An ecstatic Mrs Vietnam was crowned Mrs Universe during a glittering event at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC) on Saturday night.

Mrs India, Shaveta Athwal (5th place), Mrs France, Anastasia Gorshkova (4th place), Mrs Universe, Vietnam’s Tram Hoang Luu, Mrs Gabon, Gwen Madiba Moubouyi (First Runner-Up) and Mrs Pakistan, Taiba Noorulian Sheheryar (Second Runner-up).

43-year old Tram Hoang Luu burst into tears as last year’s winner, Olga Tornor from Austria, handed over the crown at the 40th Annual Mrs Universe pageant, held for the first time in Africa.

Mrs Vietnam triumphed over 84 international contestants to clinch the coveted title.

Luu thanked South Africa and particularly Durban for its warm hospitality saying the people are so friendly and she is going to miss being here.

Mrs Gabon, Gwen Madiba Moubouyi was named First Runner-Up and Mrs Pakistan, Taiba Noorulian Sheheryar was Second Runner-up.

Mrs France, Anastasia Gorshkova and Mrs India, Shaveta Athwal, rounded off the top five.

Mrs France

South Africa was represented by Durban wife and mum, Trisha Poona, who was placed in the top 25. Poona was the audience favourite, receiving huge applause and encouragement whenever she appeared on stage.

“Let tonight be the night that Durban remembers as being the night that brought the world to our doorstep. Let tonight be the night that Africa celebrates its women and women empowerment,” says Tracey-Anne Aggett, the woman who was responsible for bringing Mrs Universe to Africa for the first time.

Mrs Korea at Mrs Universe contest, held for the first time in Africa

As Mrs Universe Hosting Director: Africa, Aggett had campaigned tirelessly to bring the activist-themed event to South Africa and to use it as a platform to draw attention to the global scourge of violence against women and children.

Unlike other similar events, Mrs Universe is a women empowerment initiative that acknowledges married women between the ages of 25 and 45 who are doing phenomenal work to uplift and enhance their local communities through CSI initiatives, business development and global trade opportunities.

Guests at least night’s event were entertained by proudly KZN performers including the C-Live dancers, the Champions Pantsula Dancers, performers from the Kumari Shiksha Dance Institute, Indlondlo Zulu Traditional Dancers and Dangerous Curves dancers. Vocalists, Samantha Landers, Bongekile Mabaso and Nokulunga Ntuli had feet tapping and heads bobbing.

Mrs Monaco

Since jetting into Durban on 25 August 2017, the 86 finalists have had a jam-packed, whirlwind schedule of work and play that put the international spotlight firmly on South Africa.

Photos by Abhi Indrarajan