By Faz Zia
A Mexican model and volunteer was crowned Miss World at a glitzy event in Sanya, 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. The colourful ceremony included US group Sister Sledge performing their 1979 disco anthem “We Are Family.”
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.
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.
Manushi Chhillar, Miss World 2017, passed on the beauty crown to the brand new recipient of the title. Manushi’s journey has been inspirational, from girl next door to glam queen; her journey was a whirlwind one. This talented and highly intelligent medical student made India proud by winning the title last year, amidst fierce competition.
Post her crowning, Manushi became brand ambassador for various social causes in different parts of the world. Thisbeauty with brains took up every assignment and worked heart and soul toward these worthy various causes. Be it in India, Indonesia or New York, various cities across the globe faced issues that needed the commitment of this inspirational beauty from India to create awareness and raise funds.
Amongst the various causes she worked on, a commendable one was when Manushi was the brand ambassador for Anaemia Free Haryana. Additionally her Beauty with a Purpose campaign, Project Shakti, was given government aid of ₹18 crores (approximately $2.8 million), ensuring free availability of sanitary napkins for all girls in the government schools of Haryana by Chief Minister of the state Manohar Lal Khattar. At the World Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28, Chhillar joined hundreds of women in a 3 km walk through the streets of Delhi, to create social awareness on the same. Dedication and purpose were her mantras and she performed her duties flawlessly.
Some of the other notable causes that she worked for include raising 3757820 USD for children in Iowa, US, working with the South Asian Women Empowerment Gala in New York and San Francisco, raising funds for APAE (Institute For People With Genetic Disorders) in Brazil, convincing the government to contribute and travelling to leper colonies there to raise awareness on leprosy. Manushi continues to inspire millions of young minds to chase their dreams. She is a real life hero who made young India believe that if the intent is right, and the focus astute, the world is your oyster