesday.
2004 Beauty Queen Gal Gadot kicked off the extravagant event, as she sang the opening number along with the 20 contestants, who were subject to grueling voice and dance lessons prior to the competition.
See photos of all the contestants!
This year’s panel of judges included Sarah Huri, part-owner of Italian mascara line “La Sera Milano," which sponsored the evening, hair stylist Miki Boganim, and 1998 Miss World Linor Abarjil.
This year marks the 14th time the Israel Beauty Queen contestants have volunteered for the children’s charity Variety Israel; five of the contestants met with Variety's children ahead of the competition.
And the winner is...
“I feel the volunteering has contributed to me personally, because it is really fun to give, and even more so to get back,” said one contestant.
Later on in the evening, a captivating Shiri Meimon gave an emotional rendition of “The silence that remained,” the song she is expected to perform at this year’s Eurovision song contest.
Another highlight was the performance of up and coming singer Liraz Cherchy, who belted out a rhythmic Persian tune along with the contestants, who wore bold-colored “Intima” bathing suits for the number.
Finally, the moment of truth arrived.
“Israel’s new Beauty Queen is a real Zionist, who made Aliyah three years ago without her parents,” Miryam Nofach-Mozes, the editor of “Laisha” weekly magazine announced.
“Her parents, whom she has not seen in a long while, are sitting in the audience with us. The 2005 Israel Beauty Queen is Yelena Ralph.”
The crowd on hand cheered and clapped. Israel has a new queen.