1994 : Mighty Venezuela , the beauty pageant power house since the 1980 's, was suddenly eclipsed by India - then dubbed as the rising star in the world of pageantry.
The first to commence among the so-called grand slam pageant was the Miss Universe pageant, held in the exotic city of Manila. The heavy favorite from Venezuela, Minorka Mercado, only ended up as 2nd Runner-up to eventual winner, Sushmita Sen of India. Not so many had anticipated a major upset while leading on to the finals, but Sen's victory was proven to be a truly deserved one. It was India's first in the said pageant.
A few months had passed, Venezuela once again settled for a 2nd Runner-up position in the Miss World pageant. Irene Esther Ferreira, an early favorite and winner of the Best in National Costume award, did not succeed in improving their MU performance a few months earlier as the charismatic green-eyed beauty from India, Aishwarya Rai, was crowned as Miss World..
This is just the beginning..
VENEZUELA vs INDIA: A Curious Case of Pageant Rivalry
The classic rivalry between Venezuela and India in the world of pageantry is something that many pageant fanatics have grown to get used to. The fact is, neither of them owns a homegrown Big 4 pageant, yet, they had captured 18 crowns these past two decades. Needless to say, that a Big 4 pageant without one of them is as boring as having a World Cup without either Brazil or Germany. Let's take a look of this rivalry by taking a little trip down the memory lane, starting with...
1995 Despite bagging two major crowns the previous year, India did not succeed in winning a crown this time, but they had managed to make an impressive finish at Miss Universe - placing as 1st Runner-up. Venezuela was also 1st Runner-up at Miss International, but on top of that, they also captured the Miss World crown.
1996 Venezuela won the Miss Universe crown. At Miss World, both India and Venezuela were two of the last three girls standing. Interestingly, both countries were left clapping as Irene Skilva of Greece was declared winner of Miss World that year.
1997 The year started with an impressive 1st Runner-up finish for Venezuela at Miss Universe. Miss International came next, but historically speaking, this pageant is not India's turf. They have not won this crown, ever. Prior to the proclamation of the 1997 queen, Venezuela only managed to snag this crown once - in 1985. But, it was during this year that for the very first time, Venezuela and India had a 1-2 finish in a grand slam pageant. Venezuela's Consuelo Adler won the crown, and India's Diya Abraham was her runner-up. Miss World, on the other hand, was won by India.
Diya Abraham (left) and Consuelo Adler (center)
1998 It was supposedly a good harvest for Venezuela when they started the year with a 1st Runner-up finish at Miss Universe. At Miss International, they were also 1st Runner-up. Just when it was thought that India would make a strong defense on their title at Miss World, together with Venezuela, they were left clapping. Neither of them qualified into the semifinals.
1999 At Miss Universe, both Venezuela and India were favored to win the title but neither made it into the Top 3. At Miss International, neither of them also made a strong showing. It was in Miss World that we witnessed another 1-2 finish for both countries, but this time, the fortune was reversed. India's Yuktah Mookhey took the limelight from the bookmaker's favorite, Martina Thorogood of Venezuela.
2000 Just when we thought that the Indian-Venezuelan rivalry was over, the year started with both of these countries leading at the Miss Universe pageant held in Cyprus. India's Lara Dutta became the runaway winner, and Claudia Moreno of Venezuela was 1st Runner-up. At Miss International, Venezuela captured their third crown. At Miss World, India responded with a big win by earning it's first ever back-to-back victory in a grand slam pageant.
The years 2001 and 2002 were lackluster years for both countries, as neither of them had won a crown, even with the entry of the Miss Earth pageant. Interestingly, Venezuela and India were 3rd and 4th Runners-up respectively at Miss Universe 2001. In 2002, neither of them classified in the semifinals of the Miss International pageant.
2003 This is probably the last time that we have witnessed a 1-2 finish for both countries. At Miss International, Goizeder Azua of Venezuela was declared winner, while India's Shonali Nagrani was her 1st Runner-up.
(In Photo)Shonali Nagrani (left) and Goizeder Azua (center)
The last times that we have seen both countries in the winners' roster were in the 2006 and 2007 editions of Miss Earth. India was 1st Runner-up during both occasions. Venezuela was 3rd Runner-up and 2nd Runner-up, respectively.
At the 2012 edition of Miss International, avid pageant followers have been monitoring closely the developments of the events in Okinawa. Both the Indian and Venezuelan representatives are tipped to place high in the pageant, but the question is, will they be able to meet the expectations of their fans?
Miss Venezuela International 2012 is Blanca Cristina Aljibes, while Miss India International 2012 is Rochelle Maria Rao.