SANYA, China – Miss Peru, Maria Julia Mantilla Garcia, an aspiring high school teacher, was crowned Miss World 2004 on Saturday night in this southern Chinese beach resort.
Miss Dominican Republic, Claudia Julissa Cruz Rodriguez, was the first runner-up and Miss USA Nancy Randall was second runner-up.
Mantilla Garcia, 20, wearing a turquoise gown, blew kisses to the crowd as she was crowned. The title carries a $100,000 prize.
Organizers said the winner was selected by pageant viewers voting by Internet, phone and mobile phone text message. Vote totals and other details of the voting weren’t immediately released.
A total of 107 women from around the world competed for the crown in this beach resort on Hainan Island in the South China Sea.
“I’m very surprised but I’m also very happy,” Mantilla Garcia told reporters. She said she wanted to do charitable work as Miss World and “help all the people that I can.”
The pageant included performances by American pop singer Lionel Richie.
A panel of celebrity judges was on hand to pick the winner in case the high-tech voting system failed.
They included Australian television star Kate Ritchie, West Indian cricket legend Sir Viv Richards, Chinese fashion photographer Li Shaobai and Krish Naidoo, an Ireland-based businessman.
The hosts were British model Lisa Snowdon, Hong Kong television host Angela Chow and Troy McClain, a former contestant on the U.S. reality TV series “The Apprentice.”
The pageant brought glamour to Sanya, once just a remote tropical outpost in the South China Sea. It provided a tranquil setting for a pageant that in 2002 was forced to flee Nigeria after deadly riots.
Both sides found the partnership so rewarding that organizers of the coming 55th Miss World contest announced on Friday that the London-based pageant will be held in Sanya in 2005.