MANILA -- (2nd UPDATE) Former UAAP courtside reporter Laura Lehman will be representing the Philippines in the Miss World 2017 pageant in China.
The 24-year-old was named Miss World Philippines 2017 Sunday at the pageant's coronation night at SM Mall of Asia Arena.
"Maraming, maraming, maraming salamat po. I heard all your cheers here in the arena. It gave me power and the energy to perform. Maraming, maraming salamat po. I will make you proud," she said after her win.
During the question and answer round, Lehmann was asked to respond to people "who believe that pageants do not provide an opportunity to empower women."
She answered: "To anyone who doesn't believe in pageants, I would ask them to take a look at the girls that we had on stage tonight. Because we had lawyers, we had architects, we had women of substance who are here to day not only because of what they look like, but also because of what's in their heart, what's in their mind, and because they brought forth 'Beauty with a Purpose' projects."
"They are here fighting to represent the Philippines and become the best version of a Filipina. And to me, that is something to celebrate, not protest," she ended.
Aside from winning the crown, Lehmann was also named Miss Cosmo Skin, Miss BYS Philippines and the Multimedia Fast Track winner.
Other winners in the Miss World Philippines 2017 are Winwyn Marquez (Miss Reina Hispanoamericana Filipinas), Cynthia Tomalla (Miss Eco Philippines), Sophia Senoron (Miss Multinational), Glyssa Perez (1st Princess) and Zara Carbonell (2nd Princess).
The candidates who made it to the Top 15 are:
Henna Kaizzelle Nicole Cajandig
Sheila Marie Reyes
Janela Joy Cuaton
Before competing in Miss World Philippines 2017, Lehmann joined Binibining Pilipinas in 2014 and finished as a runner-up.