Meet Miss Israel 2014
18-year-old Mor Maman of Beersheba has been crowed as this year's Miss Israel
The first Ethiopian-born woman to be crowned Miss Israel, Yityish (Titi) Aynaw, bid farewell to her crown Tuesday evening and handed it over to the winner of the 2014 beauty pageant, 18-year-old Mor Maman of Beersheba.
Maman, who studies computer graphics, will soon enlist with the Israel Air Force. She comes from a family of beautiful women: Her mother, Ilana Maman, was once crowned Miss Beersheba.
"Participating in the Miss Israel contest is a dream come true for me," she said when she registered for the competition.
"Four years ago, our life changed. My mother fell down and lost her memory as a result of the fall. It was simply erased. I arrived at the hospital and she didn't know who I was. I was angry at the entire world, I began neglecting myself, and then my father had a heart attack.
"But I quickly understood that I had no other choice but to lift myself up. From a spoilt middle child I became responsible – cleaning, preparing food without neglecting my studies. When I graduated with honors and got on the stage to accept the certificate, everyone applauded. Fortunately, our house is functioning again and we're happy."
The beautiful Maman grew up as an overweight child. "Following the overweight, I began developing health problems," she said. "At the age of 13, while my parents were in Morocco for two months, I decided I wanted to be like everyone else. No one could stop me. For two months I mainly ate salads, did a lot of physical activity and lost 30 kilos as a result. I have not been overweight since then. I taught myself to eat right, and I exercise a lot.
"I started a Facebook group which helps girls who want to lose weight without falling to anorexia, Heaven forbid. When the group members are having a hard time, I give them hope. I tell them to follow their dream and not to give up. If I succeeded – anyone can do it."
'Beauty queen should lead social agenda'
The 64th Miss Israel pageant, sponsored by women's magazine Laisha, was held for the 13th time at the Haifa Congress Center.
One of the judges, event producer Motty Reif, explained what he was looking for in a beauty queen: "She doesn't just have to be famous. Look at what Titi did this year. She led a way, and I believe that each of the candidates has a social agenda she can lead. That's what I'm looking for."
Miss Israel 2013 Titi Aynaw (Photo: Anat Mosberg)
The event was hosted by Miss Israel 2001 Ilanit Levy, who said she had never dreamed of becoming a beauty queen, but "I got a gift and knew how to use it.
"The key word is professionalism," she added. "There are no shortcuts."
The 20 candidates – high school students, IDF soldiers and students – were selected out of thousands of girls who registered for the prestigious beauty pageant. The judges met with the 20 candidates several times, and at the end of the process selected the 10 finalists.
The new Miss Israel and the three runners up will represent Israel in international beauty pageants.
Reprinted with permission from Ynet News