BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Carnival has come a few weeks early to the Caribbean city of Barranquilla where residents took to the streets to show their hometown pride after local girl Paulina Vega was crowned Miss Universe.
Even President Juan Manuel Santos has taken time out during a trip to France to congratulate the 22-year-old for her "historic" title.
Colombians are obsessed with beauty and pageants are a major draw. But while neighboring Venezuela has won seven Miss Universe titles, Colombians are accustomed to finishing runner-up.
The only other Colombian Miss Universe is 76-year-old Luz Marina Zuluaga. She says the honor is "long overdue."
Vega's hometown is known for South America's most-raucous Carnival after Rio de Janeiro. It's also the birthplace of two other globally distinguished beauties: singer Shakira and actress Sofia Vergara.