Beauty Pageant Turns Ugly

Would-be Miss Universe overcomes pepper spray sabotage
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2007 11:35 AM CST
Ingrid Marie Rivera smiles during a beauty pageant in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Friday, Nov. 23, 2007. Rivera, beat 29 rivals to become the island's 2008 Miss Universe contestant, despite applying makeup...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Ingrid Marie Rivera looked hot at the Miss Puerto Rico Universe pageant—but not in the good way. Pageant officials are investigating who doused the eventual winner's gowns and makeup with pepper spray, the AP reports. Rivera kept her composure before the judges, but once backstage she ripped off her clothes and applied ice packs to her face and body because her skin was swelling and breaking out in hives.

Worse, she was targeted twice. "We thought at first it was an allergic reaction, or maybe nerves," said a pageant official. "But the second time, we knew it couldn't have been a coincidence." Pageant officials say the probe doesn't involve police. Rivera, who won Miss World Caribbean in 2005, was heavily favored coming into the competition.