Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A day with Miss Universe

From my files:

July 10, 1984...Yvonne Agneta Ryding, a 21 yr. old nurse from Sweden has breakfast in bed in a $1,700-a-night suite at the Hotel Intercontinental in downtown Miami.

The night before a group of judges at the Knight Center declared her the most beautiful woman in the world and crowned her Miss Universe.

Her hometown newspaper, Kvallsposten, has hired me to document her first day as Miss Universe.

I, along with other photographers, reporters, Miss Universe officials and an ever-present chaperone set out for a day of sightseeing and shopping and photo ops.

I don't remember a whole lot of what happened that day. But thanks to this picture which I recently unearthed in my files, my final minutes with Yvonne are crystal clear.

After ditching her entourage, she retired to her room with just her chaperone, myself and and the Swedish reporter in tow..

Yvonne was exhausted and as her chaperone disappeared into another room, the world's most beautiful woman collapsed on the couch.

Finally, after a day of staged photo-ops, I finally had a candid moment.

I swung my Nikon FM2 in her direction and focused the 28mm lens and hit the motor drive.

I was able to snap three or four frames before the chaperone re-entered the room and scolded Yvonne for allowing herself to be photographed in a pose not befitting a queen.

But I already had the picture that perfectly summed up the 18 hours since young Yvonne had been told she was the fairest of them all.

The editors at Kvallsposten loved the picture and ran it on the front page with the headline: "EXHAUSTED."

Yvonne went back to Sweden and became a TV personality and now has her own line of skin care products.

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