December is fast approaching and it means we are getting closer to the most anticipated day in the ~universe~: Miss Universe 2019.
During the past 68 years, a number of beauty queens have already made a name for themselves not only in the pageant industry but also in showbiz and their personal ventures. We have Gloria Diaz, Margie Moran, Pia Wurtzbach, and Catriona Gray from the Philippines. These four beauty queens marked history when they won the Miss Universe crown in 1969, 1973, 2015, and 2018 respectively, making the Philippines third in the list of countries with the most number of titles bagged since 1952.
Aside from the Philippines, Colombia has also proven that it is a home of beauty queens. It has won two crowns and several runners-up as of the last Miss Universe pageant in 2017. Colombian beauty queens have been catching the eyes of many all over the world that it makes pageant enthusiasts go crazy thinking whether the country's bet will secure a spot in the Top 5. But before we get to know some of the most famous and stunning Colombian beauty queens, let's take a look at the country's local pageant.
Señorita Colombia (Miss Colombia), the Concurso Nacional de Belleza (National Beauty Contest of Colombia), is usually held in November in Cartagena City to commemorate the city's independence every November 11. However, this year was an exemption because Señorita Colombia was held on September 30. The local pageant began in 1934, and it has been organized annually since 1961.
The Señorita Colombia winner represents the country in the annual Miss Universe competition. Before winning the title, a contestant can join the pageant more than once. She can also move from one department to another, provided that she cannot move to other provinces once she represents a specific department. A department in Colombia consists of different municipalities.
Miss Colombia also stands out from the other countries' local pageant because of the "jewels" the titleholder receives. First on the list is the sash with a Srta. Colombia (Señorita Colombia) print on it. Next is the 24 karat-gold crown with a cross on its middle. The cross has an emerald at its center. The design of the crown has wavelike figures, symbolizing the sea waves and coat of arms of Cartagena City. Third, an 18 karat-gold ring that is in the shape of the queen's crown is also given. It has four square-cut diamonds and five rectangular-cut rubies. Last is a 24 karat-gold scepter with a wooden rod that has a silver-gilt end.
Miss Universe Colombia Winners And Notable Participants Since 1958
Luz Marina Zuluaga, 1958
Luz Marina Zuluaga was the first Colombian beauty queen to win the Miss Universe title. She was born in Pereira, but she moved to Manizales, under the Department of Caldas, at a young age. Before representing her country, she won the local titles Miss Pereira and Miss Caldas.
Luck was on Luz's side for she was still crowned as Miss Colombia even if she originally finished as the runner-up of Doris Gil Santamaria. Just before the Miss Universe pageant in California, Doris got married, making her resign as the reigning queen. One of the rules was that a contestant cannot marry before the Miss Universe coronation day. By default, Luz had to replace Doris in the pageant.
After the pageant, Luz married a doctor and moved to the United States. She had three sons and a daughter. In 1966, she returned to Manizales and began a career in the state's institute of tourism where she became director. Luz died at the age of 77
Paola Turbay, 1992
Paola Turbay Gomez is of American descent, but her family moved to Colombia when she was 10. She is related to Julio César Turbay Ayala, the 25th President of Colombia who served from 1978 to 1982.
Paola represented Bogota in Señorita Colombia and bagged the first runner-up. After Luz Zuluaga's win in 1958, Colombia never placed higher than second runner-up until 1991.
Paola completed a Psychology degree at the Universidad de los Andes and attended a conservatory program in acting in Southern Florida. After studying, she began her acting career and debuted on the comedy Noticias Calientes and the series Las Noches de Luciana. In 2014, Paola co-founded IndieBo, a Bogota Independent Film Festival, where she serves as executive director. She also manages her facial care product line, 24/7 by Paola Turbay. Paola currently lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
Taliana Vargas, 2008
Taliana María Vargas Carrillo was Miss Universe 2008 first runner-up. After three consecutive years from 1992 to 1994, it was only in 2007 that Colombia finished first runner-up again. Taliana was the first beauty queen to bring home the Señorita Colombia crown to the Department of Magdalena. Apart from the local title, she also received the Miss Elegance, Best Face, and The Queen of the Police awards. In Miss Universe, she placed first in the swimsuit and evening gown competitions. However, after the question and answer portion, Miss Venezuela Dayana Mendoza won the title.
Taliana pursued a career in showbiz and modeling after the pageant. She is one of the most sought-after actresses in Colombia. She was well-known for her roles in soap operas Chepe Fortuna (2010), Rafael Orozco El Idolo (2012 to 2013), and Fugitivos (2014). She was also the face of famous brands such as Nestle and L'Oreal. As of writing, she has over 1.9 million followers on Instagram.
In August 2015, Taliana tied the knot with businessman Alejandro Eder. She is now four months pregnant with a baby girl she named Alicia Maria.
Paulina Vega, 2014
After 56 years, another Colombian beauty queen was bestowed with the Miss Universe crown. Paulina Vega Dieppa, a business administration student at that time, was the 11th Señorita Colombia from the Department of Atlantico. Paulina may be a pageant newcomer, but it is undeniable that beauty and brains run in her family. Her grandmother, Elvira Castillo, was Colombia's Miss Atlantico 1953.
Paulina was only 22 years old when she received the luxurious Miss Universe prize package that includes world travel, free access to salons and parlors, a rent-free apartment in New York City, and more. She was the first to wear the famous Diamond International Corporation crown, which was also worn by Philippines' Pia Wurtzbach in 2015.
During her reign as Miss Universe, Paulina spent a year spreading awareness on humanitarian issues and HIV/AIDS. She eventually became an actress, model, and television host. Despite her new career, Paulina remained as an inspiration to many for being an advocate of real beauty: perfect imperfections. She even started a blog in September 2018 to share her discoveries and experiences to the world, "... with honesty, simplicity, and fun… so out goes Miss Universe, and in comes Paulina Vega."
Ariadna Gutierrez, 2015
Ariadna Gutierrez, who was the Department of Sucre's first queen to bag the Señorita Colombia title, is the most famous first runner-up in pageant history.
It was supposedly a back-to-back win for Colombia in 2015. During the dramatic turnover of the crown, host Steve Harvey mistakenly announced Ariadna as Miss Universe instead of Philippines' Pia Wurtzbach. Paulina Vega, who happens to be her cousin, had no choice but to remove the crown from Ariadna's head. Despite the "humiliating" experience caused by Harvey's infamous fiasco, Ariadna was still a winner for being the Universe's face of determination and courage.
Currently, Ariadna is earning the spotlight once again as she enters the world of professional modeling. She also starred with American actor Vin Diesel in the 2017 film xXx: Return of Xander Cage. Early this year, she entered as a celebrity housemate in American Big Brother, and placed fourth.
Who among the Miss Universe 2018 candidates will be crowned as the new queen? Will Miss Colombia Valeria Morales Delgado or Miss Philippines Catriona Gray make it to the top?
Witness how these beautiful ladies compete for the Miss Universe 2018 crown on December 17, 2018, in Bangkok, Thailand.