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Burma has crowned a Miss Universe contestant for the first time in over 50 years.
Twenty-five-year-old Moe Set Wine, a business graduate, won over judges and the audience at the Miss Universe Myanmar competition at the National Theatre in Rangoon on Thursday evening.
And she was clearly delighted to have won.
“I still can’t believe it, but I feel really happy because now I get the chance to represent my country,” she said.
The beauty pageant, hosted by Burmese hip hop star Sai Sai and model Tin Moe Lwin, featured 20 contestants who competed in three rounds – traditional dress, swimwear and ball gowns.
Moe Set Wine will now go on to represent her country at the international Miss Universe competition in Moscow in November, the first time a Burmese woman has competed at the event since 1961.
Organisers hope that Moe Set Wine’s participation will bring Burma more recognition in the international arena.
“Now this is the first goal for Myanmar [Burma], we are ready to go to an international stage and we want to show our Myanmar heart and that we’re really happy and very proud to be Myanmar,” said co-host and model Tin Moe Lwin.
The revival of the competition, which included performances that referred to the ongoing civil war in the country, is a sign of continuing reform.
“I feel like now I am a part of history, I feel like a soldier that is doing something for my country and my people,” said the new Miss Universe Myanmar.