North Sulawesi’s Kezia Roslin Cikita Warouw is the new champion of the country’s most prestigious beauty pageant, Puteri Indonesia.

Kezia is the second winner from the region famous for its beaches and beautiful women after Angelina Sondakh, former lawmaker and graft convict, in 2001.

Last year’s Puteri Indonesia, Anindya Kusuma Putri, handed over the crown to Kezia last Friday, as well as the privilege to represent the country at the Miss Universe contest to be held in Hungary at the end of the year.

“It’s a blessing from God,” Kezia said, adding that she would use her title to popularise Bunaken Island, her ancestral home, as a tourist destination.

“There are at least five beautiful islands, other than Bali, that Indonesia can proudly promote to the world.”

Kezia, who actively updated her social media accounts from the media seclusion she shared with her fellow finalists, said that appearing in the pageant had been her childhood dream.

“I worked hard to be here, leaving work and beating the competition.”

At the coronation at the Jakarta Convention Center in Central Jakarta, Kezia outscored two competing finalists; Lampung’s Felicia Hwang was named runner-up, West Sumatra’s Intan Aletrino second runner-up.

Felicia was also given the title as Puteri Indonesia for the Environment and the right to compete at Miss International later this year.

Intan, who was also named Puteri Indonesia for Tourism, will compete at Miss Supranational 2016.

The pageant organiser since 1992, the Puteri Indonesia Foundation, granted the winners a year’s salary and accommodation and an official car in Jakarta, as well as full scholarships for Master’s degree programs.

The crowned winner also received jewellery worth nearly RM5,000, tribunnews.com reported over the weekend.

Born in Jakarta on April 18, 1991, Kezia started her career on the catwalk at an early age.

The 24-year-old says modelling was her passion, while her preferred leisure activities included reading, watching movies and travelling.

With a height of 183cm and an educational background in computer science, having graduated from the IT department of the Jakarta-based Esa Unggul University, Kezia quickly turned heads at the pageant.

She was named North Sulawesi’s ambassador for a cultural exchange event in Poland in 2006, was a finalist at the World Education Expo in 2014, second runner-up in the Gading Model Search 2015 and runner-up in the Miss North Sulawesi pageant in 2015, before making her way to represent the region on the national stage. – Jakarta Post/Asia News Network