Style Magazines sits down with Miss World 2016, Stephanie Del Valle!

Miss World is the oldest and largest international pageant in the world. The competition is held annually with representatives from over 130 countries. In December 2016, Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle beat contestants from all over the world to win the title of Miss World 2016 at the 66th installment in Washington, D.C. The 19-year-old was only the second Miss World to hail from Puerto Rico and the first Miss World to be crowned in the U.S. I got to catch up with the brunette beauty during a media week pit stop in Orlando. As we sat outside Starbucks in Disney Springs, Stephanie passionately shared details about her transition from teen model to world renowned beauty queen.

“I found the Miss World contest and their Beauty With A Purpose projects and the amount of money it raises for kids around the world. Charity work is something that I’ve done my entire life and always had a passion for. I thought Miss World would be a great platform to spread messages of positivity and have the opportunity to make the world a better place, so I decided to participate.”

The candidates involved in Miss World are required to take on Beauty with a Purpose projects in their home countries with the intention of encouraging and inspiring global humanitarianism. Since inception, more than $1 billion USD has been raised through Beauty With A Purpose and donated to charitable organizations around the world. That was a more than worthy cause for Stephanie who has spent years working with Lily’s Angels, a foundation that provides therapy for infants and toddlers with Down syndrome in Puerto Rico.

“I decided to participate in my local pageant in Puerto Rico, but I was studying at Pace University in New York, so I would travel back and forth every single weekend for 6-7 weeks. I was really committed and driven. I really wanted this opportunity to not only represent Puerto Rico, but to spread the messages that Miss World has.”

Well the hard work paid off and in March 2016, Stephanie won the Miss World Puerto Rico title. From that point on, it was constant preparation for the global competition. For Stephanie, ensuring she was well-rounded and ready to compete meant attending every class from singing and acting to public speaking, debate and even world history.

“I was definitely making an effort so that even if I didn’t win, I would’ve represented my island  really, really proudly.”

To say she represented her island proudly, would be a huge understatement! The Miss World pageant started on November 26th and three weeks later on December 18th, Stephanie Del Valle was crowned the 66th Miss World pageant queen.

“That final night I was happy with whatever the outcome. I was relaxed that day. I prayed before every single time I went out. I told myself that I don’t need to win anything because I’m happy with the job I did, I’m happy with how I represented my island, and I’m happy with the people that I met and the experiences we’ve had. There was no moment throughout the competition that I felt like I was going to win. I never felt like I was on top. I was just having a good time and that really helped me because I wasn’t so stressed about the outcome. I just wanted to have fun and live the experience.”

Well the shock of receiving the crown was only the beginning of Stephanie’s life-changing experience. After returning to Puerto Rico for her homecoming, it was time to hit the road…and the air! At the time of our interview—just 3 months into her reign—Stephanie had already traveled to Hong Kong, China and London, and had future trips planned to Indonesia, Kenya, Argentina, Fiji, Australia, Philippines, South Africa, New Zealand and even Brazil. Needless to say, being Miss World is a full-time job, so what will Stephanie do once her coveted reign is over?

“I’m very passionate about music, theatre, acting, dance, and modeling. I hope for my career to take off in any of those areas, but if it doesn’t, I’ll pursue entertainment law work so I can stay in the business and help other people who have my same dream, just from a different point of view.”

For now, Stephanie still has the remainder of 2017 to represent her island with pride, wear the crown with joy and showcase what it means to be Miss World.