Having pursued a degree in International Business, Ponce De Leon is currently on the board of directors of a rehabilitation centre for girls and volunteers for Migrantes en el Camino. She is a speaker for the National Youth Institute as well as working as a model and a presenter.
An adventurous soul, she has qualified as an open water scuba diver, and also enjoys playing volleyball, painting and ultimate Frisbee, according to the official Miss World website.
The colourful ceremony included US group Sister Sledge performing their 1979 disco anthem ‘We Are Family.’
The first runner up was Thailand’s Nicolene Pichapa Limsnukan, a 20-year-old studying business administration.
Miss Belarus Maria Vasilevich, Miss Jamaica Kadijah Robinson and Miss Uganda Quiin Abenakyo were also among the final five.
It is the eighth time the Miss World final has been held in Sanya, which first hosted the pageant in 2003.
At the finals three years ago, controversy erupted as officials in Hong Kong stopped Miss Canada, Anastasia Lin, from boarding a plane bound for Sanya, telling her she would not receive a visa.
The 25-year-old actress claimed the decision was due to her stance on China’s human rights record, including its persecution of Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual group of which she is a practitioner.
Indians were keeping their fingers crossed for Anukreethy Vas after Chhillar broke a years-long dry spell for India at the Miss World beauty pageant last year. Vas, a native of Tiruchirappalli, made it to the top 30 but failed to make the cut to the top 12 at the gala.
A total of 118 contestants participated in the contest this year.