Carlina Duran Baldera, 25, from central La Vega province has been crowned the new Miss Dominican Republic Universe 2012 during the annual contest held in Santo Domingo on 17 April, 2012.

Staged at the Jaragua Hotel, the Dominican beauty competed with a total of 37 entrants in the event. Standing at 5 feet, 11 inch height, the stunning model was crowned by the previous queen, Dahlia Fernandez.

While presenting the crown to Carlina, Dahlia mentioned that she was proud of having represented her country last year. Apart from Dahlia, Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes was present as a special guest at the event and assisted Dahlia during the crowning ceremony.

Carlina will represent the Dominican Republic in Miss Universe 2012 which will be held in Dec 2012.

A professional model, Carlina has earlier competed in the Tourism Queen International 2011 pageant. She was also named the "Sexiest Woman in the Caribbean" 2011 by Global Beauties.

Apart from Carlina, the firstt runner-up of the beauty pageant was Miss Distrito Nacional, Dulcita Leggi who will later be competing in the Miss Continente Americano 2012 in Ecuador. The second runner-up was Miss Santiago, Carolyn Hawa, who will travel to Bolivia to the Reina Hispanoamericana competition.

The third runner-up, Alondra Pena, on the other hand, will participate in the Miss Intercontinental 2012 while the fourth runner-up, Luz Quezada, will take part in the Miss América Latina 2012.

There were also other award categories including the Congeniality Award given to Ámbar Cabrera and the Photogenic Award given to Yudelsi de Raben.

The annual pageant of Miss Dominican Republic involves women between the ages of 18 and 27 competing in a series of contests. Each of the contestants represents a Dominican province, city, or community.

Apart from selecting participants for the major fashion pageants like Miss Universe and Miss World, the event sends representatives in other minor global pageants such as Miss Intercontinental Pageant, Miss Tourism Queen International, Reina Hispanoamericana and Miss Continente Americano.

Catch a glimpse of the new 2012 Miss Universe Dominican Republic Carlina Duran in the pictures given below:

Carlina Duran, 25, reacts after winning the Miss Universe Dominican Republic 2012 pageant in Santo Domingo April 17, 2012. Duran is crowned Miss Universe Dominican Republic 2012.Reuters
Miss Universe Dominican Republic 2011 Dalia Fernandez (L) puts on the tiara on Carlina Duran, winner of the Miss Universe Dominican Republic 2012, during the pageant in Santo Domingo April 17, 2012. At right is Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes of Angola.Reuters
Carlina Duran (L), 25, takes part in the Miss Universe Dominican Republic 2012 with Dulcita Lieggi, 22, in Santo Domingo April 17, 2012. Duran is crowned Miss Universe Dominican Republic 2012.Reuters
Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes of Angola looks on onstage during the Miss Universe Dominican Republic 2012 pageant in Santo Domingo April 17, 2012.Reuters
Carlina Duran, 25, takes part in the Miss Universe Dominican Republic 2012 pageant in Santo Domingo April 17, 2012. Duran is crowned Miss Universe Dominican Republic 2012.Reuters
Carlina Duran, 25, gestures onstage during the Miss Universe Dominican Republic 2012 pageant in Santo Domingo April 17, 2012. Duran is crowned Miss Universe Dominican Republic 2012.Reuters
Carlina Duran (C), 25, celebrates with other contestants after winning the Miss Universe Dominican Republic 2012 pageant in Santo Domingo April 17, 2012. Duran is crowned Miss Universe Dominican Republic 2012.Reuters
Miss Universe Dominican Republic 2011 Dalia Fernandez (L) puts on the tiara on Carlina Duran, winner of the Miss Universe Dominican Republic 2012, during the pageant in Santo Domingo April 17, 2012. At right is Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes of Angola.Reuters
Carlina Duran (L), 25, reacts onstage during the Miss Universe Dominican Republic 2012 pageant in Santo Domingo April 17, 2012. Duran is crowned Miss Universe Dominican Republic 2012. Contestant Dulcita Liegi, 22, is at center.Reuters