Former Miss Ireland promoter Krish Naidoo dies
S African businessman said Ireland gave him chances he would not have had at home
Krish and Lelia Naidoo at their home in Dalkey, Co Dublin, in February 1993. He had said: “If you stand on Grafton Street any Saturday, you can pick out at least 20 Miss Worlds. They’re just scared to enter.” File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
South-African born, Krish Naidoo ran the Miss Ireland beauty contest for 30 years and was an international ambassador for the Miss World pageant.
Krish Naidoo, former promoter of the Miss Ireland contest, has died.
Mr Naidoo, who left apartheid-era South Africa in 1963, said he would not have had the same breaks in life had he stayed in his own country.
“The Irish gave me a good break, and I took chances,” he said in an interview with a South African newspaper before he died.
“Unfortunately, if I had stayed in South Africa, with the bans of apartheid, I don’t think I would have had the opportunities that I had.”
A promising footballer, Mr Naidoo had trials with Tottenham Hotspur, but was told by the manager Bill Nicholson to “stick to your studies”. In later life he became an associate director with the club.
He studied science at Trinity College Dublin and then pre-medicine at Queens University in Belfast. In 1967 he was involved in a traffic incident and was unable to walk for almost a year.
Mr Naidoo’s business career started when he opened Ireland’s first unisex hair salon.
He went on to own some of Dublin’s best known nightclubs, including Barbarella’s, Rumours and the Top Hat in Dún Laoghaire.
For the 30 years until 2010, he held the Irish licence for the Miss Ireland beauty pageant, which is part of the Miss World and Miss Universe competitions.
He credits former taoiseach Bertie Ahern with assisting him to become an Irish citizen in the early 1970s and said of Mr Ahern: “He was very helpful. He was also full of advice and support.
“We became good friends and have remained so ever since. I found him to be the most honest person. He’s truly a man of the people.”
Mr Naidoo is survived by his wife Lelia and his children, Krishna, Rajah and Natalya.
His funeral takes place on Tuesday morning to the Church of the Sacred Heart, Donnybrook, arriving at 11.20am for the Funeral Mass at 11.30am followed by burial in Deansgrange Cemetery.