China and the world tuned in as the curtains were raised at the Beijing MasterCard Centre tonight, waiting with excitement to see who would be crowned the new Miss Universe China.
Zilin Luo, the contestant no. 18 from Shanghai, China, with her elegant manners and calm performance, won the champion of 2011 Miss Universe China Pageant. She was also selected as “the most popular Miss Universe” by millions of netizens from Sina weibo, TuDou, QIYI, PPTV, Netease and YouKu, making her a double hit. Zilin Luo said: “I’m looking forward to the training in the U.S.; I’ll win the Miss Universe for China in Sao Paulo, Brazil! Chinese are known for their hospitality, I wish I could be a window for the world to know more about and love China!” Mr. Yue-sai Kan, the director of 2011 Miss Universe China Pageant said: “Zilin Luo is a very pretty girl, with a nice figure with long legs and also good manners on stage. She also speaks good English and has elegant temperament, which is very rare.”
The search for the new Chinese beauty began in March and competitions were held in Changsha, Nanjing, Shanghai,Hangzhou and Beijing to select the 32 charming and talented contestants who graced the stage tonight. The winner will compete against 80 other contestants from around the world at Miss Universe 2011 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on September 12. The Miss Universe Pageant, an international contest, has had contestants from Mainland China since 2002.
The China Pageant has seen great changes under the guidance of its new National Director, international celebrity and entrepreneur Ms. Yue-Sai Kan. The pageant this year has been infused with a new spirit of education, charity and promoting a positive image of women. The Pageant has received strong support from the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation which has established a China Beauty Fund, and appointed Yue-Sai as the Fund’s official ambassador.
“The establishment of the Beauty Fund will focus on using beauty to increase awareness and enhance the efforts of charity. By focusing on health, beauty and femininity, the foundation aspires to motivate more Chinese women to promote the virtues of Chinese traditions, to participate in charity work, to raise public awareness of caring for the greater community, and to inspire the entire community to promote the concept of charity,” said Qi Ming-Qiu, the vice-chairman of the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation.
Yue-Sai added: “As our country becomes stronger every day, it is important also to show the softer side of our image. If we can select a woman who can represent the virtues of China and show the world her best, this would be a great way to enhanceChina’s image. Charity is the most important mission of a Chinese Miss Universe. If she wins, she will be representing Chinaby bringing this message of caring around the globe.”
The organizers of this year’s pageant held a fundraising drive at the finals for the new fund. Proceeds raised will be managed by the China Beauty Fund and used to promote the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation’s efforts on mother and baby safety, the Reignwood Charitable Fund, FACE (The Footwear Association Charity Event), and the Happy Hearts Fund founded by supermodel Petra Nemcova.
This year’s pageant has been the strongest and most international that the country has seen since it started sending representatives to the Miss Universe pageant 10 years ago. Besides performances by Chinese pop diva Jane Zhang, renowned Israeli hip-hop violinist Miri Ben-Ari, and Argentinian singing sensation Diego Garcia and his band, a host of international names also worked behind the scenes to make the pageant one of world-class standards, thanks to the extensive Hollywood connections of Yue-Sai.
The stage design – which resembled a pair of angel’s wings ready to lift the new Miss Universe China to the world stage – was designed by Brian Stonestreet, a veteran stage designer who has engineered the sets for the Golden Globe, Grammy Awards and the American Academy of Country Music Awards. Other members of the production team also included China’s Eric Zho,Hong Kong’s Kenneth Kam and veteran concert producer Steve Sybesma, who has worked with artists like Michael Jacksonand The Black Eyed Peas.
Providing training for Miss Universe was Lu Sierra, the runway coach for Miss USA; 5-year Miss Universe trainer Akiko Shimizu, who is the author of “Hello, Elegant” and other works; Chief Fashion Stylist Lizzette Kattan, who has served as the fashion director and editor-in-chief for Harper‘s Bazaar France; Make-up artist Yuko Takahashi, who has worked with pop divas Lady Gaga and Beyonce, and also world famous celebrity fashion photographer Fadil Berisha, who created photographic masterpieces of all the contestants. The pageant’s strategic partner, Reignwood Group, provided the contestants with facilities for their training, which included instructions in nutrition, psychology, equestrian, golf and other high-end courses. Yue-Sai Cosmetics also designed a line of cosmetics that would bring out the natural beauty of Chinese women.
Other sponsors included famous fashion brand D:Espina, Italian elegant women’s footwear maker AEE, Harman-Kardon, Luk Fook Jewelry, EF Education, Samsung Electronics and Arrial dental.
The night’s judges included Fadil Berisha; Miss Universe 2007, Riyo Mori of Japan; renowned modern artist Zhang Huan; Petra Nemcova; celebrity CEO Harry Hui and Reignwood Group president Wang Rui.