Three of the last six Miss Universe pageant have been won by Misses from Venezuela. On november 2013, Gabriela Isler marks the seventh Miss Universe to come out of Venezuela. Pageants are a massive, huge, enormous part of their culture. In 2010, professor Belinda Edmondson of Rutgers University published an academic paper that pretty much summed it up: “In the beauty contest-obsessed societies of the Caribbean and Latin America, a contestant’s chances of winning a national pageant are directly related to the perception that she has a shot at winning an international beauty contest such as Miss World or Miss Universe.” A source close to the Miss Universe organization said to a Yahoo’s journalist: “They take their pageants very seriously. It’s a big deal, and a ton of girls compete. It’s a different level of importance there, and they’re fierce competitors.”
In 2009, Venezuela became the first country ever to win consecutive titles, with Dayana Mendoza passing the crown to Stefania Fernandez.
Miss Universe 2009 Stefania Fernandez, Jack Brockbank of Guinness World Records and Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza
Yes, latinas rule a big part of Miss Universe Pageant but they are not alone, according to Latina website, aside from this year’s pageant, five Latinas in the past ten years have been crowned Miss Universe. The list includes: 2009 Stefania Fernandez (Venezuela), 2008 Dayana Mendoza (Venezuela), 2006 Zuleyka Rivera (Puerto Rico), 2003 Amelia Vega (Dominican Republic) and 2001 Denise M. Quinones ( Puerto Rico), but the victories don’t end there. Since 1970, 17 Latinas have been winners, reigning from the countries of Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Spain.
Puerto Rico has won the Miss Universe Pageant 5 times. Denise Quinones is what we call a hometown winner, like Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo (she won in Las Vegas). Quinones is also the second Miss Universe to relinguish her crown in her homeland since the pageant started broadcasting outside USA. The first was Margie Moran of the Philippines in 1974 when she crowned Amparo Munoz of Spain in Manila, Philippines. While most beauty pageant fans are arguing that her winning was a hometown decision – we could not avoid this kind of thinking if you have won in your own country and this is not only for beauty pageants but it is universal – it is undeniably that Denise is also a deserving winner. During the Miss Universe pageant, Quiñones was asked what she thought the most important thing in life was. She quickly answered, “to be the best I can be.” Whether that is fighting AIDS, pursuing a career in showbiz, or inspiring a nation of young Puerto Ricans to love their country and reach for their dreams, there is no doubt Quiñones’s best, will make a difference in many lives.
Below, Denise Quinones poses with Eva Ekvall from Venezuela, In February 2010, just months after giving birth to her only child, Ekvall was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, she died in 2011.
On september 2002, the Miss Universe organization announced that Oxana Fedorova from Russia has been terminated as Miss Universe 2002, and the first runner-up of Panama, Justine Pasek, ‘will ascend to the title and serve the remaining nine months of the reign.’
Recently, Miss Universe 1996 Alicia Machado from Venezuela and Miss Universe 2001 from Puerto Rico Denise Quinones joining the show Nuestra Belleza Latina. They will each offer their expert advice as mentors to a different team of contestants, helping them master the runway, offer them guidance on fashion and make-up, and add yet another element of competition to the show. Nuestra Belleza Latina (English: Our Latin Beauty) is a beauty pageant and reality show produced by Univision.