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New Miss Universe named after spat

Oxana Fedorova of Russia won the Miss Universe crown in May.
Oxana Fedorova of Russia won the Miss Universe crown in May.

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- The crowning of the most beautiful woman in the universe has turned ugly.

The former Miss Russia, Oxana Fedorova, said Monday that she quit her role as Miss Universe after just four months on the job because "the duties really interfered with my education."

The Miss Universe Organization, however, said the 24-year-old Russian beauty was fired -- the first time in the 52-year history of the pageant that has happened. The organization did not give an explanation as to why Fedorova was ousted, but said a news conference will be held Tuesday in New York.

A new Miss Universe -- Justine Pasek, 22, of Panama, who finished as the first runner-up in the May competition -- was named Monday morning, although her formal crowning will come at the Tuesday press conference, said Esther Swan, a spokeswoman for The Miss Universe Organization.

Swan refused to go into details about why Fedorova is no longer on top of the universe.

Justine Pasek, Miss Panama, has become the new Miss Universe.
Justine Pasek, Miss Panama, has become the new Miss Universe.

"I can only comment that we do a have a new Miss Universe," Swan said.

In an interview with Russian TV Channel 2, Fedorova expressed surprise when told that the organizers described her dethroning as an ouster. She said the decision to hand over the crown was all hers.

"The duties of Miss Universe are wonderful and noble, of course, but the most important thing in my life is my education and my career here in Russia," she said. "I found that the duties really interfered with my education. That's the only reason that I decided to give up the crown."

Fedorova, who is a police lieutenant, is almost finished writing her dissertation at the Academy of Internal Affairs on detective techniques. She is to defend her dissertation in October.

And though she no longer holds the official Miss Universe title, Fedorova says the honor of being chosen is still hers.

"I consider myself to still be Miss Universe. I'm proud that a Russian woman carries the title. But when I entered the contest, I had no idea and no one ever explained to me the consequences of winning the contest, the many commitments," she said.

Fedorova might still consider herself Miss Universe, but the pageant definitely does not. She has been removed from the official Miss Universe Web site, which now lists Pasek as the official 2002 Miss Universe.

The site describes Pasek as a woman with "supermodel looks and humble personality" who is "indicative of the beauty in the new millennium." In taking on her new responsibilities, the site says Pasek is "ready to work hard as an ambassador for women around the world."

The news of the tiff between Fedorova and pageant organizers was first reported in Monday's New York Post. The Post reported Fedorova refused to perform a number of her duties as Miss Universe, might be married to her longtime boyfriend -- a violation of pageant rules -- and could be pregnant.

Fedorova said she wishes that were true.

"As far as the rumors go about me being married and pregnant, those are wonderful rumors. I want a family, I love family life, and it's what's most important in life. But at the moment, that's only my dream, and not at all true," she said.

"I've never been married. I haven't had any kids. Hopefully sometime in the future those dreams will happen for me."

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