Miss Universe Malta crowned its new winner on Friday night, but Miss Sliema’s journey to the crown was somewhat longer than you might think: all the way, in fact, from Venezuela.
23-year old Teresa Ruglio, who will now represent Malta in an international award show in December, moved to the island three years ago as the political and economic situation in her native Venezuela worsened, and began learning English from scratch on her arrival.
She is the youngest of 11 siblings and dedicated her participation in Miss Universe Malta to her late brother, Bruno, who passed away last year. She has said her goal is to become a motivational speaker.
“I feel that when you believe in yourself when you just focus on yourself, you can achieve anything, and this crown is not only my crown,” Ms Ruglio said in her victory speech. “I’m wearing this crown for all my sisters. We had an amazing experience; thank you for the opportunity, grazzi ħafna!”
Francesca Mifsud, the 2018 winner, described Ms Ruglio as the “personification of perseverance”.
“She comes from a once proud and enriched country which has since plummeted into economic war and violence,” Ms Mifsud said.
“Throughout history we Maltese have always taken pride in welcoming those in need into our community and giving them the opportunity to build a new life and achieve their dreams.
“Teresa Ruglio’s work ethic, performance and success is the perfect embodiment of a land of equal opportunity Malta provides for anyone willing to work hard and persevere. This moment brings out the best of the Maltese identity built on love, solidarity and unity.”
The award show was held on Friday night and hosted by Ben Camille and Sarah Zerafa. Second place went to Miss Gżira, with Miss Naxxar rounding off the top three.