Alternative Miss World

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The Alternative Miss World is an art and fashion event presented in the form of a beauty pageant. It was founded by Andrew Logan in 1972, and has been held irregularly since, with the 14th competition held in 2018.[1][2] Alternative Miss World has been described as a "pansexual beauty pageant" where the "bizarre is beautiful",[1] and it has attracted figures from the world of art, fashion and entertainment, including David Hockney, Derek Jarman, Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood, Brian Eno, and Grayson Perry.[3] It is the subject of the documentary films The British Guide to Showing Off and The Alternative Miss World.


The competition follows the format used by Miss World whereby the contestants are required to wear three separate sets of costumes – daywear, swimwear and evening wear.[4] A panel of judges determines the winner based on the poise, personality and originality of the contestants. Judges have included Jarvis Cocker, Tim Curry, Billy Connolly, Brian Eno, Zandra Rhodes, David Bailey, Brian Clarke, Ossie Clark, Richard O'Brien, Molly Parkin, Anita Roddick, Zoe Wanamaker, Nick Rhodes, and Sir Norman Rosenthal.[5][6]

All the events were hosted by Logan, dressed half as a woman and half as a man. Many of the female halves of his costume were designed by Zandra Rhodes.[7] Logan may be accompanied by co-hosts, such as Divine, Grayson Perry, Julian Clary and Ruby Wax, and assisted by a "secretary". Notable participants include Derek Jarman who won in 1975 as Miss Crêpe Suzette, John Maybury as Miss Windscale Nuclear Power Station, Leigh Bowery as Miss Fuck It, and Grayson Perry as Miss St Claire Perry of Essex, dressed as Jesus on the Cross.[8][6]


The first Alternative Miss World was held on 25 March 1972 in the studio of Andrew Logan in Downham Road, Hackney which was a converted jigsaw factory.[9][7] The event was inspired by a visit to the Crufts dog show, and the contestants in the competition would be judged on the same criteria as the dogs at Crufts: poise, personality and originality.[4][10] The first event was attended by David Hockney and Robert Medley who were in the judges panel.[11] The second was also held in Logan's studio, with Angie Bowie appearing as one of the judges (it was claimed that David Bowie could not get in due to overcrowding at the place).[12] Other attendees included the cast of The Rocky Horror Show. Starting that year, the winner received crown jewels designed by Logan.[13] The third outing of the competition was held in Logan's new studio in Butler's Wharf, and a theme, "Wild", was introduced this year. The event was attended by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood where one of the contestants, Gaby Longhi, competed in ripped-up clothes with safety pins that would later become a feature of the punk style.[9]

The 1978 Alternative Miss World, with Divine as co-host, was filmed by Richard Gayer. The resulting documentary film, titled The Alternative Miss World, was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1980.[14] The Miss World organisation, represented by the future Prime Minister Tony Blair, attempted to block the film's showing at the Odeon in Leicester Square on the same night as the Miss World contest, but the case was dismissed by Lord Denning.[15][16][17]

The following Alternative Miss World in 1981 was the largest yet organised and it was held at the Grand Hall of Olympia in West Kensington, London. The scale of this event left Logan with a debt of £25,000, but he was helped by donations, including a painting from David Hockney. This event was later broadcast on Channel 4.[18] In 1986, Logan intended to use Chislehurst Caves in south east London as a venue, however, protests from the locals concerned about AIDS forced its relocation at short notice to the Brixton Academy.[19]

Although the competition is open to both men and women, it was only in 1986 that the first woman won – Jenny Runacre as Miss National Geographic.[20] The previous year's competition was won by a robot created by Bruce Lacey, Miss ROSA BOSOM (Radio Operated Simulated Actress Battery or Standby Operated Mains), which was first designed for a theatre production in 1966. The 1998 Alternative Miss World was won by 75-year-old Russian woman, Miss Pani Bronya, who became its oldest winner.[20] There has been a significant Russian presence since 1995, and the 2018 competition was won by the Russian performance artist Andrey Bartenev as Miss UFO.[21]


Andrew Logan is the host and hostess of Alternative Miss World.

Date Location Theme[22] Co-hosts Winner Ref.
25 March 1972 Andrew Logan's studio, Hackney N/A Patrick Steed (Miss Yorkshire) [7]
13 October 1973 Andrew Logan's studio, Hackney N/A Eric Roberts (Miss Holland Park Walk) [23]
22 March 1975 Logan's studio, Butler's Wharf Wild Molly Parkin Derek Jarman (Miss Crêpe Suzette) [3]
20 October 1978 Clapham Common Circus Divine, Molly Parkin Stevie Hughes (Miss Carriage) [10]
2 October 1981 Olympia Kensington Royal Imperial Molly Parkin Michael Haynes (Miss Aldershot) [10]
31 May 1985 Brixton Academy Water Janet Street-Porter, Simon Callow Miss ROSA BOSOM. (a robot by Bruce Lacey) [10]
13 October 1986 Brixton Academy Earth Jenny Runacre (Miss National Geographic) [10]
6 May 1991 Business Design Centre, Islington Air Rula Lenska Burnel Penhaul (Miss Gale Force Wind) [10]
1995 The Grand, Clapham Junction Fire Richard O'Brien Molly Burnel (Mademoiselle Jean d'Arc) [10]
12 December 1998 291 Gallery, Hackney The Void Miss Pani Bronua [20]
22 October 2004 Hippodrome, London The Universe Julian Clary, Matthew Glamorre Miss Secret Sounds of Sunbird Rising, CCCP [6]
2 May 2009 Round House, Camden The Elements Ruby Wax Veronica Thompson (Miss Fancy Chance) [24]
18 October 2014 Shakespeare's Globe Theatre Neon numbers Grayson Perry Sasha Frolova (as Miss Zero +) [25]
20 October 2018 Shakespeare's Globe Theatre Psychedelic peace Sara Kestelman Andrey Bartenev (Miss UFO) [26][27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dowd, Vincent (20 October 2018). "Alternative Miss World contest - the night where bizarre is beautiful". BBC News.
  2. ^ Sims, Alexandra (22 October 2018). "Here are the fabulous costumes you missed at Alternative Miss World". TimeOut.
  3. ^ a b Paskett, Zoe (12 October 2018). "Andrew Logan interview: 'Alternative Miss World isn't about gender - it's about letting the imagination run riot'". Evening Standard.
  4. ^ a b Bramley, Ellie Violet (20 October 2014). "Alternative Miss World: latex, inflatables and giant jellyfish". The Guardian.
  5. ^ "If Miss fits... Outrageous beauties vie for a crown". Camden New Journal. 30 April 2009.
  6. ^ a b c Gerry, Alex (25 October 2018). "The unbridled joy of the alternative miss world". i-D.
  7. ^ a b c Rimmer, Dave (2003). New Romantics: The Look. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9781783230273.
  8. ^ Crafti, Stephen (2009). Robyn Beeche: Visage to Vraj. Images Publishing Group Pty Ltd. p. 59. ISBN 978-1864703122.
  9. ^ a b Logan, Andrew (27 August 2014). "Andrew Logan: The King of Alternative Miss World". Civilian.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g "Andrew Logan's Alternative Miss World". Accent Magazine. 13 March 2017.
  11. ^ Miles, Barry (2010). "Chapter 25". London Calling: A Countercultural History of London since 1945. Atlantic Books. ISBN 9781848875548.
  12. ^ Moodley, Kiran (16 October 2014). "Freaks, robots and drag queens: The Alternative Miss World comes to Shakespeare's Globe". The Independent.
  13. ^ Smart, Harald (10 Oct 2018). "Welcome to 'Alternative Miss World', a Pageant Where (Almost) Anything Goes". The Love Magazine.
  14. ^ "The Wylde Interview: Andrew Logan -A Riot of Colour". Wylde. 20 October 2018.
  15. ^ Lovegrove, Keith (2002). Pageant: The Beauty Contest.
  16. ^ Hanson, Michele (17 April 2009). "Not your average beauty pageant". The Guardian.
  17. ^ Intellectual Property Law. Routledge-Cavendish. 2006. pp. 107–108. ISBN 978-1845680275.
  18. ^ "The Fifth Alternative Miss World (1985)". British Film Institute.
  19. ^ Paskett, Zoe (12 October 2018). "Andrew Logan interview: 'Alternative Miss World isn't about gender - it's about letting the imagination run riot'". Go London.
  20. ^ a b c Palmer, Judith (15 December 1998). "More wardrobe than Ikea". The Independent.
  21. ^ "Alternative Miss World: Logan's Long Running Peace & Love Happening". Artlyst. 21 October 2018.
  22. ^ "AMW History". Alternative Miss World.
  23. ^ "The Alternative Miss World – in pictures". The Guardian. 17 October 2014.
  24. ^ Weaver, Ann Marie (6 May 2009). "And The Winner Is ... Miss Fancy Chance!". ABC News.
  25. ^ Moodley, Kiran (22 October 2014). "The Alternative Miss World 2014: Andrew Logan's spectacle dazzles Shakespeare's Globe". The Independent.
  26. ^ Jones, Dylan B (October 22, 2018). "REVIEW: Alternative Miss World 2018". QX Magazine.
  27. ^ Buck, Louisa (23 October 2018). "Alternative Miss World contest brings psychedelic extravagance to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre". The Art Newspaper.

External links[edit]