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Miss Colombia

Miss Colombia is a national beauty contest. The Miss Colombia pageant elects representatives to Miss Universe who is Miss Colombia and Miss International who is Miss Colombia International or 1st Runner Up. The Miss Mundo Colombia pageant is a separate and smaller event that sends Colombia's representative to Miss World. The Miss Earth Colombia pageant is a separate countrywide search for Colombia's representative to Miss Earth.

The Miss Colombia pageant is held annually in the city of Cartagena de Indias. Coverage is given by the media to the contest, including by Cromos magazine which devotes entire issues to the individual contestants favored to win, and four covers of the magazine are devoted to the pageant in a 4-week period.

Every major network sends news crews, and have sets built by the beach in Cartagena to report live for at least fifteen minutes every day towards the end of the news broadcast on the goings-on of the contestants. Aspirants must compete in their respective Departments to earn a title for the pageant.

Miss Colombia 2009

Main article: Miss Colombia 2009Miss Colombia 2009, the 75th Miss Colombia pageant, was held at the Centro de Convenciones in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, on Monday, November 16, 2009. Miss Colombia 2008, Michelle Rouillard, crowned Natalia Navarro Galvis of Bolivar as the new Miss Colombia.


Colombia has strict rules regarding participation of any Miss Universe preliminary: once a contestant registers for the pageant, she is confined to her own Department and cannot jump states/provinces as happens frequently elsewhere. However, she can participate more than once for the same department; the winner of the pageant in 2003 had already come in fourth place at the Miss Valle pageant the year before she won and eventually went on to win the national crown.

Perhaps this rule is the reason for the intense rivalries that have developed between departments (states) to win the most crowns, a couple of them have garnered a significant number, starting with Atlantico (9), Valle (8), Santander (7), Antioquia (6), Bolivar (6).

Prelude to the Pageant

The pageant itself always around November 11, and many of the activities, such as the entire production of the Cromos magazines devoted to the pageant take place in the weeks preceding the pageant.

There are a number of preliminary events involving the sponsors, such as the election of the Figura Bodytech (the Bodytech Figure) which confers free gym membership at the Bodytech franchise for five years to the contestant with the most toned, harmonious and healthy body of the pageant.

List Of Winners Of Figura Bodytech Prize

2002 - Diana Lucia Mantilla (Santander)

2003 - Catherine Daza Manchola (Valle del Cauca)

2004 - Adriana Tarud (Atlantico)

2005 - Valerie Dominguez (Atlantico)

2006 - Laura Montoya (Antioquia)

2007 - Maria Cristina Diaz-Granados (Bogota)

2008 - Stephanie Garces Aljure (Valle del Cauca)

2009 - Natalia Navarro Galvis (Bolivar)

Since the prize was first awarded, the winner of the Bodytech Figure prize has gone on to win Miss Colombia each year except for in 2006 and 2007 when they became Runner Ups. There are also prizes for the contestant with the best hair (Silueta Schwarzkopff brand), the most photogenic candidate (Sony), the most punctual (who receives a Edox watch), most beautiful costume, and even the mothers of the delegates must compete in a talent show to select the "Queen Mother."

Interesting Facts

Because of its incredible drawing power in a country facing the effects of war and drug trafficking, the Miss Colombia pageant remains surrounded by as much legend and mystery as the neighboring Miss Venezuela contest.

Among the most notable facts seen on the pageant are:

Urban city among the pageant

* In Cartagena de Indias, venue of the annual development of the Pageant, school children are given two weeks' holiday in when the pageant arrives. The pageant coincides with the celebration of the independence of Cartagena de Indias, November 11, giving rise to the "Fiestas de Noviembre," or November Festivities.

Wearing utensilies

* The Gold crown is designed for the winner by the prestigious and traditional Cesareo Jewelers.

* In the last years, the outgoing titleholder crowns her successor in Cartagena de Indias, transferring the gold crown, a precious tortoise-shell scepter, and a gold ring which is carried by Miss Colombia at all times while she is in the country.

Duties of the current Miss Colombia titleholder

* The winner traditionally confers with the President of Colombia several times during her reign.

List of Miss Colombia Titleholders

Miss Colombia titleholders 1934 - 1957

Initially, the pageant's winners held the title for a biennial period; Yolanda Emiliani Roman, Miss Colombia 1934, held her title for the longest reign in the pageant's history.

1934 - Yolanda Emiliani Roman (Bolivar)

1947 - Piedad Gomez Roman (Bolivar)

1949 - Myriam Sojo Zambrano (Atlantico)

1951 - Leonor Navia Orjuela (Valle del Cauca)

1953 - Luz Marina Cruz Lozada (Valle del Cauca)

1955 - Esperanza Gallon Dominguez (Santander)

1957 - Doris Gil Santamaria (Antioquia)

Miss Colombia titleholders 1958 - present

1958 - Luz Marina Zuluaga (Caldas)

1959 - Stella Marquez Zawadsky (Narino)

1961 - Sonia Heidman Gomez (Bolivar)

1962 - Martha Ligia Restrepo Gonzalez (Atlantico)

1963 - Leonor Duplat San Juan (Cucuta/Norte de Santander)

1964 - Martha Cecilia Calero Cordoba (Cali/Valle del Cauca)

1965 - Edna Margarita Rudd Lucena (Ibague/Tolima)

1966 - Elsa Garrido Cajiao (Cauca)

1967 - Luz Elena Restrepo Gonzalez (Atlantico)

1968 - Margarita Maria Reyes Zawadsky (Valle del Cauca)

1969 - Maria Luisa Riasco Velasquez (Antioquia)

1970 - Piedad Mejia Trujillo (Caldas)

1971 - Maria Luisa Lignarolo Martinez (Atlantico)

1972 - Ana Lucia Agudelo Correa (Valle del Cauca)

1973 - Ella Cecilia Escandon Palacios (Santander)

1974 - Martha Lucia Echeverry Trujillo (Valle del Cauca)

1975 - Maria Helena Reyes Abisambra (Bogota)

1976 - Aura Maria Mojica Salcedo (Valle del Cauca)

1977 - Shirley Saenz Starnes (Bogota)

1978 - Ana Milena Parra Turbay (Santander)

1979 - Maria Patricia Arbelaez (Antioquia)

1980 - Nini Johanna Soto Gonzalez (Santander)

1981 - Maria Teresa Gomez Fajardo (Antioquia)

1982 - Julie Pauline Saenz Starnes (Bogota)

1983 - Susana Caldas Lemaitre (Bolivar)

1984 - Sandra Borda Caldas (Bolivar)

1985 - Maria Monica Urbina Plugiesse (Guajira)

1986 - Patricia Lopez Ruiz (Antioquia)

1987 - Diana Patricia Arevalo Guerra (Santander)

1988 - Maria Teresa Eugorrola Hinojosa (Guajira)

1989 - Lizeth Yamile Mahecha Arevalo (Atlantico)

1990 - Maribel Gutierrez Tinoco (Atlantico)

1991 - Paola Turbay Gomez (Bogota)

1992 - Paula Andrea Betancur Arroyave (Amazonas)

1993 - Carolina Gomez Correa (Bogota)

1994 - Tatiana Castro Abuchaibe (Cesar)

1995 - Lina Maria Gaviria Forero (Meta)

1996 - Claudia Elena Vasquez Angel (Antioquia)

1997 - Silvia Fernanda Ortiz Guerra (Santander)

1998 - Marianella Maal Paccini (Atlantico)

1999 - Catalina Ines Acosta Albarracin (Cundinamarca)

2000 - Andrea Maria Noceti Gomez (Cartagena)

2001 - Vanessa Alexandra Mendoza Bustos (Choco)

2002 - Diana Lucia Mantilla Prada (Santander)

2003 - Catherine Daza Manchola (Valle del Cauca)

2004 - Adriana Cecilia Tarud Duran (Atlantico)

2005 - Valerie Dominguez Tarud (Atlantico)

2006 - Eileen Roca Torralvo (Cesar)

2007 - Taliana Maria Vargas Carrillo (Magdalena)

2008 - Michelle Rouillard Estrada (Cauca)

2009 - Natalia Navarro Galvis (Bolivar)

International participation

Despite the country's fascination with pageants and the incredible efforts and funds expended to prepare winners (including appointing them teams of fashion designers and coaches), it has had a mixed record at international contests. Luz Marina Zuluaga remains the country's only Miss Universe, winning in 1958; she was awarded a mansion and tax exemption for life, an honor which is expected to follow any woman who can retake the world title. Colombians have come close on several occasions, making the top 15 multiple times, and from 1992 to 1994 Miss Colombia consecutively placed as first runner-up, and again in 2008 but the Miss Universe title has continued to elude the country. In 2004, for example, Jeymmy Paola Vargas Gomez became the first black woman to win the Miss International crown.

Colombian representatives at Miss Universe

In these versions of Miss Universe, the CNB did not have the franchise to participate, however, another entity designated to these young ladies to represent Colombia.**Maria Victoria Ocampo Gomez represented Bolivar in the national pageant and then she was appointed in another contest where she earned the right to participate in Miss Universe.

Colombian representatives at Miss International

Controversies and Criticism

The pageant has had its share of controversies, ranging from involvement of the country's powerful drug lords (who opulently sponsored many delegates in the early nineties) to allegations of racism.

Beauty versus Poverty

Colombia has the distinction of being one of a select few countries where taxpayer money is actually spent on the pageant: some departmental governments will actually fund their individual contestants, pageants, or even appoint their representatives to the pageant.

The fact that each regional government donates a very high sum of money to something apparently useless for a country that has more relevant poverty problems.


Feminist groups and advocates also criticize the way women are portrayed in the media, and the sole purpose of an event like this would benefit women at all.

Stand against Plastic Surgery

Raimundo Angulo owner of the Senorita Colombia/Miss Colombia Universe franchise has encouraged pageant hopefuls to refrain from indulging in too much plastic surgery, in an effort to emphasize the importance of natural beauty to young women. Many Colombians were still surprised with the controversial selection of Miss Colombia 2007 Eileen Roca Torralvo, who, while allegedly free of any plastic surgery, had not been a media favorite to win the crown.

David Letterman on Miss Colombia

In May 2001, David Letterman joked about the 'special talent' which the then-reigning Miss Colombia Andrea Noceti possessed - that she was able to "swallow 50 balloons full of heroin" for the (non existent) talent competition in the Miss Universe 2001 pageant. The remark not only infuriated the beauty queen, but also the people in Colombia.

Miss Colombia openly threatened to sue Letterman but later withdrawn the statement after Letterman formally apologised to her in The Late Show with David Letterman about the quip made. Letterman had invited the beauty queen to appear on his show as a gesture of appeasement.

Involvement of Drug Lords

The involvement of the drug lords became evident when a number of delegates later married their sponsors.

Miss Choco (1996) Zolima Bechara was disqualified as first runner up (who was to attend Miss International) when she visited a drug lord in jail.

Miss Atlantico Maribel Gutierrez Tinoco who went on to win the Miss Colombia 1990 crown famously stepped down to marry "El Mico" Duran, who was later murdered.


In 2001, Vanessa Mendoza of Choco won the pageant, becoming the first black woman to do so and setting off an immense debate over the country's treatment of its black minorities. A living "Cinderella" who came from abject poverty, she received numerous awards for her humanitarian work, including a postage stamp issued in her honor and government assistance for her home province, one of the country's poorest. Despite being the massive favorite of Latin American papers to win the Miss Universe 2002 pageant, she did not place.

Nude Pictorial of Delegates

A number of candidates have been removed as delegates at the departmental (state) level because they have been featured in advertising for underwear or in various states of undress.

In 2005 the pageant was rocked by a scandal when Miss Bogota (the representative of the country's capital) who was chosen through a reality television show, was revealed to have posed with a naked torso (her arms covering her breasts) and exposed buttocks (in a thong) for a health magazine (Salud). She was disqualified by the president of the Concurso Nacional de Belleza (which is a non-profit but private corporation) and the first runner up was also unable to go because she could not prove the 10-year residency requirement.

Stung by their removal from the pageant, a number of media in Bogota attempted to create a scandal over pictures of then-Miss Atlantico Valerie Dominguez who was alleged to have posed in her underwear for a supplement of her hometown newspaper. The committee looked at the pictures and confirmed they were indeed swimwear and she remained in the pageant. She went on to win the Figura Bodytech prize and then the Miss Colombia crown (2005-2006).

External links

Official site: Concurso Nacional de Belleza - srtacolombia.org

Pageantopolis.com: Lists of Miss Colombia Universe Delegates and Placements

Pageantopolis.com: Lists of Miss Colombia International Delegates and Placements

Miss Colombia History

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Miss Colombia

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