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.
Vega’s win keeps the title in the hands of another Latina — reigning Miss Universe Gabriela Isler is from Venezuela.
After Sanchez, the 24-year-old Miss USA from Las Vegas, Nevada, the second runner-up was Miss Ukraine Diana Harkusha. Miss Jamaica Kaci Fennell and Miss Netherlands Yasmin Verheijen were also among the top five, emerging from the field of 88 contestants.