What is it with South America and beauty pageant mix-ups? First there was Colombia, where Steve Harvey mistakenly announced Ariadna Gutierrez, Miss Colombia, to have won Miss Universe, only to de-crown her moments later with the correction that Miss Philippines had actually won — a “very humiliating” moment for first runner up Gutierrez.
Then, last week, it was Brazil’s turn to have confusion reign — at Miss Rondonia Mundo, a regional contest that sends its winner on to the national Miss Brazil event. The last two contestants standing, Leticia Cappatto and Karliany Barbosa, held hands onstage as they awaited the results in front of a packed crowd in Porto Velho. And the next 50 seconds were sheer torture.
Leticia Cappatto, who had her crown snatched off in front of a crowd. (Photo: Facebook)
First, Cappatto was crowned the winner — sloppily, with the crown instantly clanging to the floor. A handler quickly retrieved it and placed it back on Cappatto’s head, where it remained for just a nanosecond before a woman burst out onstage and snatched it, moving it back and forth between the two women’s heads in a comically awkward and prolonged moment that ended only when the crown was finally put on a stunned Barbosa’s head.
Meanwhile, yet another stage assistant (there was a whole crew of them fluttering about) was busy trying to get the runner-up sash onto Cappatto, who tried to push him away, presumably to protest her embarrassing treatment, and who maintained a glorious death stare during the entire rest of the painful scene, even when the assistant hugged her. And then Cappatto was led away.
How hard is it, people?
“I didn’t know what to do when it happened,” she reportedly said afterward. “It felt like I was taking part in a scene from a film. I just wanted to leave that place, I felt humiliated.”
Barbosa, meanwhile, responding to charges of fraud, declared, “If I won it was on merit. I plan to start preparing myself shortly for the national competition. I’ll do so with great pride, respect and professionalism because the contest didn’t just reward beauty, it also rewarded culture, ethics, and knowledge about the state of Rondonia.”
On Facebook, supporters have come out in sympathy for Cappatto’s tease. “All this embarrassment has only served to show how much you are a winner!!!” wrote one fan “To me you are and will always be a champion.”