TORONTO (AP) _ Juliette Powell, of St. Laurent, Quebec, becoming the first mixed-race contestant to be crowned Miss Canada, said her victory is proof multiculturalism thrives in Canada.

The 18-year-old Miss Laurentians was among 46 candidates from across Canada who competed in the 42nd annual contest, which was televised live nationally.

''I'm proud to be the first mulatto (winner) and I will gladly serve as a role model for both white and black Canadians,'' she said in a telephone interview after Tuesday's ceremony.

Ms. Powell said, ''The title has nothing to do with politics ... I don't see Miss Canada as a political figure. I see it as someone who represents Canada and its people.''

Ms. Powell was born in New York City but moved to Canada as a child and now holds dual citizenship. She is a part-time model and a second-year commerce student at Vanier College in St. Laurant.

The first runner up was Kari Lee Hudson, Miss Toronto.

Ms. Powell was given about $100,000 in cash and prizes including a new car and mink coat. She will represent Canada in the Miss Universe pageant next May.