PETALING JAYA - Reigning Mrs Malaysia Universe Carol Lee made history when she was crowned Mrs Universe 2013, becoming the first Asian to win the international pageant.
Lee, 39, secured the crown in the finals on Sunday at The Westin Aruba Resort in Palm Beach, the Caribbean.
The news presenter and former talk show host beat 32 contestants worldwide to clinch the title, along with the Mrs Popularity subsidiary title.
Lee garnered 88,649 votes in the online fan votes contest, narrowly beating Mrs USA Amanda Grad who got 88,556 votes.
She spent 10 months preparing physically and mentally for the competition.
Besides being an avid public speaker and emcee, Lee runs Starz Studio, a child development and learning centre.
Before this, the closest a Malaysian had come to being crowned Mrs Universe was last year, when Chin Kim Lu received the Photogenic Award.
Mrs Universe is a recognition of “the most honourable married woman”, and is awarded to women aged between 25 and 45, taking into account family and career as well as involvement in a significant cause in favour of others.
The annual event spans seven to 10 days, with the common theme “Against Violence”, which in different years cover different causes.
The theme for this year’s pageant was “Stop Domestic Violence”, which fited into Lee’s participation in nationwide campaigns to assist non-governmental organisations fight domestic violence against women.
Lee’s clothes for the pageant were by Malay-sian designer Carven Ong, the Asian Top Designer of the Year 2009.
One notable creation he did for Lee was a national attire with a large hibiscus on her shoulder.