Kiara Ortega, 25, brought back Puerto Rico to the map in Miss Universe. She made it to the Top 5 in the 67th edition of the beauty pageant.
On December 17, 2018, Ortega was one of the 94 women who competed for the Miss Universe 2018 crown at the IMPACT Arena, Exhibition and Convention Center in Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok, Thailand. She made it to the Top 5 along with Miss Vietnam H’Hen Niê, Miss Philippines Catriona Gray, Miss South Africa Tamaryn Green and Miss Venezuela Sthefany Gutierrez.
In the Top 5 round, Ortega was asked why freedom of the press is important. It was mentioned in the question about the hundreds of journalists across the world jailed in 2018 for writing stories that were critical of their governments.
“The press is there to inform us,” Ortega answered. “Their job is to give us the news about what’s happening to the world right now. They should have total freedom to be able to report exactly what’s happening without forgetting that they have to have sympathy because there are a lot of people that are suffering from different problems in the world.”
Only the respective representatives of the Philippines, South Africa and Venezuela made it to the Top 3. In the end, Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa crowned Gray as her successor while Green and Gutierrez were first runner-up and second runner-up, respectively.
While Ortega did not advance to the final round, she did Puerto Rico a favor. Her country did not place in Miss Universe from 2014 to 2017.
Puerto Rico is still the country or territory with the third most Miss Universe crowns with five. Representing the Caribbean island, Marisol Malaret, Deborah Carthy-Deu, Dayanara Torres, Denise Quinones and Zuleyka Rivera who won the crown in 1970, 1985, 1993, 2001 and 2006, respectively.
With Gray’s recent win, the Philippines now has four Miss Universe crowns, making it the country with the fourth most crowns in the beauty pageant. The top countries are the United States and Venezuela with eight and seven crowns, respectively.
Ortega was born in Rincon, Puerto Rico on August 23, 1993. She currently works for Centro Inés, an organization that provides educational, recreational and support services for children and seniors.
Here is an interview with Ortega in Spanish: