Miss Earth 2011 has been crowned. Miss Ecuador, Olga Alava, was the stunning beauty honored with the title.
Alava was crowned Miss Earth 2011 during the Coronation Show on Dec. 3. The 23-year-old beat out contestants from 84 other countries to win the competition, which was held in the Philippine capital of Manila this year. She accepted her award wearing a glittering white gown with silver rhinestone embellishments.
Alava is a native of Guayaquil, reports The Latin American Herald Tribune. She is a model and an international business graduate as well as a student of Asian culture, who studied in China for a year and speaks fluent Mandarin.
The exotic beauty presented an ecological project for safeguarding Ecuador's mangroves. She also acts as an advocate for the protection of the Yasuni biosphere reserve in her native country.
During the contest, Alava answered a question about environmental preservation, saying: Education is the best solution for the environment because children are those who have to preserve the Earth for future generations.
Miss Earth 2010 Nicole Faria of India took her farewell walk before handing the glittering crown over to Miss Ecuador.
Miss Brazil Drielly Bennettone won Miss Earth-Air 2011; Miss Philippines Athena Mae Imperial took the Miss Earth-Water 2011 title; and Caroline Medina of Venezuela was awarded Miss Earth-Fire 2011, reports The Philippine Star.
Latin beauties dominated the competition, taking three of the four top spots.
The Miss Earth Beauty Pageant is different from other beauty pageants in concept. Carousel Productions decided to reinvent and improve the contest for the new millennium. The company, which is well established in mounting world-class beauty pageants, decided to promote beauty pageant contestants not just as pretty faces but as advocates of worthy causes.
The Miss Earth Beauty Pageant was launched in 2001 on the foundation of having candidates promote and become involved in the preservation and protection of the environment. The contest also promotes various tourist destinations around the world.
Miss Earth serves as an ambassador to environmental protection campaigns worldwide as well as a spokeswoman for the United Nations Environment Program.
Celebrating Forests for People was the slogan of this year's Miss Earth pageant, in an effort to raise awareness of the effects of climate change. Miss Ecuador also took home a cash prize of $20,000 along with other rewards.
Take a look at the photographs from Saturday's crowning ceremony. All photos are from the 2011 Miss Earth Beauty Pageant website. Please click here to see the full gallery.