It was a victory 57 years in the making.
In front of an estimated one billion viewers worldwide, Paulina Vega was crowned Miss Universe 2014 at the FIU Arena in Miami, Florida on January 25, besting 87 other candidates from around the globe.
Vega is the second woman to take home the Miss Universe crown from Colombia. Born in the town of Barranquilla, the 22 year-old is a business administration student at the Universidad Javeriana in Bogota. She graduated from a German school in Colombia, and speaks English and a bit of French. She has been a model since she was eight and belongs to a big family with four sisters and three brothers.
Miss USA Nia Sanchez was first runner-up while Miss Ukraine Diana Harkusha finished second runner-up. Third runner-up was Yasmin Verheijen of Netherlands while crowd favorite Kaci Fennell of Jamaica ended up 4th runner-up.
The rest of the Top 10 were: Miss Argentina, Valentina Ferrer; Miss Australia, Tegan Martin; Miss Philippines, Mary Jean Lastimosa; Miss Spain, Desire Cordero Ferrer; and Miss Venezuela, Migbelis Castellanos.
Completing the Top 15 semifinalists were: Miss Brazil, Melissa Gurgel; Miss France, Camille Cerf; Miss India, Noyonita Lodh; Miss Indonesia, Elvira Devinamira; and Miss Italy, Valentina Bonariva.
This was the first time since 2010 that the Philippines failed to place in the Top 5.
Miss Photogenic Universe award went to Miss Puerto Rico Gabriela Berrios while Miss Indonesia won the Best National Costume after topping the Twitter votes. Miss Nigeria Queen Osme Celestine was voted by her peers for her as the most congenial, charismatic and inspirational participant, en route to winning the Miss Congeniality Universe award.
The evening’s musical performers included: multi-talented, platinum-selling solo artist, Nick Jonas who sang a three-song medley during the evening gown competition from his self-titled album that includes the first smash single and radio hit, “Jealous,” in addition to “Chains” and “Teacher;” American musician singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw performed his hit songs “Fire” and “Finest Hour” from his new album “Best of Gavin DeGraw,” during the pageant’s Final Look; and during the swimsuit competition, twenty-time Latin Billboard Award winner, multi-platinum singer-songwriter Prince Royce performed his new English-language single entitled “Stuck on a Feeling” as well as Spanish-language hit song “Darte un Beso.”
The judges who sealed the fate of this year’s winner included: Kristin Cavallari, TV host and shoe designer for Kristin Cavallari by Chinese Laundry; Rob Dyrdek, Dynamic serial entrepreneur and star of MTV’s Ridiculousness and Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory; Emilio Estefan, 19-time Grammy Award winning musician and producer; Nina Garcia, Creative Director of Marie Claire Magazine, Lifetime’s hit show “Project Runway” judge, and fashion industry expert; DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins wide receiver and return specialist; three-time Pro Bowler; William Levy, TV and film actor who was previously named People En Espanol’s Sexiest Man Alive; Manny Pacquiao, Fighter of the Decade, eight-division world champion and Filipino Congressman; Louise Roe, Fashion journalist, author, host of “Plain Jane” on MTV International and the upcoming TLC fashion series, “Style By Jury;” Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins celebrated right fielder, two-time major league baseball All-star and recipient of the biggest contract in sports history; and Lisa Vanderpump, Star of hit show “Vanderpump Rules” and “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”