Miss World runner-up from southern Lebanon wants to 'spread love'

Yasmina Zaytoun, a native of the city of Tyre, has made history as the first Lebanese woman to advance this far in pageant; While she didn't explicitly mention conflict with Israel, she emphasized that she 'did everything in my power to let our voice as Lebanese be heard'
Troubled Lebanon celebrated on Saturday, as 22-year-old Yasmina Zaytoun, a native of the city of Tyre in the country's southern region, clinched the runner-up title in the Miss World competition held in India. Despite the fact that her home region is currently embroiled in the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, Zaytoun refrained from making direct comments about the situation in her victory speech. Instead, she said: "I did everything in my power to let our voice as Lebanese be heard. I discussed the ongoing events in Lebanon and sought to show the world that we are a resilient and unique people."
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Zaytoun expressed pride in representing Lebanon and earning the runner-up title, marking the first time Lebanon has advanced this far in the Miss World competition. She reflected on her upbringing in Lebanon, saying, "I learned how to spread love wherever I go and how to command respect and stand up after a fall."
Although she didn't speak about the ongoing war, she did refer to the devastating explosion at the port of Beirut in 2020. "Even the biggest explosion in history cannot deter us from dreaming and achieving," she said.
Zaytoun's victory sparked numerous reactions on social media, with many lauding her achievement. Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati commented on her victory on his Twitter account, saying that, despite adverse circumstances, beauty remains a symbol of love and hope from Lebanon for the entire world. Walid Nassar, Lebanon's Minister of Tourism, told the French news agency AFP that her triumph, coming a day after International Women's Day, stands as a victory for every Lebanese woman.
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יסמינה זיתון
יסמינה זיתון
Yasmina Zaytoun
(Photo: Punit PARANJPE / AFP)
Renowned Lebanese singer, Nancy Ajram, offered her congratulations on her social media account. "Congratulations Yasmina Zaytoun, first runner-up for Miss World! You've showcased the best image of our homeland, Lebanon," she posted.
The top honor in the competition went to 23-year-old Czech Republic contestant, Krystyna Pyszková. The competition saw participation from 111 women in total, with the finalists vying for the title in the grand finale held in India.
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