Jubilation nearly turned to humiliation for the newest Miss Universe, Gabriela Isler of Venezuela, when she fumbled — but didn’t drop — her red and white bejeweled crown in front of an international TV audience of one billion. All the drama went down in exactly 10 seconds.
As the credits rolled during the exciting culmination of the annual pageant, last year's winner, Olivia Culpo of the U.S., placed the coveted crown on Isler's head. An instant later, an unidentified show official (wearing a black dress and Cleopatra necklace) tried to lower the Miss Universe sash over the 5’10” Isler’s head. But the sash got hung up on the crown, dislodging it and sending it cascading forward.
TV viewers around the world held their collective breath as the glittery crown seemed to be doomed. Reacting quickly, Isler and Culpo trapped the falling crown against Isler’s body before any damage was done. Culpo repositioned the crown on Isler's head and the new Miss Universe laughed off the moment as if nothing scary had just happened. Of course, she started her procession with her left hand secured tightly to the crown.
If the crown had met a more violent fate, there’s no telling how many of its 1,371 decorative stones would have scattered across the Moscow stage where the dramatic events took place on Saturday night.
In the Miss Universe pageant, winners get to keep their crowns, which are designed with 416 carats of diamond simulants and synthetic rubies set in 544 grams (about 1.2 pounds) of white gold and platinum. Diamond Nexus Labs has been crafting the crown since 2009.
The 25-year-old Isler is the third Venezuelan in the past six years to have won the Miss Universe pageant. This is an extraordinary accomplishment considering the elite competition. This year, Isler bested 86 contestants from all corners of the globe.