A beaming Riyo Mori, Japan's first Miss Universe in nearly 50 years, has savored her hard-earned triumph and said she was sure she would win.
With a confidence unusual in a nation where women have been encouraged to be demure, Mori - wearing a black halter dress and her tiara - told reporters she was sure victory would be hers because she had put so much effort into preparing for the event.
"I was convinced that I had done the most preparation," she said, comparing her feelings to the confidence gained by studying hard for an exam.
"I decided within myself that I would bring the crown and sash (of Miss Universe) back to Japan, so I'm very pleased."
News of the vivacious 20-year-old dancer's victory in the contest held in Mexico last month sparked pride and pleasure around the nation, and Mori was greeted by a crowd of admirers when she returned home on Sunday.
Mori, a native of Shizuoka, west of Tokyo, was encouraged by her dance teacher mother and grandmother to become only the second Japanese woman to take a top prize at a Miss Universe pageant. Last year, Kurara Chibana, another Japanese contestant, came second in the contest.
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