As winner of the 63rd annual Miss Universe Pageant, Paulina Vega can’t wait to travel the globe and begin working on her pageant platform: educating people on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. It’s a difficult task,, but one the former Miss Colombia — a business administration student who speaks Spanish, English and French — is well suited for.
The 22-year-old spoke to Star about the competition, her yearlong reign and more!
What’s the biggest misconception about the Miss Universe pageant?
People don’t know what the winner does besides be beautiful, wear makeup and smile. We have a responsibility to represent the women of our state, our country, our world. After I won Miss Colombia, I was working every day, traveling around my country and raising funds for different charitable foundations. I learned so much about myself and Colombia, and now I’ll travel the world!
Did you enjoy the competition?
It was great! I made friends with women from vastly different countries and cultures, including Guyana, France and Finland. I think I have a home in every country in the world because of that.
What was your key to winning?
Being authentic and natural and spontaneous. The world wants to see the real person, not mascara or acting or any of this other stuff. Just me being me!
Why did you choose HIV as your platform?
I think it’s a very important topic today because we can fight it with prevention and education. If I’m able to help spread the message around the world that you need to be careful and know what to do in certain situations, then I can help the cause.
For our full interview with Paulina, pick up the latest issue of Star, on newsstands now!