Multi-talented Mexican volunteer and rehab worker, 26, is crowned the 68th Miss World at a jaw-dropping ceremony in China – beating Thailand and Uganda to the top spot
- Miss Mexico Vanessa Ponce de Leon, 26, has a degree in international business
- She was crowned at a glitzy event on the Chinese island of Hainan on Saturday
- The colourful ceremony included Sister Sledge performing We Are Family
- Vanessa is a speaker for National Youth Institute as well as working as a model
A Mexican model and volunteer was crowned Miss World at a glitzy event on the tropical Chinese island of Hainan on Saturday.
Miss Mexico Vanessa Ponce de Leon, 26, has a degree in international business, volunteers for ‘Migrantes en el Camino’ and is on the board of directors of a rehab centre for girls, according to the Miss World website.
She was crowned as the 68th Miss World by last year’s winner, Manushi Chhillar of India, in the coastal city of Sanya on Saturday.
The colourful ceremony included US group Sister Sledge performing their 1979 disco anthem We Are Family.
Speaking backstage following her win, Vanessa said: ”I can’t believe it, I really can’t believe it… And I think all the girls deserved it. I am proud to represent all of them.
Winning looks: Vanessa Ponce De Leon of Mexico (centre) was crowned Miss World in China this weekend (pictured with L-R: Maria Vasilevich of Belarus, Kadijah Robinson of Jamaica, Quiin Abenakyo of Uganda and Pichapa Limsnukan of Thailand)
Multitalented: Miss Mexico Vanessa Ponce de Leon, pictured during the prize giving ceremony, has a degree in international business, and volunteers for Migrantes en el Camino
‘I will do as much as I can in the time I have got. Thank you so much, everyone.’
Vanessa is a speaker for the National Youth Institute as well as working as a model and a presenter.
She has also qualified as an open water scuba diver and she also enjoys playing volleyball, painting and ultimate Frisbee.
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Her favourite TV show is ‘Downton Abbey’ and her personal motto is, ‘We all need each other.’
This year’s 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.
Miss Mexico Vanessa Ponce de Leon was crowned Miss World by last year’s winner, Manushi Chhillar of India. The colourful ceremony included US group Sister Sledge performing their 1979 disco anthem We Are Family
Miss Mexico Vanessa Ponce de Leon (L) reacts after being named Miss World, with runner-up Miss Thailand Nicolene Pichapa Limsnukan
Contestants perform on stage during the 68th Miss World final. This year’s winner has qualified as an open water scuba diver and she also enjoys playing volleyball, painting and ultimate Frisbee
Contestants perform on stage during the 68th Miss World final. It is the eighth time the pageant has been held in Sanya, on the Chinese tropical resort island of Hainan
It is the eighth time the Miss World final has been held in Sanya, which first hosted the pageant in 2003.
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.
The Miss World pageant, created in Britain by Eric Morley in 1951, is the oldest surviving major international beauty contest.
Vanessa has previously said of her humanitarian work: ‘I am a woman who is always searching for a purpose.
‘I believe in love, art and caring for others. I am a hard worker, a day dreamer and I am always trying to put a smile on the faces of the people I meet.’
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