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Who is the real owner of Miss Europe ?

On December 22, 2020, social networks announced the election of a new Miss Europe: Lara Jalloh. In the drafting, we are wondering about this young woman who is not the official representative of any committee we know. Our editor-in-chief, French by birth, knows well the history of this contest and is surprised that it is not the titleholder of Miss France or one of her runners-up who participated in this contest. We then tried to get in touch with the organization to better know those who seemed to have taken over this competition left a little abandoned in recent years.

ORIGINS OF MISS EUROPE

But before we dive into this investigation, let’s make a little bit of history. The contest of Miss Europe was founded by Maurice de Waleffe in 1928. It was already at the origin in 1920 of the contest of the most beauti- ful woman in France, which became the Miss France contest in 1927. This transformation came upon re- ceipt of an invitation to send a French representative to Galveston to participate in the first international announced the election of a new Miss Europe: competition: International Pageant of Pulchritude.

Delighted by this pageant, Maurice de Waleffe had the idea of about this young woman who is not the offi- offering a similar beauty contest to different European countries. The first Miss Europe was held in February 1929 at the Paris Opéra with the participation of 18 countries.

The competition was first interrupted by the Second World War. Maurice de Waleffe’s death in 1946 left the competi- tion without an organizer until its resumption in 1948 by two French entertainment personalities: Roger Zeiler and Claude Berr. Together, they founded the Mondial Events Organisation (MEO) which will operate the Miss Europe brand until 2002. Even the death of Claude Berr in 1981 would not interrupt the continuation of the competitions. Roger Zeiler will sue alone.

At the end of Miss Europe 2002, to the general surprise, Roger Zeiler announced that he sold the brand to Endemol France, which have also acquired Miss France in the same year. This subsidiary of the Dutch mastodon own then the two largest European competitions.

Continuing the organization of MEO, Endemol entrusts the license and production of this continen- tal event to various producers. In 2006, he sold the license to Omar Harfouch, a Franco-Lebanese businessman who is passionate about competitions and fashion. He organized the Elite Model Look competition in Ukraine from 1997 to 2000. Associated with his brother, he launches various beauty contests on the web.

But the tea towel burns very quickly be- tween the two parties, especially regard- ing the quality of the program or the vari- ous breaches of the contract, and all this little world find itself in court as early as 2007.

A BRAND AT A STANDSTILL

This passage through the justice box prevents Endemol from simply pursuing the exploitation of the Miss Europe brand, which explains the absence of this pageant from that year onwards. It was not until the judgment of the Court of Great Instance of Paris, as of 19 September 2010 for Endemol to convict the businessman on appeal and regain the enjoyment of his mark. We all looked forward to the restarting of the competition.

In 2016, our wishes are fulfilled since, as indicated on the Wikipedia page of Miss Europe, a new organization that presents itself as Miss Europe Organization announces the relaunch this con- test. They seem to ensure the continu- ity of the oldest continental competition. As proof, they announce that the winner will wear the same tiara as that worn by previous winners: the Chopard tiara estimated at 350,000 euros.

WHO IS BEHIND THIS REBIRTH?

We thought that Endemol had decided to continue to exploit its brand by en- trusting it to a new team or that she had decided to sell it since she was no longer using it. After some analysis of the competition, it seemed obvious to us that the current competition did not meet the standards imposed by the audiovisual company.

We followed the December 2020 election on the networks. No video, no photo of the election, just a picture announcing the winners. By searching a little, we discover that only four girls are present, which is easily explained by the lock- down imposed by the french government due to the pandemic.

Find this investigation in issue 2 of Inside Pageant.

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