Beauty contests like Miss Universe usually draw one of two responses. 1) In a fair and equal society, surely a contest based on a woman's genetic luck is an anachronism, and 2) Wooar, look at them brilliant tits!
Miss Universe 2006 took place at the weekend, and it continued Planet Earth's extraordinary 54-year winning streak against every single other planet in the universe for having fit birds and that. The winner of the 2006 Miss Universe contest was Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza, an 18-year-old girl from Puerto Rico, who sort of smiled and then fainted when she was told that she was the prettiest girl in all of the universe.
Now, we're not saying that it's been a quiet weekend, but a pretty girl winning a competition for pretty girls doesn't exactly strike us as staggering news. But still, remember the name Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza – she's only bloody Miss Universe 200, isn't she? And one day she wants to be a big film star, just like other beauty queens turned actresses like Halle Berry and, um, the others. And, as she was awarded the Miss Universe title, something staggering happened to Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza, as ABC reports:
Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza shared a nervous emotional hug with first runner-up, Kurara Chibana of Japan, moments before the winner was announced, then clasped her hands to her mouth in amazement as her name was called. She beamed as the crown was placed on her head.
So she hugged another girl, looked surprised and then smiled? How does that in any way deviate from the results of any other beauty contest ever? Now, it'd have been news if Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza punched the Japanese girl out and then shat herself, but smiling? Anyway, Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza is the first Miss Universe winner to hail from Puerto Rico for five years. We're not sure if that's a particularly long or short time to have a gap between Miss Universe winners, by the way, but it's a handy fact you can bring up during an awkward silence with a new colleague. Or something. Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza always knew that she'd eventually be crowned Miss Universe, as her Miss Universe biography stated:
"Physically, I have been told by modelling agencies and friends that I represent the consummate Latino look. Everything in my face expresses our heritage, our music and the wonderful mixes of races that we are."
Highlights of the Miss Universe 2006 contest included the Filipino entry being voted most photogenic online, the Ghanaian entry winning the congeniality award and the Japanese entry winging a huge samurai sword around until someone told her that her costume was quite nice. Oh, and Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza fainting after being crowned Miss Universe 2006. Because she was wearing a dress made of metal chains.
As the newly-crowned Miss Universe, Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza will now enjoy a year of flying around the world helping out with charities. Presumably this involves going to war-torn, famine-stricken refugee camps and telling them that they could look as good as her if only they'd use some decent conditioner once in a while.
[story by Stuart Heritage]