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Japanese Miss Universe 2007 stays true to herself

Japan's Riyo Mori says that she will be true to herself in her yearlong reign, fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS as Miss Universe.

fashion and trends Updated: May 30, 2007 12:15 IST

Japan's Riyo Mori has said she will be true to herself in her yearlong reign fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS as Miss Universe.

In an interview with The Associated Press hours after she was crowned, the 20-year-old dancer yesterday said she would not change in her new role.

"I don't want to be acting," said Mori, wearing a shimmering silver dress. "I just want to be myself, always be natural."

Under pageant rules, women crowned Miss Universe become advocates for AIDS/HIV research and education. Mori showed some natural poise on Monday in her first moments as Miss Universe, catching the diamond-and-pearl-studded crown that slipped off her head when Miss Universe 2006 Zuleyka Rivera crowned her.

Mori immediately placed the headpiece -- valued at USD 25,000 - back on her head. The new Miss Universe also criticised crash dieting.

"I had a friend with an eating disorder, but she always looked unhappy. She was never confident with her body, even though she was so thin," she said. "For me, it's so easy and so simple. Just eat right."

The only other time Japan had won the pageant was in 1959, when Akiko Kojima became the first Miss Universe from Asia.

Since then, several women from the region have worn the crown. "She is an amazing champion an amazing woman, and I hear that they go totally insane in Japan, so that's good," said Donald Trump, who co-owns the pageant with NBC.