All 88 beauty queens from around the world sashayed across the Miss Universe stage on Sunday night, and in the end the jeweled headpiece stayed in South America with Venezuela’s Gabriela Isler passing off the crown to Colombia’s Paulina Vega.
And though over-the-top traditional costumes, dazzling evening gowns and a bikini segment are always expected in the annual beauty pageant, so are the questions concerning contestants’ plastic surgery.
While there are no set rules against contestants going under the knife, many have argued that women who’ve had surgical enhancements should not be allowed to compete for the coveted title. In an interview with HuffPost Voces just days before becoming Miss Universe, Vega addressed the topic and added she has not undergone any cosmetic procedures.
When asked about whether she agreed with allowing plastic surgery within the Miss Universe competition, the Colombian beauty queen said she didn’t mind as long as contestants didn’t take it to the extreme.
“I agree, but not when they use this new technology, this new tool excessively,” Vega told HuffPost Voces. “I think that you should always retain your original body, because we are all born beautiful.”
Vega also spoke about why she should be crowned Miss Universe and what she hoped to do with the title.
“I’m going to become Miss Universe because this isn’t only a personal dream, it’s the dream of 47 million people,” Vega said, referencing the Colombian population. “[I’ll be crowned] because I have great aspirations with this, because I want to be an excellent leader, an excellent example for girls and teens. I want them to know that physical beauty isn’t all that matters, but also what he have in our minds and in our hearts, the importance of loving ourselves, each other and the planet.”
Vega’s win marks the second for Colombia in the Miss Universe pageant, Luz Marina Zuluaga was the first in 1958. Since then Colombian beauty queens have often found themselves as First-Runner Ups to the title, as was the case in 1992, 1993, 1994 and 2008.
The country’s president Juan Manuel Santos said of the win: ‘It shows that in Colombia we have very intelligent women, very hardworking women, women who persevere when faced with obstacles, and in addition to that they’re very beautiful.”