Venezuela is home to the world’s most beautiful women. This tropical South American country produced 9 major beauty titlists, 5 for Miss World and 4 for Miss Universe since 1955. This list does not include the Miss International beauty title winners.
Carmen Zubillaga (1955)
The first Venezuelan beauty titlist is Carmen Zubillaga. She was crowned Miss World in 1955 in a beauty contest held in London that same year. She is in fact the first South American woman to win the Miss World beauty contest.
Pilin Leon (Carmen Josefina Leon Crespo) – 1981
Miss Pilin Leon is the second Venezuelan woman to win the Miss World contest since 1955 when Carmen Zubillaga made it as the first South American woman to win the crown. The 1981 Miss World beauty contest was held in London.
Astrid Carolina Herrera Irrazabal (1984)
Miss Irrazabal won the Miss World Beauty contest held in London in 1984. Miss Irrazabal was born on June 23, 1963 in Caracas Venezuela. After winning the world crown, she pursued her career in television and in the movies. She is a very popular television personality in Venezuela.
Ninibeth Beatriz Leal Jimenez (1991)
The fourth Venezuelan woman who won the Miss World contest is Miss Ninibeth Beatriz Leal Jimenez… She won the contest in the 41st Miss World contest held in Atlanta, Georgia on December 28, 1991.
Jacqueline Maria Aguillera Marcano
The last Venezuelan woman who won in the popular Miss World contest is Jacqueline Maria Aguilera Marcano. She was crowned Miss World of 1995 in a beauty contest held in Sun City, South Africa. She was 19 years old when she won the title. She was later given recognition as the Top Model of the world in 1995. She now manages a modeling agency in Venezuela.
The first Venezuelan woman to win the Miss Universe Beauty contest is Maritza Sayalero. She was crowned Miss Universe of 1979 in a pageant held in Perth, Australia on July 19, 1979. Miss Sayalero was born on February 16, 1961 in Caracas. Maritza has since been active in the fashion front which she later pursued in California where she is now based. She is married to a Mexican Tennis Player Raul Ramirez and blessed with 3 children.
Irene Saez (1981)
Miss Irene Saez was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1961. She joined the Miss Universe Beauty contest at the age of 19. She won the Miss Universe crown during the 30th Miss Universe Beauty contest held in New York City in 1981.
Miss Saez has a very colorful career after her reign as Miss Universe of 1981. She entered politics in early 1990 and was successful in becoming a Mayor of Chacao, one of the Municipalities of Caracas. She was elected to the position by a popular vote. She became so popular that she actually campaigned for the Presidency of Venezuela but she was not successful. Two years later, she served as governor of Nueva Sparta but later stepped down when she became pregnant. She was rumored to have been pressured to give up her post by the politicians identified with the Chavez regime. Miss Saez later moved to Miami, Florida with her family.
Barbara Palacios (1986)
Barbara Palacios is the 3rd woman from Venezuela to be crowned Miss Universe of 1986 in a pageant held in Panama on July 6, 1986. After her reign as Miss Universe, she became a talk show hostess. She was also involved in tourism having served as a former Minister of Tourism of Venezuela. She later moved to Florida attending to a jewelry business bearing her name.
Alicia Machado (1996)
Alicia Machado became the 4th woman from Venezuela to win the Miss Universe contest that was held in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1996. She was born on December 6, 1976 to a Spanish mother and a Cuban father. Miss Machado was almost replaced by her runner -up when she gain so much weight during her term, drawing comments from millionaire Donald Trump, calling her as the “eating machine”. She later managed to shed some weight and stayed on to finish her reign. She became a TV commercial model and movie actress. Miss Machado became very popular in her movie career.
Miss Machado appeared in the 2006 issue of Playboy magazine’s Mexican edition where she dedicated her photographs to Donald Trump. She was the first Miss Universe who posed nude for Playboy Magazine. She currently lives in Mexico.