Steve Harvey's Miss Universe mix-up 'humiliating' for me and my country: Miss Colombia

Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez (left) having her crown removed after the mix-up.
Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez (left) having her crown removed after the mix-up. PHOTO: AFP

She wore the Miss Universe crown for a mere four minutes before she had to give it up because of an embarrassing mix-up.

Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez has finally spoken for the first time about the controversy that marred the international beauty pageant on Dec 20.

"It was very humiliating for me, but also for the whole country and for all the people not only from Colombia but the other Latinos that were in the auditorium," the 22-year-old told Colombia's W Radio on Wednesday (Dec 30).

Pageant host and US comedian Steve Harvey had initially announced that Ms Gutierrez was the winner, but was forced to admit in front of a live global audience that he had made a mistake just minutes later.

Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach was crowned Miss Universe instead.


The crown being placed on the head of Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach. PHOTO: AFP

Even though Ms Gutierrez was praised for responding to Mr Harvey's gaffe with grace - she also took to Instagram to congratulate Ms Wurtzbach - she said she had mostly kept silent on the issue as she had to "grieve".

"I was disconnected. I haven't received phone calls from almost anyone. Very few people have communicated with me," she added.

Ms Gutierrez also described her ordeal as a "great shock" and "great injustice", and criticised the way the error was handled.

 
 

The only thing that crossed her mind when it happened was that Mr Harvey was joking. He had been known to goof around during rehearsals.

While Mr Harvey later issued a sincere apology for his mistake, the damage had already been done.

Reports of a rift between the pageant contestants emerged, with previously unseen footage showing several beauty queens snubbing Ms Wurtzbach off stage as she tried to console Ms Gutierrez.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who previously owned the telecast rights to Miss Universe, had tweeted that Ms Gutierrez and Ms Wurtzbach should have been crowned co-winners.

In an interview with The Straits Times, Singapore's representative for the pageant Lisa Marie White said the mix-up meant "nobody really won".

"That special moment when you are crowned Miss Universe - it was destroyed for the both of them," Ms White said.