It’s been an extraordinary week for Jewish beauties.
In Kiev on Friday, France’s Alexandra Rosenfeld was named Miss Europe. On Saturday, in Columbus, Ohio, Stephanie Wiseman, a senior at Ohio State University, was crowned Homecoming Queen. And that night, in Palm Springs, Calif., Israel’s Nathan Shaked was named International Mr. Gay.
All three victories were rich in historical significance. Rosenfeld, 19, was France’s first Jewish representative at the Miss Europe competition. Wiseman, 21, together with fellow senior Michael Starr, made up what is most probably the first all-Jewish king-queen duo in Ohio State history. And Shaked, 37, is the first Jew to be named International Mr. Gay, an achievement made no less remarkable by the fact that the contest is only in its second year.
The winners were rewarded handsomely. Along with her diamond-studded crown, Rosenfeld, a native of France’s Languedoc region, won close to $130,000 in prize money. Wiseman, who hails from Needham, Mass., took home a check for $500 and a class ring. And Shaked, of Tel Aviv, walked away from his competition with a modeling contract and a Caribbean cruise.
All three victors are notable for their well roundedness, both literal and figurative.
Rosenfeld, who has said that her “reference book” is Primo Levi’s “Survival in Auschwitz,” is a beauty with a social conscience. Earlier this year, she took part in a march against antisemitism, which was prompted by the brutal murder of Parisian Jew Ilan Halimi.
Wiseman, an economics and marketing major, is president of the Ohio State Panhellenic Association, the body that governs the campus’s 15 sororities. A go-getter with a personal Web page that could put many a corporate site to shame, she signs her e-mails with a quote she attributes to Donald Trump: “If you are going to be thinking anyways, you might as well think big.”
Shaked, who holds a law degree from London’s Brunel University, mixes brains with brawn. He owns a chain of fitness clubs and has competed in five Ironman triathlons.
All three winners will spend the year to come as ambassadors of good will, champions of their schools, their lands, their causes. For Wiseman, the results are already apparent: Immediately after she was crowned queen, the Buckeyes — before a crowd of 106,000 — subjected the Golden Gophers of Minnesota to a humiliating 44-0 defeat on the football field.