Sun, 11 Jun 2000

Jakartan named Miss Indonesia 2000

JAKARTA (JP): Bernika Irnadianis Ifada, a 23-year-old university student from Jakarta, was crowned as Miss Indonesia 2000 on Saturday evening.

Bernika was chosen over the other 29 contestants and became the fifth winner of the pageant at the Tanah Airku theater of the Beautiful Indonesia-in-Miniature Park (TMII) complex in East Jakarta.

"I didn't expect this," she said shortly after being crowned by her predecessor, Alya Rohali.

Miss Universe 2000, Lara Dutta from India, in Jakarta on an official visit, was also on stage and presented a bouquet to Bernika.

Bernika vowed to do her best to carry out the responsibilities of being Miss Indonesia 2000 and will, among other things, promote failing Indonesian tourism.

"I promise," she said at the conclusion of the two and a half hours extravaganza, broadcasted live by Indosiar until 10:45 p.m.

AA Ayu Inten Leonny Dhamma Prativi, 19, a model from Bali was second, and Mandy Adriani Tutuarima, 20, a student from Yogyakarta was third.

No cabinet ministers were seen at the pageant, led by presenters Tantowi Yahya and Sarah Sechan. The government was represented by a Deputy for the State Ministry of Tourism and Arts, I Gede Ardika.

In her speech, Dutta said that she was strongly supported by the Indian government for her efforts in Cyprus where the Miss Universe pageant was staged.

The pageant was organized by Miss Indonesia Foundation (Yayasan Putri Indonesia) chaired by Mooryati Soedibyo who runs Mustika Ratu, a traditional cosmetic company. She holds the franchise of Miss Universe in Indonesia.

The 29 (originally there were 30) finalists have been isolated for several activities in a hotel in Jakarta since Wednesday. The contestants, aged between 18 and 24, are from the country's 27 provinces with five finalists from Jakarta and one representing North Maluku and Maluku provinces.

The Miss Indonesia 2000 pageant was held after a four year hiatus. Alya Rohali, now mother of a child, won the honor in 1996.

"The elected Miss Indonesia 2000 will represent the country as a tourist ambassador at international events, such as in London, Tokyo and Jordan," Mooryati told The Jakarta Post." The stage was enlivened with jokes from Sarah, who's also an MTV host.

While talking with Dutta, for example, Sarah -- speaking in Bahasa Indonesia -- reminded Tantowi, not to ask Dutta's telephone number.

Still in Bahasa, Sarah starred at Dutta and said: "She looks so pretty. What does she eat for dinner?" (nvn/bsr)