The many faces of Katrina Hodge. AP Photo
If Katrina Hodge has her way, the world’s major beauty pageants may start looking a lot different.
A soldier in the British army, Hodge detained and disarmed a suspected rebel fighter with her bare hands while serving in Iraq. But she doesn't wear combat boots and Kevlar 24-7. Lance Cpl. Hodge is also a lingerie model for La Senza and was a contestant in last year's Miss England beauty contest. But don't assume those two very different occupations are mutually exclusive.
The soldier and model (nicknamed "Combat Barbie") recently convinced the organizers of the Miss England pageant to drop the ever-popular swimsuit portion. In England's Daily Telegraph, the multitalented woman remarked that posing in swimsuits just isn't fair to the contestants. "I think it's nerve-racking enough to girls to get up on a stage and speak, let alone in a swimsuit."
No argument here. Instead of strutting their stuff in swimsuits, the contestants will participate in a sports challenge, overseen by Hodge. The show's organizers pointed to the change as proof that their contest is always evolving. Apparently, looking good in a swimsuit is also irrelevant, as winners are rarely asked to appear in swimwear for public events.
News of the changes stirred up a lot of activity in the Yahoo! Search box. Online lookups for "katrina hodge pictures" and "katrina hodge army" both soared into breakout status. Additionally, searches on "miss world" surged an impressive 371% in just one day. Perhaps that will translate to more viewers.
Or maybe not. Back in 1994, when the Miss America contest asked viewers via a phone-in poll whether or not they thought the swimsuit portion should be discontinued, 73% of callers voted to keep it. In 2000, another poll was run, and 50% of viewers said they would no longer watch if the swimsuit portion was discontinued.