Miss Puerto Rico Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza reacts as she standswith runner- up Miss Japan Kurara Chibana after Mendozawas named Miss Universe 2006 at the Shrine Auditorium inLos Angeles on July 23, 2006. (Both photos Reuters)
MISS Puerto Rico, 18-year-old Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza, was crowned Miss Universe 2006 in Los Angeles, California, early this morning. Her win is not surprising, as most Latin countries have entire industries dedicated to grooming and producing future Miss Universes and Miss Worlds. This is the fifth time that the US territory has won the title.
As has been usual for the past several years, no television channel that I know of broadcast the beauty pageant here in Saudi Arabia which left many a Miss Universe fan here frustrated. Orbit used to show it on its Hollywood channel, but stopped doing so a few years ago. I tried looking for it on LBC, since Miss Lebanon was participating, but no such luck. I suspect that with the deadly Israeli invasion of Lebanon in full swing, even the usually fun-loving Lebanese had other things on their minds than evening gowns and diamond encrusted tiaras.
Two days ago one of the news agencies filed a ridiculous story from Los Angeles gushing about how Miss Lebanon and Miss Israel were best of friends even though their countries were at war with each other. What a crock of propaganda we said at Arab News, and needless to say we didn’t use the story. I know that editors are often desperate for a peg on which to hang a story, but this was pushing it just a bit too far even for me.
I did take time though, along with my friend Marvin, to vote online a few days ago for Miss Photogenenic. Voters were asked to pick their top three candidates. Naturally we voted for Miss Philippines. We also chose Miss India and Miss Croatia. The good news is that Miss Philippines, Lia Andrea Ramos, won the title!
Hopefully someone I know has recorded the pageant and will lend me the recording. It’s always fun to watch such contests, even if you already know the results.