Riyo Mori, Japan
One of the most loved Miss Universe winners, Riyo Mori made a lasting mark on the pageant stage when she donned a suit for her final walk in 2008. Mori is the second Japanese woman to be crowned as Miss Universe.
“I had worked so hard to become Miss Universe, and it was a dream coming true,” said the beauty queen.
She studied jazz starting when she was four years old. At 16, moved to Ontario, Canada to study ballet. After winning miss universe, she opened a dance school called I.R.M. Academy in Shizuoka Prefecture which teaches jazz, tap, ballet, and many more.
“When I was in New York, every weekend I went to a hospital for AIDS children to play with them. Traveling to many countries, I saw a lot of suffering in orphanages. It was very sad, but I was prepared mentally for that. It just reinforced my desire to do something to help. Nobody talks about this issue in Japan,” stated Mori when asked about her advocacy.