Mexico's Jimena Navarrete was crowned Miss Universe on Monday in an upset victory that stunned a pageant world which had predicted a winner to emerge from Ireland, Venezuela or the United States.
The 22-year-old from Guadalajara, resplendent in a flowing ruby-red evening gown, said she plans to study nutritional science but has been modeling since she was 15.
She is expected to spend her year as Miss Universe drawing attention to the plight of people with HIV/AIDS and breast cancer, according to pageant officials.
Beyond the diamond-encrusted tiara affixed to her head moments after Miss Jamaica, 24-year-old Yendi Phillipps, was declared the runner-up, Navarrete receives a one-year scholarship to the New York Film Academy, a year's supply of shoes, dresses and hair products.
Her coronation ends the reign of outgoing Miss Universe 2009 Stefania Fernandez, 19, of Venezuela.
The two-hour finale was devoid of political controversy that has erupted in past years at this event, even as the last five contestants each fielded a question.
Navarrete's question, which came from Olympic gold medalist skater Evan Lysacek, asked her for her views on what to do about the problem of children using the Internet without proper supervision.
She responded vaguely but, evidently, adequately. "I do believe that the Internet is an indispensable, necessary tool for the present time," said Navarrete, the first Mexican winner of the contest since 1991.
"We must be sure to teach them the values that we learned as a family."
The judges, clearly, were satisfied. Former Miss USA judge Alicia Jacobs, seated in the Events Center a row ahead of Miss Universe owner Donald Trump, said Navarrete was a shoo-in once the final five were announced.