By Francisco Salazar ( | First Posted: Oct 22, 2013 10:19 AM EDT

(Photo : Miss Universe)

Aysel Manafova will represent Azerbaijan in the Miss Universe 2013 beauty pageant.

The 23-year-old model is the first candidate to ever represent the country in the Miss Universe contest. Her road to the pageant began in 2012, when she was crowned Miss Azerbaijan. Previously, she was a model for Azeri in Baku.

Manafova is currently attending the University of Social Studies where she is studying languages. The model hopes to open her own travel agency once she finishes her studies. She is deeply passionate about gymnastics, horseback riding, swimming and volunteering for various causes, like the Society for Stray Animals Protection. Aysel also has a deep love for her country and feels most at peace when she's back in her hometown.

Among her other favorite hobbies is making her own accessories; the model also loves exotic reptiles, such as crocodiles and pythons.

Manafova is not among the favorites to win the competition this year, but representing her country for the first time ever is already a win.

The Miss Universe beauty pageant is seen as a way of promoting women who are goal-oriented and aware of the world around them. The preliminary competition of Miss Universe will be held on Nov. 5, when the top 15 contestants will be decided. However, they will not be announced until the show airs on Nov. 9.

The Miss Universe 2013 beauty pageant will be held in Moscow. The new Miss Universe will be crowned by the current winner Olivia Culpo, an American from Rhode Island. Culpa was recently involved in a legal incident in India after a Miss Universe photoshoot at the Taj Mahal. She traveled to a number of countries including Indonesia, Russia, Ecuador and Morroco. The winner of Miss Universe will be an ambassador for the world and will win a number of cash prizes and also have stylists design wardrobe for the whole year.

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