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'I did my country proud' says Miss Ireland as she loses out on Miss World crown

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Miss Ireland, Jessica Hayes, during the final of the Miss World 2014 contest at the Excel arena in London

Miss Ireland, Jessica Hayes, during the final of the Miss World 2014 contest at the Excel arena in London

Miss South Africa Rolene Strauss

Miss South Africa Rolene Strauss

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Miss Ireland, Jessica Hayes, during the final of the Miss World 2014 contest at the Excel arena in London

Ireland’s Miss World contestant Jessica Hayes said she is not bitter about missing out on the crown and is delighted for the winner.

The Cork beauty lost out to Miss South Africa Rolene Strauss in yesterday’s final. But she said she has no regrets about taking part.

“It was an amazing experience,” Jessica told the Herald.

Jessica (20) looked beautiful when she took to the stage in a custom red fishtail gown with fishtail detail by Irish designer Debbie Carroll.

“She has done a couple of dresses for beauty pageants, so I am delighted to have her on board, and I was honoured to wear one of her dresses,” Jessica said.

“At Miss World, they ask you to bring a dress designed from someone from your country,” she revealed. “It gives designers an opportunity to showcase their work.”

The best part of the day was “representing my country,” she said.

“I am delighted for Rolene. She is so, so nice. I was delighted for her, she is such a genuine girl, and I got on really well with her, so if there was anyone that should have won it was her,” said a gracious Jessica.

All the contestants performed a dance as part of the event. 

“It was the same dance for everyone,” she said. “We had rehearsed everything down to a tee, so it kind of took away the nerves.”

During the pageant, Jessica revealed she got great support from her family who had travelled from Cork and Paris, as well as those living in London.

A party of about 20 were in the audience to cheer her on, including the Miss Ireland organisers.

Jessica attended the coronation gala last night at London’s ExCel centre. The 120 women from around the globe where whittled down to the overall winner – Miss South Africa’s Rolene Strauss.

The 22-year-old had been the hot favourite to claim the crown in London, and the medical student has held lifelong aspirations of competing in the beauty pageant.

When she was 15 years old, she won the Elite Model Look search in her native country and placed in the top 15 in the international search.

fdillon@herald.ie


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