Miss Puerto Rico is the common name or sash used to identify a Puerto Rican representative in an international pageant. Currently, Miss Universe Puerto Rico, Miss Mundo de Puerto Rico and Miss Puerto Rico International are the official national preliminaries to the Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss International pageants. Each year both events are held to select representatives from the island to both contests.
In addition, Miss Puerto Rico International and the Miss Puerto Rico Scholarship Program select official representatives to the Miss International and Miss America pageants, respectively.
In its various forms, the "Miss Puerto Rico" beauty pageant has been almost held every year since the 1950s. The winner of the contest represents Puerto Rico at the Miss Universe pageant each year.
The selection of Miss Puerto Rico commences the year before the winner advances to participate in the Miss Universe pageant. Each Puerto Rican city may choose a representative who then enters the Miss Puerto Rico finals, traditionally held at a San Juan area hotel. The winner is crowned at the conclusion of the final competition.
There have been three changes in the organization that led to modifications in the pageant's name. "Miss Puerto Rico" was held from 1952 until 1998 under the direction of Anna Santisteban, in 1996 the pageant lost the franchise for Miss Universe. From 1996 to 1998 Telemundo organized the event, under the name "Miss Universe Puerto Rico". From 1999 to 2002 TeleOnce (now Univision Puerto Rico) obtained the franchise and renamed it "Miss Puerto Rico Universe". Magali Febles organized the pageant between 2003 and 2009 and the pageant title has remained the same. In 2009, Desireé Lowry and Luisito Vigoreaux obtained the Miss Universe franchise and renamed the pageant "Miss Universe Puerto Rico".
The Miss Puerto Rico beauty pageant has now turned to technology to reach more people through the use of podcasting. Starting with the 2006 pageant, Miss Puerto Rico Universe became the first pageant of the Miss Universe franchise to have a podcast. In this, Wilton Vargas, an international multi-media and technology personality, interviews all contestants with the goal of helping people get to know them better so that they can participate in the voting process using cell phones. This podcast is published as a section in technology news and information website Tecnetico.com and various podcast directories, including iTunes.
Delegates are allowed to compete more than once at the Miss Puerto Rico Universe pageant, the caveat being that they are not allowed to compete again after they have won. For example, Cynthia Olavarría placed first runner-up in 2003 and returned in 2005, winning the title and placing first runner-up at Miss Universe. A number of delegates and winners have competed in the "Miss Mundo de Puerto Rico" (Miss World Puerto Rico) pageant, a preliminary to the Miss World pageant. There are frequently crossovers between the two pageants: for example Joyce Giraud was crowned Miss Puerto Rico twice by Ana Rosa Brito, first in 1994 as Miss Mundo de Puerto Rico, then in 1998 as Miss Universe Puerto Rico.
Along with Miss Puerto Rico Universe, Miss Mundo de Puerto Rico is one of the most important national pageants in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico debuted in Miss World in 1959, then was absent from 1960 to 1969.
In 1970 a new organization took the responsibility of sending contestants until 1985 via castings. Puerto Rico did not compete in Miss World from 1986 to 1988. The Miss Puerto Rico organization, directed by Anna Santisteban, obtained the Miss World franchise in 1989 and sent the first runner-up of Miss Puerto Rico to Miss World until 1995.
In 1996, Delia Cruz, mother of Puerto Rico's only Miss WorldWilnelia Merced Cruz, obtained the franchise and began organizing the Miss Mundo de Puerto Rico pageant whose winner has been competing ever since in the international pageant. Puerto Rico has produced one winner (1975), two 2nd runners-up (2005, 2011) and ten semifinalists (1976, 1978, 1980, 1985, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010). In 2012, Miss Mundo de Puerto Rico is Janelee Chaparro, who was crowned by Amanda Vilanova.
The first Puerto Rican delegate in Miss International was Carmen Sara Látimer, sent in 1960. Since 1960, Puerto Rico has produced one winner (Laurie Tamara Simpson in 1987), one 3rd Runner-up and nine semifinalists. The Miss Puerto Rico pageant had the Miss International franchise from 1960 to 1997, after a two-year hiatus, a new pageant was created called Miss Puerto Rico Turismo that sent representatives until 2007 when a new organization acquired the franchise (Creative Options Inc. - Mr Fernando Oquendo Vega).
Puerto Rico sent its very first representative to Miss Earth in 2001 with Amaricelys Reyes Guzmán. A Puerto Rican delegate is yet to win the grand title but it has produced one finalist in Miss Earth 2005 edition and in 2010 the Mayaguezana Yeidy Enid Bosques Pérez won one of the elemental titles of Miss Earth, the Miss Earth Fire 2010. The Miss Puerto Rico Universe organization sent representatives to Miss Earth between 2002–2004.