PICTURES: Mrs Vietnam crowned Mrs Universe at glitzy event in Durban

The moment Mrs Vietnam, Tram Hoang Luu, learned she was Mrs Universe 2017. South Africa’s representative in the pageant, Trisha Poona, is seen congratulating her. Poona was among the Top 25 finalists.

An ecstatic Mrs Vietnam was crowned Mrs Universe at a glittering event held at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC), over the weekend.

Tram Hoang Luu (43) burst into tears as last year’s winner, Olga Tornor from Austria, handed over the crown at the 40th Annual Mrs Universe pageant, held for the first time in Africa. Mrs Vietnam triumphed over 84 international contestants to clinch the coveted title.

“I am so amazed. I did not expect to win when I came here this evening because all the contestants are such incredible women. This evening is just fantastic and I’m enjoying every moment,” she said. Luu thanked South Africa and particularly Durban for its warm hospitality stating the people are so friendly and that she is going to miss being here.

Crowning moment: Mrs Vietnam, Tram Hoang Luu, is Mrs Universe 2017. She is pictured at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre with, from left: Mrs India, Shaveta Athwal (5th place), Mrs France, Anastasia Gorshkova (4th place), Mrs Gabon, Gwen Madiba Moubouyi (first runner-up) and Mrs Pakistan, Taiba Noorulian Sheheryar (second runner-up).

Mrs Gabon, Gwen Madiba Moubouyi was named first runner-up and Mrs Pakistan, Taiba Noorulian Sheheryar was second runner-up. Mrs France, Anastasia Gorshkova and Mrs India, Shaveta Athwal, rounded off the top five.

South Africa was represented by Durban wife and mum, Trisha Poona, who was placed in the top 25. Poona was the audience favourite, receiving huge applause and encouragement whenever she appeared on stage.

“Let tonight be the night that Durban remembers as being the night that brought the world to our doorstep. Let tonight be the night that Africa celebrates its women and women empowerment,” said Tracey-Anne Aggett, the woman who was responsible for bringing Mrs Universe to Africa for the first time. As Mrs Universe Hosting Director: Africa, Aggett had campaigned tirelessly to bring the activist-themed event to South Africa and to use it as a platform to draw attention to the global scourge of and children.

“We are extremely humbled by the support we’ve received to stage this event on African soil for the first time. Each of the contestants here tonight is a winner – for overcoming incredible odds to succeed and for making meaningful contributions to their respective communities to bring about positive change,” she said.

eThekwini’s deputy mayor, Fawzia Peer, echoed those sentiments when she officially welcomed guests to the pageant. “As women, we must continue to hold each other’s hands and celebrate our successes. We need to see more women rising to positions of power in business, politics and academia,” she said.

Mrs India, Shaveta Athwal (5th place), Mrs France, Anastasia Gorshkova (4th place), Mrs Universe, Vietnam’s Tram Hoang Luu, Mrs Gabon, Gwen Madiba Moubouyi (first runner-up) and Mrs Pakistan, Taiba Noorulian Sheheryar (second runner-up).

The glitzy Mrs Universe World Finals attracted the who’s who of KZN’s social scene. Guests were entertained by proudly KZN performers including the C-Live dancers, the Champions Pantsula Dancers, performers from the Kumari Shiksha Dance Institute, Indlondlo Zulu Traditional Dancers and Dangerous Curves dancers.

Vocalists, Samantha Landers, Bongekile Mabaso and Nokulunga Ntuli had feet tapping and heads bobbing. The show was produced and choreographed by one of KZN’s most celebrated entertainers, Clive Gumede aka The Durban Divo.

Since jetting into Durban on August 25, 2017, the 86 finalists have had a jam-packed, whirlwind schedule of work and play that put the international spotlight firmly on South Africa.

In addition to visiting a few must-see tourist spots in the greater Durban area and sampling the city’s array of culinary offerings, contestants dedicated their time to numerous CSI and women empowerment initiatives.

Unlike other similar events, Mrs Universe is a women empowerment initiative that acknowledges married women between the ages of 25 and 45 who are doing phenomenal work to uplift and enhance their local communities through CSI initiatives, business development and global trade opportunities.

 

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Rising Sun

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PICTURES: Fun in the sun for Mrs Universe finalists in Durban