Article about Maritza Sayalero, Miss Universe 1979

I arrived at Miss Venezuela Pageant because of Osmel Sousa; one Sunday my parents and I were in a restaurant, Osmel went to us and said “this girl has potential for beauty pageants, good sizes, she is tall and beautiful…” time went away and after 1 year he saw us again, I was 17 years old and that time he putted in me the seed of curiosity. I talked about it with my father because he rejected the invitation, I don’t know what he was thinking about?... but I had my mother’s support, so she and I tried to convince my father. She was my best partner from beginning until the day when I was crowned; she was always along with me. I used to go with my mother everywhere I was a girl of home, a student, I think that helped me people love me. I was a quiet contender, no problematic, followed by press. The only one problem was Chepa Candela, she tried to make a fun of my father…. But those were trivialities; I really didn’t have a bad experience.

When I won, there were 2 months left for Miss Universe, there were many weeks of preparation, to learn secrets of beauty, to open doors asking help, to borrow cloth … I come from a family with out many money, a common family, an average family. I remember two ladies Maruja Beracasa and Antonieta Scanonne, who loaned me cloth for the contest. Ms. Beracasa lent me a large fox shelter, a shelter that brought me luck and went through out the planet.

That year the Miss Universe Pageant was held in Perth, Australia, it was winter, when a got there after a very tired trip, I focused to do my best. In one of the photo shoot sessions with photographer and international press I was wearing a tiny black bathing suit, I held my hair back, I wore earrings and bracelets, I wore my shelter because I was very cold, then I went out of my room and I went to swimming pool wearing my shelter where the press were, when I got there I stood on stone and I said in Spanish “hey, Are you ready guys?, because I am very cold, ok?”, they got ready and I took my shelter off, I think they never imagined that I was wearing just bathing suit under the shelter, I don’t know what were they waiting for?, they took me a lot of pictures, it was a madness!!, I just heard camera’s flashes and clicks, I was alone, it was my 5 minutes of fame!”

I won the Miss Universe Contest, it was wonderful, a dream came true, it is unforgettable, my prizes were a shelter, a car, travels, cloth for 1 year, make up, I had to right of try an audition for a movie, but I rejected it, but I tried in a model agency by John Casablanca, I was interviewed by him twice, and we decided that when I finish my duties as Miss Universe, I would move to New York for about 3 moths and I would try something in model field, if I had not met my husband, I would have done it probably. When I said goodbye Mr. Casablanca, I said him that he has probably lost the next top model of the 80’s, but I had others plans. I won $20,000 US in cash, and I gave it half to my parents.

I still love beauty pageants, in home they know I never miss it, I go to my bedroom and I watch it and enjoy it with love and passion, crossing finger for Venezuelan candidate who is always a front runner and my husband who always watch with me the pageant he says “oh no, Miss Venezuela again made it!!!”, sometimes he jokes and says “I figure out the pageant is arranged, they pay something, because Miss Venezuela always make the cut”.

My experience have been 100% positive, I can not say bad things about beauty pageants, because if not would have happened these two events in my life, I would not have what I now have, I am very thankful.

Taken from Estampas Magazine

Collaboration of Franco Saponaro (Venezuela)



This anecdote is from the month: APRIL 2006

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