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Miss Universe’s reign comes to an end

September 16, 2011

After a year of globetrotting, Miss Universe 2010 will soon be returning to her native Guadalajara, having finally handed over her crown to Angola’s Leila Lopes at Monday night’s ceremony in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“It was the happiest year of my life. I’m really going to miss all the personnel, especially those who worked directly with me,” said Ximena Navarrete, shortly before giving up her crown. She also expressed her desire to continue working for the programs and campaigns she has aided over the past 12 months.

Since being named Miss Universe on August 23, 2010, Navarrete has visited over 40 countries, promoting nutrition, equality, education and AIDS prevention. The 23-year-old Tapatia’s travels have taken her from Las Vegas where she was crowned, to Europe, Russia, China, India, Thailand, South and Central America and the Caribbean.

Only the second Mexican to hold the title, Navarrete’s coronation provoked a frenzy of excitement in the local and national press. Prevailing against the tide of negative publicity engulfing Mexico, here was a beautiful, intelligent and responsible young woman who had suddenly found fame on a world stage.

Like soccer player Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, another Guadalajara native of the same age, Navarrete has become a proud, positive and popular representative of Guadalajara, Jalisco and Mexico over the past year.

Another local girl made it to the Miss Universe final this year. Karin Ontiveros, 23, from Amatitan, Jalisco was among the favorites to succeed Navarette, with whom she has struck up close friendship, but ultimately the 2011 title was destined for Angola.

Having passed on her official duties to the new winner, Navarrete must now prepare to enter a new stage of her life.  “I’m ready and I am content. Obviously it is a bit of a sad moment, because I’ve had so many good experiences … but I’m also happy to take the reins of my life, do what I want and work in what I like,” she reflected.

Navarrete has not had a chance to return to her family home since the coronation. She had to stay in hotels on the four occasions she has been back to Guadalajara, but is now finally free to stay with her family once again.

“What I’m not going to miss is having to get up early everyday to meet my hectic schedule. I’ll be able to sleep more! That will be great,” she said.

Yet the ambitious beauty queen is certain to remain busy. Navarrete has several offers for work in Mexico and has already signed a one-year contract with a U.S. model agency owned by businessman Donald Trump, the owner of the Miss Universe franchise.

We have surely not seen the last of her. Free from the commitments of a micromanaged life, Mexico’s latest superstar is about to be unleashed on the world.

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