Miss Colombia Paulina Vega Crowned Miss Universe 2015 In Miami.
Miss Colombia Paulina Vega, a relative pageant newcomer, has been crowned Miss Universe, beating out first runner-up Miss USA Nia Sanchez and contestants from more than 80 other countries at Sunday’s pageant in Miami.
Vega, a 22-year-old student of business administration from Barranquilla, Colombia, said she would wear the crown with “pride and excitement” as she heard the news that fans in Colombia had taken to the streets to celebrate.
President Juan Manuel Santos took time out during an official visit to France to congratulate Vega for her “historic” title Sunday night in Miami. “This demonstrates that in Colombia we have women who are intelligent, hard-working and persevere in the face of obstacles,” Santos said. “They’re also very pretty.”
Colombians are obsessed with beauty and pageants are a major draw across social classes. But unlike neighboring Venezuela, which has won seven Miss Universe titles, Colombians are accustomed to falling short of the crown, with four runner-up appearances since 1992.
The only other Colombian Miss Universe is 76-year-old Luz Marina Zuluaga, who won the title in 1958. She told The Associated Press that Vega’s honor is long overdue.
“Like everyone else I’m very happy that a Colombian has finally won,” said Zuluaga, recalling how much the pageant had changed in the five decades since she was crowned. Bikinis weren’t yet a feature of the swimsuit competition and preparation for the gala event was almost nil in contrast to the industry of beauty schools, plastic surgeons and diction coaches that have sprouted up to prepare women for competition.