Miss China Yu Wenxia, a 23-year-old music lover who wants to work with the poor, was crowned Miss World 2012 at a ceremony in Inner Mongolia, pageant organizers said on Saturday, according to Reuters.
Yu is a music student who says she wants to become a music teacher. “When I was young I felt very lucky because so many people helped me and I hope in the future, I can help more children to feel lucky,” Yu said after her win was announced.
“I love to smile and I like music,” Yu said in a video posted on the pageant’s website, in which she talks about her study of Chinese folk music.
The first runner-up is Sophie Elizabeth Moulds, a 19-year-old business student from Wales, and the second runner-up is Jessica Michelle Kahawaty, a law student from Australia, reports The Huff Post.
This is the second time Miss China has been awarded the title. The last time was in 2007 when Zhang Zilin took the honor. This is also the first time for the Inner Mongolian city of Ordos to host the international beauty pageant.
The city is one of the richest regions in China thanks to its abundant natural resources. The goverment believes that the world event will raise the city’s profile for economic development and tourism. Sanya, another Chinese city, has hosted the contest several times.
“Ordos could be the next Dubai,” Marielle Wilkie, representing the Caribbean nation of Barbados, predicted. Albanian contestant Floriana Garo agreed, saying, “In ten years, this city will be booming,” she said.
“Architecture in Ordos, where the city museum is shaped like an undulating blob, is “world class,” said Markysa O’Loughlin, representing St. Kitts and Nevis, also in the Caribbean.
The mostly Chinese audience erupted in cheers, and fireworks lit up the sky, when it was announced that the home candidate, Yu Wenxia, had been awarded the coveted title, according to ABS-CBN News.
Miss World 2011, Ivian Sarcos of Venezuela, handed over her crown to Yu, who wore a sparkling blue dress, in the futuristic Dongsheng stadium in the northeastern city of Ordos.
Mariana Reynoso, Miss Mexico, had been the bookmakers’ favourite for the title, but failed to make the last seven candidates despite a strong showing in the early rounds of the pageant.
A total of 116 contestants — the highest ever number to take part — took to the stage during the final in a variety of stunning gowns. A red ceremonial flag was passed over to representatives from the Southeast Asian resort island of Bali, hosts of the 2013 Miss World Final, during the ceremony.
Before the winner of the Miss World 2012 contest was announced, names of the winners of several side-contests were revealed as well. Miss South Sudan, Atong Demanch, won the Miss World Top Model 2012 title; Miss Wales, Sophie Moulds, took home the Beach Beauty award.
Miss India, Vanya Mishra, won two titles – Miss World Beauty with a Purpose and the Miss World Social Media award, with Miss Mexico, Mariana Berumen, running her a close second in the latter category.
Wenxia Yu, Miss World 2012, was declared Miss World Talent Champion 2012 and Miss Sweden Sanna Jinnedal bagged the Miss World Sportswoman 2012 award.
While the popularity of the contest, first held in 1951, has declined in Western countries, continued interest in Asian countries ensures that the final rakes in a huge global television audience.
Sweden’s Kiki Hakansson was the first Miss World, while Oscar-winning US actress Halle Berry was a finalist in 1986 and Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai took the crown in 1994.
Meanwhile, Venezuela has produced the most Miss Worlds, with six winners, while India and Britain claim five titles each.