Miss China, a 23-year-old music lover who wants to work with the poor, was crowned Miss World 2012 at a ceremony in Inner Mongolia over the weekend.
Wearing a sparkling blue gown, Yu Wenxia waved to the audience in the Dongsheng Stadium in Ordos, located in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Organisers said Yu beat 115 contestants, a record, in the highly publicised annual international beauty pageant.
China also won the Miss World title in 2007, when model Zhang Zilin took the crown.
“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.
Yu triumphed on home soil during a glitzy final held in a mining city on the edge of the Gobi desert.
Miss Mexico, Mariana Reynoso, 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.
Sophie Moulds, a 19-year-old business student from Wales, took second place. Jessica Kahawaty, 23, a law student from Australia, was third.
Last year’s Miss World, Ivian Sarcos of Venezuela, handed over her crown to Yu in the futuristic Dongsheng stadium in the north-eastern city of Ordos.
The final, watched by a worldwide television audience of an estimated 1bn viewers, included a nod to the culture of Inner Mongolia, with a performance by a group of Mongolian musicians playing the erhu, a traditional two-stringed instrument.
Ordos, which sits around 700km from the nearest beach, was an unlikely setting for the world’s biggest beauty pageant.
The city has grown rich over the past decade on the back of a coal mining boom that has transformed it from a sandstorm-afflicted backwater into one of the wealthiest places in China.
The boom triggered a frenzy of building in the city, but the local government has struggled to fill the vast tower blocks that sprung up, earning it the title of China’s biggest ghost town.
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