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feature ● miss universe exit interview The Pride of Every Nation As her reign as Miss Universe comes to an end, Venezuela’s Gabriela Isler reflects on the impact that she has had—and will continue to make—on the entire world W hen her name was called as Miss Universe once upon a chilly November evening in Moscow, Gabriela Isler confirmed what the rest of the world already knew—Venezuela is the capital of the pageantry world. Her crowning mo- ment marked the seventh time that a woman from the Land of Grace had earned the coveted title of Miss Uni- verse in the organization’s incredible history, and she is also the third in the last six years. But make no mistake about it, while she is incredibly proud of her country’s magnificent devotion to and love for pageants, Gabriela is far more concerned about what she can do to make a lasting impact on the rest of the world. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t miss her family and a good, home- cooked meal, however. As she pre- pares to crown a successor in Miami come January, Gabriela is taking things one day at a time. But even when that glorious crown is passed to the next incredible young woman— possibly the woman that she already crowned as her successor in Venezuela—Gabriela won’t be giving 102 PAGEANTRY up the power and responsibility that came with it in the first place. Pageantry magazine: November 8th, 2013, you’re crowned Miss Universe. What memory is still the most vivid? Gabriela Isler: That is such a special moment in my life, and it is a little bittersweet. I was so scared but at the same time excited to see the audience, the Venezuelan flags and my family. I was so scared that I was unable to un- derstand what was going on in that moment. But I was holding hands with one of my best friends in the pageant, Miss Spain, who was also my roommate, so I can never forget that moment. All the people could enjoy my instantaneous reaction, and seeing the people jumping up and down, and imagining the people in my country and family laughing and crying, was very, very special for me. PM: Your travel schedule has been absolutely amazing, and we esti- mate that you’ve been to about 20 countries. Is there one particular country or culture that you will re- member forever? GI: Every single trip had something special to give me. I tried a lot of spe- cial food. I shared time with people in every country, and I took time to ex- perience and learn about the cultures. Every country made the experience very special for me. But the Philip- pines were a little more special, be- cause they are like the biggest pageant fans ever. PM: More than Venezuela? GI: I was struggling with that, be- cause my homecoming was very emo- tional and sincere. To have the chance to go back to my country, nine to ten months after my crowning, it’s very difficult to decide. Both countries love pageants, and both countries are very emotional. They show true love. It’s difficult to pick one. PM: As Miss Universe, you’ve had the opportunity to walk runways all around the world. Tell us about those experiences. GI: I’ve been able to walk runways and also be a part of judging pageants and being there for the coronation moments. I had the chance to do run- way work in Miami for Fashion