Venezuela to field a mother for first time in Miss Universe 2024 in Mexico
MANILA, Philippines—The rivalry between neighboring South American countries Venezuela and Colombia in the Miss Universe pageant heats up with the former crowning a mother to compete in next year’s contest, taking its cue from the latter.
Ileana Marquez from the state of Amazonas, mother to an 11-year-old daughter, was proclaimed Miss Venezuela in the national pageant’s 70th edition held in Caracas on Dec. 7 (Dec. 8 in Manila), earning the right to compete in the 2024 Miss Universe pageant in Mexico. Colombia had already sent a mother to the global tilt, Camila Avela, who finished in the Top 5 in this year’s competition.
The Colombian beauty, a wife and a mother of one, finished higher than the Venezuelan delegate in the 2023 Miss Universe pageant. Venezuela’s Diana Silva, a single woman who has never borne a child, only landed in the Top 10.
It was in 2022 when the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) announced that it would welcome mothers and married women starting in the 2023 competition. It came even before the full acquisition of the organization by Anne Jakjrajutatip’s JKN Global Group.
For the 2023 Miss Universe pageant, Guatemala was the first to crown a mother as its representative, Michelle Cohn, who is a married woman with two children. The Miss Universe Philippines pageant also accepted mothers and wives to the national pageant this year.
The new Venezuelan queen bested 24 other aspirants for the national title to become the third woman representing Amazonas to capture the crown. The two others were 2008 Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza and 1992 Miss Universe Top 6 finisher Carolina Iszak.
Seven Venezuelan women have won the Miss Universe crown. Aside from Mendoza, other winners from Venezuela include Martiza Sayalero (1979), Irene Saez (1981), Barbara Palacios (1986), Alicia Machado (1996), Stefania Fernandez (2009) and Gabriela Isler (2013).
The Miss Universe Philippines pageant, meanwhile, has tapped “Accredited Partners” (APs) to search for participants in the 2024 national competition, where Miss Universe Top 10 finisher Michelle Marquez Dee will crown her successor. Some provinces and cities have already proclaimed their respective representatives, while screenings are ongoing for the other partners.