Friday, November 30, 2007

Beauty wins despite ugly pageant prank

Puerto Rico

Throughout the Miss Puerto Rico pageant last week, someone apparently doused Ingrid Marie Rivera’s clothes with pepper spray and spiked her make-up so that she broke out in ugly, swollen hives

San Juan, Puerto Rico: Police on Monday sought to determine who tried to turn a beauty contestant ugly by dousing her clothing with a chemical solution and spiking her makeup, causing her to break out in hives.

Ingrid Marie Rivera was composed while appearing before cameras and judges throughout the Miss Puerto Rico Universe pageant but had to strip off her clothes backstage and apply ice bags to her face and body and she swelled and broke out in hives twice. But the veteran beauty-pageant contestant beat 29 rivals last Friday to become Puerto Rico’s 2008 Miss Universe contestant.

Pageant spokesman Harold Rosario said the symptoms first began showing up during preliminary competition on November 18. “We thought at first it was an allergic reaction, or maybe nerves,” Rosario said. “But the second time, we knew it couldn’t have been a coincidence.”

Police spokesman Stephen Alvarez said on Monday that an evening gown and Rivera’s makeup have been delivered to the Institute of Forensic Sciences for a chemical analysis. Magali Febles, director of the Miss Puerto Rico Universe pageant, said earlier that the substance used in the alleged attempt to derail Rivera’s bid for the crown appeared to be pepper gas.

Rivera tearfully recounted her ordeal at a news conference on Sunday, acknowledging she had wavered about staying in the contest.

“At one point I said, ‘Am I a masochist?’” she recalled. “But I said, ‘I am with God and this is my goal, regardless of the results’.”


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