Miss Venezuela does it again
NASSAU: Miss Venezuela was the fairest of them all once again, winning the 2009 Miss Universe crown for the second year straight and the sixth time since the pageant’s creation.
Dressed in a flowing red gown, 18-year-old Stefania Fernandez hugged the runner-up from the Dominican Republic and danced in joy as her victory was announced on August 23.
The crown briefly fell to the floor as it passed from one Venezuelan beauty to the next. But Fernandez said there was time for outgoing Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza to whisper in her ear that she must have worked hard for Venezuela to win consecutive crowns.
“What do we Venezuelans have?” Fernandez, an international relations student, told reporters after the pageant. “That we are ourselves.”
The other top-five finalists were runner-up Ada Aimee de la Cruz, followed by Miss Kosovo, Droga Ganusha; Miss Australia, Rachael Finch; and Miss Puerto Rico, Mayra Matos Perez. During a question-and-answer segment with the five top finalists, Fernandez said she believed women have overcome obstacles such as hitting the proverbial glass ceiling.
“I feel we have reached the level that men are at,” she said.
When asked later how she thought beauty contests promoted equality between men and women, Fernandez said they provided exposure. “We have quite a following worldwide,” she said. “We are models to follow.”
The top 15 Miss Universe finalists appeared in bathing suits before the final 10 were chosen for the evening gown segment. The televised event included musical performances by Flo Rida, Heidi Montag, David Guetta and Kelly Rowland.
Judges included actor Dean Cain and supermodel Valeria
Mazza. Miss China, Wang
Jingyao, was named Miss Congeniality and Miss Thailand,
Chutima Durongdej, won Miss Photogenic.