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 (born December 24, 1986 in Aoi-kumarker, Shizuoka, Japan) is a Japanese dance instructor who won the Miss Universe 2007 title in May 2007.


Early life

Riyo Mori began dancing at the age of 4. She has studied at Quinte Ballet School of Canada and also is a graduate from Centennial Secondary Schoolmarker in Bellevillemarker, Ontariomarker, Canada. Mori also completed her Grade 11 year at Mount Douglas Secondary Schoolmarker in Victoria, Canada. She still possesses her first pair of ballet shoes.

Miss Universe 2007

Mori was crowned Miss Universe on May 28, 2007, by the outgoing titleholder Zuleyka Rivera.

As Japan's representative in the Miss Universe 2007 pageant, Mori travelled to Mexico City, Mexicomarker in early May to participate in four weeks of events, rehearsals and preliminary competitions with the other seventy-seven delegates.

In the final competition, broadcast internationally on May 28, 2007, Mori was announced as one of fifteen semi-finalists who would move forward to compete for the title. She achieved the highest score in the swimsuit competition, which advanced her to the top ten and the evening gown competition, in which she placed fourth. Mori's kimono-inspired black/floral evening gown of choice came from the Spring/Summer 2007 collection of Gucci.
Riyo Mori, in Mexico City
In the last round, Mori was asked by Elle magazine fashion director and Project Runway judge Nina Garcia to speak about the one lesson she learned as a child that still affects her life. Mori said that since childhood she has been dancing and hence she was constantly surrounded by students and teachers. Due to the interactions with them, she has learned to become always happy, patient, and positive in her life. She also expressed a desire to teach these principles to the next generation.

At the conclusion of the competition, she was crowned Miss Universe, becoming the second woman from Japan to hold the title. The first Miss Universe winner from Japan was Akiko Kojima in 1959. Mori is the eleventh Asian woman to win the pageant, the most recent being Lara Dutta of India who was Miss Universe 2000.

Mori was the third Japanese woman to place in the top five at Miss Universe in the past five years. Miyako Miyazaki placed fourth runner-up at Miss Universe 2003, and Mori's predecessor Kurara Chibana was first runner-up in 2006. Mori aims to use her success and popularity as a springboard into humanitarian causes. "I think I have a samurai soul, I'm very patient, and I can serve others."

As of December 2007, Mori has traveled to Indonesiamarker, Spainmarker, the Bahamasmarker, St. Kitts and Nevismarker, Chinamarker, Mexicomarker, Canadamarker, Germanymarker, Vietnammarker, Francemarker, Monacomarker, San Marinomarker, Russiamarker and Italymarker in addition to numerous trips and her homecoming in Japanmarker.

Mori crowned her successor, Venezuelamarker native Dayana Mendoza with a $120,000-USD tiara, Miss Universe 2008 on July 14, 2008 in Nha Trangmarker, Vietnammarker.

At the end of her reign as Miss Universe 2007, she was considered by Donald Trump, as one of the two best Miss Universe's of all time, the other being Jennifer Hawkins.

Television

In subsequent interviews about her future, the new titleholder revealed plans to open a multicultural dance school in Tokyo. She has also expressed enthusiasm about her audition for the role of Yaeko on the American television series Heroes.

Mori starred in Donald Trump's new MTV reality show Pageant Place along with Rachel Smith, Katie Blair (former Miss Teen USA 2006) and Hilary Cruz (Miss Teen USA 2007). The show started airing on October 10, 2007 and ran for eight episodes.

References

  1. FoxNews.com - Mori Says She Has 'Samurai Soul'
  2. nytimes.com - Venezuelan Mendoza Crowned '08 Miss Universe


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