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Pattaya Daily News

24 July 2006 :: 16:07:47 pm 5662

Miss Puerto Rico Crowned Miss Universe

Los Angeles – Last night on live television, during one of the year’s most glamorous events, the new Miss Universe was crowned. The winner this year is an 18-year old woman from Puerto Rico.
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   Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza shared a nervous emotional hug with first runner-up, Kurara Chibana of Japan, moments before the winner was announced, then clasped her hands to her mouth in amazement as her name was called.

   She had a smile from ear to ear as the crown was placed upon her head, but briefly fainted during a post-pageant interview. She quickly recovered after she was given some liquids.

   She had been wearing a dress made completely of metal chains. Apparently, the weight of the dress coupled with standing under the hot lights too long was too much for Miss Puerto Rico to bear. Luckily when she fell, someone was there to catch her before she hit the ground.

   “I always had faith and confidence in myself, but I never knew I was going to win,” Rivera, speaking in Spanish from the stage, said in her first remarks as Miss Universe.

   The winner, who is from coastal town of Salinas, said she would continue the pageant‘s mission of promoting awareness and education about AIDS and HIV.

   “I want to tell those people there‘s always problems in life, but there‘s always possibilities to improve things,” she said.

   In her pageant biography, Rivera explained what made her different from the other contestants.

   “Physically, I have been told by modeling agencies and friends that I represent the consummate Latino look,” she said. “Everything in my face expresses our heritage, our music and the wonderful mixes of races that we are.”

   Rivera is the first winner from Puerto Rico since Denise Quinones in 2001, and the fifth overall in the pageant‘s 55-year history.

   Natalie Glebova, last year’s winner from Canada, crowned the 18-year-old delegate from Puerto Rico at the conclusion of the 55th Annual Award. She received a diamond and pearl studded headpiece worth $250,000 USD.

   Miss Mendoza will travel the world for a year on behalf of charities and pageant sponsors.

   Miss Universe 2006 was chosen by an international judging panel which included NBC‘s Las Vegas star James Lesure; NBC‘s latest winner from The Apprentice, Sean Yazbeck; renowned fashion photographer Patrick McMullan; Project Runway‘s Santino Rice; NBC‘s Deal or No Deal briefcase model Claudia Jordan; Telemundo‘s Al Rojo Vivo anchor Maria Celeste Arraras; former Miss Universe Amelia Vega; television writer/creator Marc Cherry; former Miss Teen USA and actress, Bridgette Wilson Sampras; comedian Tom Green and former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith.

   The most photogenic award went to Lia Andrea Ramos of the Philippians after an on-line vote. The Miss Congeniality award, voted on by all 86 contestants, went to Angela Asare of Ghana. The runner up, Miss Japan, who carried the impressive looking Samurai sword, won the award for best national costume.

 Final Results:

  First Runner Up: Miss Japan, Kurara Chibana will assume the duties of
           MISS UNIVERSE 2006 if the titleholder for some reason
           can not fulfill her responsibilities.

  Second Runner Up: Miss Switzerland, Lauriane Gillieron

  Rest of Top Five:
  Miss Switzerland, Lauriane Gillieron
  Miss Paraguay, Lourdes Arevalos
  Miss Japan, Kurara Chibana
  Miss United States, Tara Conner
  Miss Puerto Rico, Zuleyka Rivera

  Rest of Top Ten:
  Miss Canada, Alice Panikian
  Miss Trinidad/Tobago, Kenisha Thom
  Miss Bolivia, Desiree Duran
  Miss Japan, Kurara Chibana
  Miss Puerto Rico, Zuleyka Rivera
  Miss United States, Tara Conner
  Miss Switzerland, Lauriane Gillieron
  Miss Mexico, Priscila Perales
  Miss Colombia, Valerie Dominguez
  Miss Paraguay, Lourdes Arevalos

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Entertainment News

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