Miss South America
Did you know- By 1981,the First Miss South America Universe was held in Peru’s capital of Lima. This event served as a springboard for its winning bid for the 1982 Miss Universe Pageant. Brazil’s Joao Havelange, Chairman of the FIFA, was one of the international judges. Miss Venezuela, Irene Saez (now a politician) won the trophy.
Did you know- The 12 semi-finalists were: Canada (winner), Guam (first runner-up), Italy (second runner-up), Greece (third runner-up), USA (fourth runner-up), England, Uruguay, Brazil, Peru, Germany, South Africa, and Finland. They were elected among 77 candidates from Asia, Africa, Europe, South Pacific, and the Americas. There were 12 international judges, among them Cicely Tyson (actress), Franco Nero (actor), Ron Duguay (Canada’s athlete), and Dong Kingman (painter).
Miss Universe 1957
Did you know- Peru is the birthplace of Latin America’s first Miss Universe: Gladys Zender Meir. Miss Zender won the beauty contest in 1957. About twenty-five years later, by July 1982, she was one of the international judges in Lima (Peru), along with Mario Vargas Llosa, one of Latin America’s most respected and prolific authors. Since 1957, no other Peruvian has won the beauty contest. Today she is the “First Lady of San Isidro”, one of the most modern districts of Lima, Peru’s capital city.
Did you know- Surprisingly, Miss Bahamas, Ava Marilyn Burke, a black beauty queen, won the Miss Photogenic title; the second time in the 30-year history of the Miss Universe that one black delegate had won the award. Burke brought home her nation’s first special award.
The Cayman Islands
Did you know- Miss Cayman Islands, Maureen Lewis, was the ninth Caribbean girl to win the international title in 30 years of the pageant competition. Unlike her late predecessor, she was a black girl.
Did you know- Of the foreign delegates in Lima, three had competed in Miss World 1981: Ireland, Spain and Wales. For unknown reasons, Tahiti (South Pacific) and Yugoslavia (Eastern Europe) did not attend to the MU.
Latin American Favorites
Did you know- After photographs of the 77 entries appeared in newspapers in Lima, Chile’s Jenny Purtho Arap became one of the pre-pageant favorites. She had been seen as the first Chilean with a real chance to win the universal title. Historically Chile had not been competitive in MU. Other favorites for Latin America were: Ava Marilyn Burke (Bahamas/ Miss Photogenic 1982), Celice Pinto Marques da Silva (Brazil), Eva Lissethe Barahona (Honduras), Maria Francesca Zaza Reinoso (Peru), and Ana Teresa Oropeza (Venezuela).