Sanya, China : Vanessa Ponce de Leon of Mexico has been crowned Miss World 2018, the organizers said on Saturday.
The 68th edition of the international beauty pageant took place in Sanya, a city on the southern end of China’s Hainan Island. It is the eighth time the Miss World final has been held in Sanya, which first hosted the pageant in 2003.
Ponce de Leon was crowned by last year’s winner, Manushi Chhillar of India.
Ponce de Leon is an international business graduate and is on the board of directors of a rehab centre for girls, the organizers said.
“She is a speaker for the National Youth Institute as well as working as a model and a presenter. Vanessa has qualified as an open water scuba diver; she also enjoys playing volleyball, painting and ultimate frisbee,” the Miss World Organization (MWO) said in a statement.
Her favourite TV show is the British historical period drama “Downton Abbey” and her personal motto is “We all need each other,” the WMO said.
A total of 118 women competed for the title. Miss Thailand was the first runner-up, while contestants from Belarus, Jamaica and Uganda completed the top five.
The organizers say 1 billion people watch the show on television. “When combined with its social media and website, Miss World has reached more than 2 billion people in the run up to the final,” the MWO said.
Performing their 1979 hit song ‘We Are Family’ Sister Sledge got the Miss World audience dancing and singing along…to what felt like a global anthem. Then Manushi Chhillar, Miss World 2017, took to the stage for her final walk looking stunning as she prepares to pass on the Miss World Crown to her successor.
Then the time came to announce the new Miss World!
First runner up was Thailand’s Nicolene Pichapa Limsnukan, a 20-year-old studying business administration. Miss Belarus Maria Vasilevich, Miss Jamaica Kadijah Robinson and Miss Uganda Quiin Abenakyo were also among the final five.
Taking her place as Miss World Americas is Panama.
Joining the Continental Queen family is New Zealand as Miss World Oceania.
Now all these ladies get to travel with our new Miss World, Vanessa Ponce de Leon, on the Miss World 2019 Beauty with a Purpose tour.
In another surprise announcement this evening all five Beauty with a Purpose finalists will also be joining the tour.
At the finals three years ago controversy erupted as officials in Hong Kong stopped Miss Canada, Anastasia Lin, from boarding a plane bound for Sanya, telling her she would not receive a visa.
The 25-year old actress claimed the decision was due to her stance on China’s human rights record, including its persecution of Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual group of which she is a practitioner.