Why Latinas Rule Miss Universe

Last night Miss Mexico became queen of Miss Universe, but during the past several decades, the pageant has shown that Latinas are some of the most beautiful, well-rounded women in the world. 

Among the top 15 semifinalists last night, four were Latina. Jessica Scheel, Jimena Navarrete, Natalia Navarro, and Mariana Paola Vicente represented the countries of Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia and Puerto Rico respectively. Mexico, Puerto Rico and Guatemala made it to the top 10 for the evening gown competition, and Navarrete ultimately won the coveted title.

Aside from this year’s pageant, five Latinas in the past ten years have been crowned Miss Universe.  The list includes: 2009 Stefania Fernandez (Venezuela), 2008 Dayana Mendoza  (Venezuela), 2006 Zuleyka Rivera (Puerto Rico), 2003 Amelia Vega (Dominican Republic) and 2001 Denise M. Quinones ( Puerto Rico), but the victories don’t end there.

Since 1970, 17 Latinas have been winners, reigning from the countries of Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Spain.

Even though the United States is the country with the most wins since the pageant started in 1952, Venezuela and Puerto Rico are the only countries to have had at least one winner in the last 40 years! Venezuela has a total of six wins, the most of any Latin country, while Puerto Rico has five. In 2009, Venezuela became the first country ever to win consecutive titles, with Dayana Mendoza passing the crown to Stefania Fernandez.

While Venezuelan beauties may have won the crown half of a dozen times, Colombians have also won big, but in another category. These Latinas have won the best National Costume Award six times, the most of any country.

Missed the 2010 Miss Universe pageant? Watch the highlights here.