SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Thursday March 24, 2016 – There’s a new Miss Universe Puerto Rico, after this year’s title holder was stripped of her crown following the revelation that she didn’t like cameras.
Brenda Jimenez competed in the Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2016 pageant in November and finished first runner-up to Kristhielee Caride who was dethroned last week after a brief but eventful reign.
— ray24378 (@rayjavier326) March 18, 2016
This is the first time a Puerto Rico Miss Universe contestant has lost her crown ahead of the pageant, although Miss Puerto Rico 1994, Brenda Robles, was dismissed during that year’s Miss Universe contest because she was pregnant.
In Caride’s case, the Puerto Rico franchise owners took the decision to fire her after she was dismissive during an interview with a local newspaper.
She told the paper that she “didn’t love the cameras,” causing quite a stir in the pageant-loving island.
There were reports of several incidents during her four-month reign, but a camera-shy beauty queen appeared to have been the last straw.
Desiree Lowry, national director of Miss Universe Puerto Rico, said she was appalled when she heard Caride say those words.
“I wanted the earth to swallow me,” Lowry said. “You always have to put your best face forward … it’s a given that we are going to be in front of cameras and that we have to answer all types of questions.”
The Associated Press reports that Lowry also noted that Caride didn’t apologize for the unfortunate interview, but said it would never happen again. She then proceeded to cancel other press events and reportedly would not reschedule.
Caride went on to ask for forgiveness, but after pageant officials refused to budge on their decision, she threatened to take the matter to court.
She told El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico’s largest newspaper, that she was exploring her legal options.
“I can’t understand how they made such a definitive decision when I’ve always been so punctual and have done everything that is asked of me,” she told the newspaper.
Fox News reports that fans of Caride subsequently launched a campaign on Facebook demanding her reinstatement.
Lowry nevertheless went on to introduce the new Miss Universe contestant at a press conference held at a restaurant in San Juan. Brenda Jiménez appeared in a sparkling tiara and a strapless red dress.
Brenda Jiménez es la nueva Miss Universe Puerto Rico ¡Felicidades! ??? pic.twitter.com/BABS7OZHV2
— Puerto Rico (@PuertoRicoPUR) March 17, 2016
“I still haven’t fully processed the information,” she said.
The tall (5ft 10in) 21-year-old brunette, who already holds the Miss Aguadilla Universe title, later said that she was very happy with her new responsibilities.
“I will be a very accessible Miss Puerto Rico,” she pledged during her media tour.
Jimenez will represent her country at Miss Universe 2016 where she will compete to succeed the current title holder Pia Wurtzbach of the Philippines.