Miami – Next week's Miss Universe 2011 pageant in Brazil will be a bittersweet moment for Mexico's Ximena Navarrete, who is getting ready to hand over the crown to her successor.
"Giving up the crown isn't easy, because wearing it has been an honor and also symbolizes a very special year in my life, but it's also beautiful to give that chance to another girl," the 24-year-old told Efe.
"The crown lets you do many beautiful things, but it also teaches you a lot as a person and as a woman. Traveling, getting to know new cultures. All of that enriches you," said Ximena, who used her fame to promote the Children International organization, which aids thousands of poor kids around the world.
Ximena will not venture to speculate on who her successor might be, but believes that the winner could be among the Latin contestants.
One of them is Miss Mexico, who, like Ximena, is a native of Guadalajara.
"I've been watching beauty pageants since I was little, and they didn't seem real to me. When I saw Ximena win, I got so excited, because it was all suddenly real. To see that a compatriot was able to take the crown inspired me and decided me to enter the contest," Ontiveros, 23, told Efe.