Wilnelia Merced

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Wilnelia Merced
Beauty pageant titleholder
Born Wilnelia Merced Cruz
(1957-10-12) October 12, 1957 (age 56)
Caguas, Puerto Rico
Title(s) Miss Mundo de Puerto Rico 1975
Miss World 1975
Major
competition(s)
Miss Mundo de Puerto Rico 1975
(Winner)
Miss World 1975
(Winner)
Spouse Bruce Forsyth (m. 1983)
Children 1

Wilnelia, Lady Forsyth-Johnson (born October 12, 1957 in Caguas), more commonly known by her maiden name as Wilnelia Merced, became in 1975 the first and to date only winner of the Miss World title from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

She travelled widely during her reigning year and was invited to pre-civil war El Salvador by that country's government. She fell in love with England, which she would later make her home. Winning at 18 years and 39 days she is currently the youngest woman to win Miss World.

After passing on her crown, in 1976, she was signed by Ford Models in New York. In 1978 a giant poster of her was displayed in Times Square, and she was introduced, in London at the 1980 Miss World competition gala to British television entertainer Bruce Forsyth. Merced and Forsyth married in 1983. While still a public figure at home in Puerto Rico she retired as a model after her wedding. They had a son in 1986. She has a foundation to help Puerto Rico's under-privileged children, for which she organizes charity balls.

Merced lives with her husband and their son, Jonathan Joseph, on the Wentworth Estate in Surrey, England. In 2002, during one of her visits to Puerto Rico, her home was broken into by thieves, who injured one of her maids.

In June 2011, it was announced that her husband, Bruce Forsyth, would receive a Knighthood. Consequently, Wilnelia is entitled to use the courtesy title 'Lady Forsyth'.

See also[edit]


Awards and achievements
Preceded by
South Africa Anneline Kriel
Miss World
1975
Succeeded by
Jamaica Cindy Breakspeare
Preceded by
Loyda Eunice Valle Blas Machado
Miss Mundo de Puerto Rico
1975
Succeeded by
Ivette Rosado

External links[edit]