#Nostalgia: Miss Universe 1998 1st Runner up, Veruska Tatiana Ramirez

Her’s was the Cinderella story that could have been made into a Hollywood movie. Meet Miss Venezuela 1997 and Miss Universe 1998 1st runner up, Veruska Tatiana Ramirez.

Born with a commanding height of 5’11 1/2″ with green eyes and light brown hair, Veruska was in every inch a model and beauty queen material. Then 18 year old was said to have been encouraged to join the Miss Venezuela pageant by reigning queen Marena Bencomo after she asked for an autograph. It is said that Veruska was cleaning houses to houses to make ends meet as she was abandoned by her parents at age 9 to a neighbor that took her in.

In Miss Venezuela, she was Miss Tachira and was among the tallest in her batch. She was also the recipient of the Most Beautiful Eyes award. Her win as Miss Venezuela that year would propel her to one of the most well-contested Miss Universe pageant a year later.
Veruska was styled a bit more softer for her MU stint. Her eyes looked softer, her hair was dyed auburn/mahogany and her styling was always on point. So it is no surprise that she almost dominated the entire pageant. She had the face of a goddess, the body of a supermodel and a very compelling backstory that would make anyone teary-eyed.

The finals night was a battle between her and Trinidad & Tobago’s Wendy Fitzwilliam. Veruska’s finals night swimsuit score was 9.85 from eight judges that year, beating out Alicia Machado’s highest score of 9.82 back in 1996. Until that point she had the highest swimsuit score at the televised finals to date. A feat that would be beaten later by Oxana Fedorova in 2002 with her score of 9.88. Up until now, those three ladies have the highest televised swimsuit scores ever in Miss Universe history.

During the tense final 3 moments, it became a toss between her and Wendy after Puerto Rico’s Joyce Giraud gave a convoluted answer to the final question. While Veruska answered directly to the point, it was Wendy’s powerful answer that really gave her a boost for the title. When it was just the last two of them standing, Veruska had a very nervous look on her. The disappointment was visible on her face when she was named 1st runner up. Nevertheless, Veruska has made her country proud of her accomplishments.
It was interesting to note that a year prior, Venezuela was also 1st runner up in MU with Marena Bencomo. And that her fellow Miss Venezuela 1997 titlist, Daniela Kosan Montcourt, also became 1st runner up in Miss International 1998 and was the winner of Nuestra Belleza Internacional 1997. Other member of her  MV top 8 also fared well in other competitions: Patricia Fuenmayor won Reina Sudamericana 1997 (before it became (Reina Hispanoamericana) and Jairam Navas won Reinado Internacional del Café 1998.
Since then Veruska has made a name for herself as a model, host and a TV personality. She can still be seen active in Miss Venezuela activities several years after her reign. And she is still as gorgeous now as the day she won a decade ago.


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