PETALING JAYA: Reigning Mrs Malaysia Universe Carol Lee made history when she was crowned Mrs Universe 2013, becoming the first Asian to win the international pageant.

Lee, 39, secured the coveted crown during the finals on Aug 11 at The Westin Aruba Resort in Palm Beach, the Caribbean.

The news presenter and former talk show host beat 32 contestants worldwide to clinch the title, along with the Mrs Popularity subsidiary title.

Lee garnered 88,649 votes in the online fan votes contest, narrowly beating Mrs USA Amanda Grad who scored 88,556 votes.

Mrs Universe 2013 Carol Lee.

She spent 10 months preparing, both physically and mentally, for the competition. The theme and initiative for this year’s pageant was ‘Stop Domestic Violence’, which fit into Lee’s championing of nationwide campaigns to assist non-governmental organisations in the fight against domestic violence against women.

Besides being an avid public speaker and emcee, Lee also runs Starz Studio, a child development and learning centre for the young.

At the pageant, Lee wore clothes by Malaysian designer Carven Ong, the Asian Top Designer of the Year in 2009.

One of Ong’s notable creations was the national attire Lee paraded at the pageant, which featured a large hibiscus over one shoulder.