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The 20-year-old ballet dancer from Shizuoka Prefecture, Riyo Mori wins the now acclaimed Miss Universe title beating out Miss Brazil, Venezuela, Korea, and USA. She’s the second Japanese Miss Universe in 48 years to win the crown.

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She usually works as a ballet dancer and is the first Japanese ever to pass the audition for The Rockette Summer Intensive. She has studied at Quinte Ballet School of Canada and also is a graduate of Centennial Secondary School in Belleville, Ontario, Canada.

If you’re interested in listening to her speak, or just want to see more of her, check out this video interview or these photos of her here and here. She says that she would like to become a world class dancer and run her own studio someday. Guess she will have to put those plans on hold for now.

IMHO, I would have place my bet on Miss Korea, Honey Lee to take the crown.

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Her question got lost in translation and that cost her the title. Overall, she had more points than Japan I think. Still, she carried herself great and from nothing to top 5 is still an amazing achievement.

Update: Apparently the odds were not on Miss Japan to win this year, and it was a huge upset for online gambling sites, many of which had given her 22 to 1 odds of winning.

Whoops, looks like Miss Universe 2006 is horrible at the simple act of placing a crown on the winner’s head:

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As Miss Universe 2006 Zuleyka Rivera was crowning Riyo Mori with the official Mikimoto crown, it slipped from her grasp and nearly fell to the floor. Mori was able to catch the crown, which is made of diamonds and pearls and is valued at over $250,000.

Miss USA Rachel Smith had it rough during the competition. Not only did she fell during her evening gown segment,

but was booed during and loudly jeered during her final interview.

Check out the wiki for more details on the pageant.

Miss Universe 2007
Riyo’s official blog
PopSeoul
JapanProbe

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