MOSCOW, August 24 (RIA Novosti) - The Miss Universe 2009 crown has been won by Miss Venezuela, the country's second victory in a row.
Stefania Fernandez, 18, who has Russian, Ukrainian, Galician and Polish origins, was crowned in the Bahamas on Sunday evening by her compatriot Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2008.
Russia, Ukraine and Poland did not make the final 15.
Miss Dominican Republic, Ada de la Cruz, 23, was named the first runner-up for the prestigious crown, and second runner-up was Miss Kosovo, 18-year-old Marigona Dragusha.
The beauty pageant was held with only 83 contestants in the island nation's capital of Nassau, the first time the competition has been held there.
Miss Kazakhstan, Miss Northern Marianas and Miss Trinidad and Tobago pulled out because of a lack of financing, according to the Miss Universe website. Miss Turks and Caicos, Jewel Selver, withdrew on the eve of the event on Saturday, citing dehydration.
Miss China, Wang Jingyao, 21, was named Miss Congeniality and Miss Thailand, Chutima Durongdej, 23, was named Miss Photogenic.
The Latin American nation of 20 million people could very well become the beauty capital of the world. Venezuela has won five Miss Universe, five Miss World and four Miss International crowns, more than any other country.
The first Miss Universe pageant was held on June 28, 1952, at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium in Long Beach, California. Thirty contestants competed for the title, which was won by 18-year-old Armi Kuusela of Finland, who was crowned by actress Piper Laurie.