Pageant Powerhouse: Puerto Rico's Remarkable Dominance in the World of Pageantry

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This paradise island of Puerto Rico has made a remarkable presence in the world of pageantry; Located in the Caribbean Sea with only 3 million population. Puerto Rico have accomplished winning all the crowns in every single Big International Pageant (Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss Grand International, Miss International, Miss Supranational, and Miss Earth). Puerto Rico has made a great influence on the pageantry world by always sending well-groomed delegates who were highly skilled in stage presentation with charismatic personalities, and impeccable communication skills in both Spanish and English.

The auburn-haired, blue-green-eyed Marisol Malaret was the first Puerto Rican woman and Caribbean woman to be crowned Miss Universe 1970 in Florida, United States. According to New York Times reported that Marisol's homecoming had a turnover of over 50,000 people waiting to welcome her at the International Airport. Her triumph was just the beginning of a long accomplishment for Puerto Rico's success at Miss Universe and other International Pageants. Born in San Juan, a young classical trained ballerina with a major in drama Deborah Carthy-Deu won the crown of Miss Universe in 1985 in Florida, United States. Her dance background helped her during runway presentations with her fluid movement and graceful gesture allowed her to become the second Puerto Rican woman to clinch the Miss Universe crown.

Mesmerizing light blue-eyed beauty, Dayanara Torres first competed at Miss International in Japan where she placed semi-finalist then she joined the Miss Universe in 1993 which was held in Manila, Philippines. Her alabaster radiant complexion with an alluring and angelic aura impressed the panel of judges and she wore the iconic  Sarah Coventry Miss Universe crown. Dayanara became an ambassador for UNICEF, traveling throughout Asia and Latin America doing humanitarian work. She created the Dayanara Torres Foundation which has supplied scholarships to impoverished students in Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Her charming personality and enthusiasm for learning the Tagalog language and embracing local Filipino culture made her a huge celebrity in the Philippines. After she handed over her crown to her successor; she had a brilliant acting career post her reign as Miss Universe.

There has been a tradition for Puerto Rican queens to wear white gowns;  since two former Miss Universe, Deborah and Dayanara won wearing divine white evening gowns. Denise paraded on the stage wearing a simple gown, showcasing her effortless and magical beauty. Denise Quiñones won the Miss Universe 2001 title in her home country of Puerto Rico. The outgoing Miss Universe 2000 Lara Dutta of India crowned Denise with a ceremony with huge reception by the audience with a loud cheer and the sound of applause in the Ruben Rodríguez Coliseum. She was the first winner to wear the exquisite Mikimoto Crown during the official press presentation by Mikimoto's former brand director, Mr. Toyohiko Miyamoto. After her reign, she used her acting background and worked as a popular television actress in the United States. She was featured in famous television shows like Aquaman. In 2018, Denise was designated as the new national director for Miss Universe Puerto Rico, handling the responsibility and commitment to select Puerto Rican delegates for the Miss Universe beauty pageant.

Stunning and glamorous with breathtaking beauty, Zuleyka Rivera took everyone's notice when she walked on the stage wearing the iconic chain dress during the evening gown competition. It was the winning moment for Puerto Rico as she shined throughout the night and the gown performance was the icing on the cake, it resulted in Zuleyka wearing the Mikimoto crown in Miss Universe 2006. She featured in many soap opera shows, and her appearance in the "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi music video made her even more famous.

In 1975, Wilnelia Merced joined the Miss World pageant at the Royal Albert Hall in London, United Kingdom. Her charm impressed the judges as she was crowned the ultimate winner by the end of the event. She worked as a fashion model signed with Ford Models and worked in the lucrative fashion industry in New York City. She later married and moved to live with her husband in England.

41 years later, a young and intelligent law student Stephanie Del Valle from San Juan has been crowned the winner of Miss World 2016, which was held in Maryland, United States. She had a successful reign as she traveled to China, the United Kingdom, the United States, Indonesia, India, South Africa, the Philippines, and numerous trips around Puerto Rico. She became a regular part of the Miss World committee in future editions of the Miss World beauty pageant. Stephanie has a big hand in the celebration of the 70th Anniversary edition of Miss World which was held in her home country Puerto Rico.

Blonde hair and blue-eyed beauty; Laurie Simpson was selected to represent Puerto Rico at Miss Universe in 1987 as there was no national pageant that happened that year in Puerto Rico. She manage to place 4th Runner Up at Miss Universe and then she made her journey to Tokyo, Japan where she was the eventual winner of Miss International 1987. She became the first Puerto Rican woman to wear the Mikimoto crown as she dazzled the judges with her personality and sincerity on the stage.

A pageant veteran who had won Miss Teen International 2012 contest for teenagers; Valerie Hernandez competed in Miss International 2014 pageant in Japan. Her Latina beauty made her stand out in the eyes of the judges her feminine beauty and graceful presentation helped her win the second Miss International crown for her country.

Making a historical win for Puerto Rico as the very first ever winner of the golden pageant Miss Grand International 2013, Janelee Chaparro impressed the judges with her brilliance and charisma. As the first title holder of Miss Grand International, she traveled the world spreading awareness about "Stop the War and Violence" which is the slogan of the beauty pageant. She also joined Miss World 2012 before her win in Miss Grand International, where she placed Top 30 semi-finalists.

Born in the capital San Juan, Puerto Rico to Dominican parents. Nellys Pimentel was a recent graduate magna cum laude in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico when she was crowned Miss Earth 2019 in the Philippines. As an earth warrior, she was actively attending many environmental programs to decrease global warming in this planet.

Puerto Rico is the only country to win all the Big International Pageants including the Miss Supranational crown. Valeria Vázquez Latorre was crowned as Miss Supranational 2018 which was held in Krynica-Zdrój, Poland.

Island country; Puerto Rico has always been consistent by spending extraordinary delegates throughout different International Pageants. The diversity of Puerto Rican people and their passion for celebrating pageantry has made Puerto Rico a pageant powerhouse nation. They have managed to keep up the momentum by providing helpful training sessions to their beauty queens to be the overall total package. The reigning Puerto Rican representative is the ravishing and intelligent Ashley Ann Cariño, she had represented Puerto Rico at Miss Universe 2022 and placed in Top 5 finalists. Her statuesque figure, stellar presence, and intellectual ability with a background in Psychology and Aerospace Engineering. She is multifaceted, and blessed with many abilities which will do wonders for her when she competes in the IMG Miss Universe pageant; where the emphasis is now given to leadership quality and the importance on speaking skills. There is so much greatness coming from Puerto Rico in all the different aspects of pageantry with Oxana Rivera aiming to win the second golden crown of Miss Grand International in Indonesia later this year. Overall, we can expect to see Puerto Rico add more crowns to their impressive long list of achievements, this year.

What do you think of Puerto Rico's success? Comment below

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  1. They won Intercontinental a few times too.

  2. Dayanara Torres won in 1993 in Mexico City and passed on the title to India's Sushmita Sen in Manila in 1

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