Irene Sáez, Miss Universe 1981 (Venezuela)


She wins easily Miss Venezuela 1981 representing the province of Miranda.

On June 1981 she started her international achievements. She travelled to Lima Peru, where she won Miss Confraternity of South America. She immediately travelled to New York to take part in Miss Universe Pageant, in the preliminaries was known the title of Miss Photogenic won by Tina Branstrup of Denmark, Miss Congeniality won by Linda Theresa Smith of Bahamas and best National Costume won by Adriana Alves de Oliveira Miss Brazil, Irene placed second.

The final night of Miss Universe was on July 20, 1981. Few hours prior three airplanes full of Venezuelans landed on International Kennedy Airport. All of them travelled just to support Irene.

Irene made the cut with a score of 8.575, the highest score of the semi-finalist, later 3 rounds of competition, interview where she scored 8.966, swimsuit with a score of 9.024, and evening gown scoring 8.887. She got the highest score in every category.


During interview Irene said that she was studying to become an engineer in Metropolitan University of Caracas, because she likes “to see grow up the buildings as children grow up”. She confessed to be a fanatic of American sports; she was a fan of Cincinnati Reds and Miami Dolphins. When Bob Parker (the host) asked her who George Steinbrenner is? (Yankees of New York’s owner), she replied, “He is a pitcher”. The spontaneous of her answer made high scores.

Minutes later Irene was crowned as Miss Universe 1981, the audience screaming a lot “Venezuela, Venezuela”. The host announced at Dominique DuFour Miss Canada as first runner up, so Irene Sáez became the new Miss Universe, she sent a kiss and opened her arms.



She was crowned; she made her first catwalk with little tears and sat down in her throne where the first to congratulate her was Miss Bolivia Vivian Maricruz Aponte Zambrana, she was also her roommate.

Irene Sáez born in Chacao, Miranda, Venezuela on December 13, 1961, she is the youngest of 6 brothers. Her father Carlos Sáez, her mother Ligia Sáez who passed away when Irene was 3 years old.

Irene travelled for all Latin America and Japan. On May 06, 1982 she gave back her crown as Miss Venezuela to Ana Teresa Oropeza Villavicencio, on July 26, 1982 she crowned as Miss Universe 1982 in Lima Peru to Karen Baldwin of Canada.

Sáez said that during her reign were some misadventures, for that reason she threatened to publish a book titled "crowns of thorns", but never happened. In 1983 she was proclaimed Panamerican Games Queen, and took part in opening ceremony in Olympic Stadium in Caracas. In 1984 she enters the University in her country to study Politic Sciences.

In 1989 she graduated and leave the country for 2 years, she lived to Unite States but came back in. 1991. In 1992 she became in Mayor of Chacao for a period of 3 years, when finished her period she was re-elected by majority. Chacao was known during her period as “Ireneland”, because all was clean, everything worked and it was very nice to see the difference compare with the Capital.

In 1995 she was judge in Miss Universe held in Namibia. In 1997 during Miss Universe held in Miami, USA, she was recognized as “the most beautiful and talent Miss Universe of the history”. Alicia Machado Miss Universe 1996 of Venezuela gave her and trophy, Irene said warm words in English.




In 1998 Irene Sáez is candidate for President of Venezuela, she was the big favourite to win, until she accepts Copei’s support, she came down in the surveys. One week before the elections on December 4th the political party withdrew their support to her, she placed third behind Hugo Chávez and Henrique Salas Romer.

In 1999 she was candidate for Governor of the State of Nueva Esparta and won, same year she married with lawyer Humberto Briceño León on March 31st, 1999. on June 23rd., 2000 the son of Irene was born in Miami, USA his name is Eduardo José del Valle Briceño Sáez. He was baptized in Caracas Venezuela on November 5th, 1999.

On February 2002 was known that Irene was divorcing from his husband Humberto Briceño. In October of the same year Sáez joined to Colonial Bank of South Florida where she belongs to council directors. From then she lives in Miami, USA.


Collaboration of Israel H. Barroso (Mexico)     

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