Doral, United States (AFP) -Colombia’s Paulina Vega was crowned Miss Universe Sunday, beating out contenders from the United States, Ukraine, Jamaica and The Netherlands at the world’s top beauty pageant in Florida.
The 22-year-old model and business student triumphed over 87 other women from around the world, and is only the second beauty queen from Colombia to take home the prize.
The last time Colombia won the crown was in 1958 when Luz Marina Zuluaga scored the title.
Vega, wearing a long silver sequined gown, was beaming and tearful as she accepted her sash and crown from reigning Miss Universe, Venezuelan Gabriela Isler.
She edged out first runner-up, Nia Sanchez from the United States, hugging her as the win was announced.
London-born Vega dedicated her title to Colombia and to all her supporters.
“We are proud, this is a triumph, not only personal, but for all those 47 million Colombians who were dreaming with me and were part of this whole process,” she told reporters after the win.
She said the title was “more important than the World Cup,” and said beauty queens are respected around the world.