New Miss Universe passes out

Pageant officials immediately said the lithe 5 -foot-9 18 year-old was alright and had fainted.

“She is okay: She’s fine”, pageant representative Lark Anton told Reuters. “She got dizzy: It’s very hot up here: Her dress is tight – as you could see it was beaded and heavy. She passed out”.

Anton said Mendoza “had plenty to eat today”, when pressed for the beauty queen’s condition before she fainted at the centre of the stage at the Shrine Auditorium, where she had become the 55th Miss Universe before an International television audience.

Having lingered on stage after a new conference, Mendoza was facing the back of the stage leaning on some assistants when her face fell to her chest, her new tiara atop her head.

High, spiky heels.

Tottering on high, spiky heels, she appeared to learn in this fashion for about 10 seconds and, at 20:38, collapsed in the arms of pageant assistants.

She was rushed offstage while the organiser of a post-pageant press conference called for aid.

“Is there a nurse in the house? Can a nurse come to the stage”, said the announcer, who was not identified.

Within a minute, Anton said Mendoza was fine and had merely fainted.

Mendoza appeared radiant as she waved to photographers several minutes before collapsing, most of the press had left the stage area by the time the beauty queen fainted.

And she was radiant less than an hour before when she hugged the runner-up, Miss Japan, Kurara Chibana, 24, as she was named Miss Universe 2006.During her news Conference, Mendoza said she would carry out the work of the Miss Universe organisation, which is to work to help those with HIV/AIDS.

Second runner-up was Miss Switzerland Lauriane Gillieron, 21. Rounding out the top 5 were Miss Paraguay, Lourdes Arevalos, 22, and Miss United States, 20-year-old Tara Conner.

The Miss Universe contest was held at the fabled Shrine Auditorium near downtown Los Angeles. It was a homecoming of sorts, The first Miss Universe was held about 40 km away in Long Beach, California, in 1952.

Ending her year as Miss Universe was Canadian Natalie Glebora, who was born in Russia.

July 2006
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