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

(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.

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 and wearing evening gowns that had been coated with pepper spray, pageant spokesman Harold Rosario said. (AP Photo/Ricardo Díaz...
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)
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 and wearing evening gowns that had been coated with pepper spray, pageant spokesman Harold Rosario said. (AP Photo/Ricardo Díaz...
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)
Ingrid Marie Rivera Santos walks down steps shortly after becoming a choice from her region in the Caribbean at the Miss World contest Dec. 10, 2005 file photo. Rivera, beat 29 rivals to become the island's 2008 Miss Universe contestant, despite applying makeup and wearing evening gowns that had been...
Ingrid Marie Rivera Santos walks down steps shortly after becoming a choice from her region in the Caribbean at the Miss World contest Dec. 10, 2005 file photo. Rivera, beat 29 rivals to become the island's...   (Associated Press)
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 and wearing evening gowns that had been coated with pepper spray, pageant spokesman Harold Rosario said. (AP Photo/Ricardo Díaz...
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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