Lujane Yacoub is 19 years of age and has also competed for the crown last year. She is a model, a dancer, and she hopes to earn a degree in creative arts. She emerged victorious by beating six other contestants during a pageant held in the Maldives.

Bahrain, a conservative Islamic country in the Middle East, made history last year by sending its first ever Miss Universe contestant. Born to a Bahraini father and to an American mother, Lujane Yacoub hopes she will help dispel the notion that her country is repressive to women.

“The biggest misconception about Bahrain and the Middle East is that it’s a place of oppression [that] women don’t have rights. And this is far from the truth, ” said Lujane during the final interview.

She added, “Women are taught to thrive, to embrace their strengths, and go for their ambitions, and women are the true pearls of the country. And that would be my first goal as Miss Universe, is to clear up this misconception.”