|Beauty pageant titleholder|
|Born||Olga Mercedes Álava Vargas
February 14, 1988
|Hometown||Guayaquil, Guayas, Ecuador|
|Height||175 cm (5 ft 9 in)|
|Measurements||Bust: 88 cm (34.6 in)
Waist: 60 cm (23.6 in)
Hips: 92 cm (36.2 in)
|Title(s)||Miss Earth Ecuador 2011
Miss Earth 2011
|Miss Ecuador 2011
Reina Hispanoamericana 2011
Miss Earth 2011
Olga Mercedes Álava Vargas (born February 14, 1988) is an Ecuadorian model, social, lifestyle entrepreneur, environmentalist and beauty queen. She became the first delegate from Ecuador to win the Miss Earth pageant.
Álava, born on February 14, 1988, in Guayaquil, Ecuador, is the daughter of Ramón Álava and Teresa Vargas. She has three brothers and is the oldest of four children. Her hobbies include photography and modeling. During her childhood years she frequently visited the province of Manabi and spent much of her time on its beaches.
She has a Bachelor's degree in International Business and graduated from the Universidad de Especialidades Espíritu Santo. She speaks Spanish, English, and Mandarin Chinese; and studied the French language at the Alliance Française. Her interest in cultural exchange has led her to live in other countries. She lived in China for one year, where she studied the Chinese language in Shanghai for seven months and helped her father in the import and quality control of their business. She also spent seven months in Colorado, United States where she had a public relations internship in a restaurant.
Álava's foray into beauty pageants is no accident. In October 2008, she competed and won in the Reina de Guayaquil pageant and performed various social works. She participated in Charity Catwalk along with other beauty queens that raised $4,000 for families with AIDS to benefit the Fundación Nuestra Belleza. In addition, modeling has also been part of her life since joining the Agencia Chantal Fontaine. She competed in Ecuador's Super Model of the World competition in 2006 and won second place.
Miss Ecuador 2011
In March 2011, she competed as the representative of Guayas in Miss Ecuador 2011, and became the eventual third runner up. As part of her duty, she worked with the Fundación Bellezas por la Vida (Foundation Beauties for Life), which assists mothers infected with HIV, and worked with projects for the community.
Miss Earth Ecuador 2011
Álava was chosen and crowned Miss Earth Ecuador 2011 on July 28, 2011 at the Unipark organized by José Hidalgo of Diosas Escuela de Mises, the franchise holder of Miss Earth Ecuador. She wore a crown created by Catalina Salcedo made in silver with rhinestones and has a flower design and pearl nacre valued at approximately $10,000. To dispel the rumors of disagreement of the other organization, Miss Ecuador Organization, for her participation in the Miss Earth 2011, Alava clarified that the directors of the contest and Gama TV, official channel of the national gala, support her representation in the Miss Earth 2011 pageant.
Reina Hispanoamericana 2011
As part of her preparation in the Miss Earth 2011 pageant, Álava travelled to Bolivia in October 2011 to represent Ecuador in the twenty-first edition of the Reina Hispanoamericana. She eventually placed fourth (second runner-up) at the conclusion of the Reina Hispanoamericana 2011 pageant.
Miss Earth 2011
She presented at the pageant an environmental project to protect mangroves in Ecuador and has also become a spokesperson for the protection of the natural reserve of Yasuní. During the gala, she told the jury that "education is the best solution for the environment because children are the ones that preserve the earth for future generations", in response to the final question. She will reign over the next twelve months, after winning the pageant that participated by 84 countries in which the delegates of Latin America accounted for three of the top four.
Álava's achievement was an improvement from Ecuador's placement in 2010 where Jennifer Pazmiño placed second in Miss Earth 2010 which was held in Vietnam. She becomes a spokesperson for the Miss Earth Foundation and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Media and environmental activism
After winning Miss Earth 2011 in the Philippines, Álava toured several Asian cities before arriving in Ecuador. She traveled to Beijing in the last week of December 2011 and met with the Ecuadorian ambassador in China, upon the embassy's invitation. She proceeded to Shanghai where she previously studied Mandarin for seven months in 2009 and worked for four months in 2010.
On December 28, 2011, Álava returned to Ecuador and was met at the airport by her relatives and friends, including Miss Earth Ecuador national director José Hidalgo. A press conference for her victory in Miss Earth was held at the City Hall of the Municipality of Guayaquil. She was honored by the mayor for her performance in the Miss Earth pageant and for highlighting the name of Guayaquil worldwide. After the tribute, she stopped the traffic along the Malecon Simon Bolivar then aboard a Chevrolet Impala sixties, she was paraded at the main downtown streets.
She signed an agreement to be the face and spokesperson for the campaign Manos Juntas por el Estero Salado (Hands Together for the Estero Salado) that aims to educate the public about the importance of reducing pollution in Guayaquil estuary. The project, undertaken by the Centro Internacional de Investigaciones del Fenómeno del Niño (International Research Center of El Niño) and the United States Agency for International Development is part of her environmental campaign as Miss Earth. She also joined the collection of funds for the Yasuní rainforest and wildlife  and launched a campaign for the preservation of the Galápagos Islands. In January 2012, Álava met with the Ministry of Environment in Ecuador and discussed issues related to environmental preservation. She then actively participated in the tree planting of 7,500 young Pijio trees in the coastal region of Ecuador that is in danger due to the forestal fires together with the Ecuadorian Army and Arnoldo Alencastro, the person who began the campaign to save the Pijio Tree.
Álava was a special guest in the Dulce Mar Fashion Show held at the C.C. City Mall in Guayaquil on February 2, 2012 which featured accessories, swimwear, and apparel from Aéropostale, Megamaxi, Traviesa, and Fuera de Serie. In the selection of the Queen of Santa Cruz Island in Galapagos, she served as a juror then traveled to Quito for a photo shoot.
She starred in the Cosas Magazine (Ecuador) in March 2012 in which she portrayed the concept, "Los 17 de las Artes" as a tribute to the arts inspired by the relationship between the number 17 specifically the 17 plays of William Shakespeare written in the 17th century, the 17 Beethoven Quartets, and the 17 types of tiles that cover the Alhambra palace. She donned the collections of fashion designer Adolfo Domínguez. She was a special guest in the Miss Ecuador 2012 pageant held at Puerto Lucía Yacht Club, La Libertad, Santa Elena, Ecuador on March 16, 2012.
From March 17–22, 2012, Álava traveled to the United States as special guest for the office of the Consulate of Ecuador. She then sashayed on the runway in the Miami International Fashion Week on March 21, 2012 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. She wore a swimwear designed by Carmen Larrea for the well-known Ecuadorian brand, Pais del Sol. She opened the swimwear parade with the collection of Ecuadorian brand "Country of the Sun", which is called "Sacred Ground Yasuní" and whose proceeds went to benefit the Yasuní-ITT Initiative. She also attended a press conference with Ivonne Baki, a candidate for Director General of UNESCO. She then returned to Ecuador on March 23, 2012 to participate in a fundraising event for the victims of flood. She traveled from March 26 to April 3, 2012 to Réunion Island in Africa and attended different environmental activities and as head of the panel of judges in the Miss Earth Réunion Island pageant, which won by Aisha Valy.
She had a special appearance in musical charity concert called, Voces Solidarias (Voices of Solidarity) on April 13, 2012 held in the city of Guayaquil that was organized by the People's Volunteer Network of Teachers to raise funds for the people affected by the flood in different areas of Ecuador. During the 2012 Earth Day celebration, Álava shared ecotips on how to recycle used paper sheets, use of energy-saving bulbs, natural light, and rechargeable batteries. She then graced the event "Jornada Ecológica por Nuestra Tierra" to commemorate Earth Day in Ecuador on April 22, 2012 which also attended by Ecuador's Environment Minister, Marcela Aguinaga. She also participated in the Minga of Solid Waste Collection on the banks of the Estero Salado.
Álava walked the ramp on May 11 as guest of honor at the Lisa Quirola Fashion Show then paid a social visit to celebrate Mother´s Day at a local hospital in Ecuador. She traveled on May 16, 2012 to New York City as special guest for the cultural festival, Ecuafest.
At a local school in the Ecuador, she visited and shared environmental tips to children as part of her "I Love My Planet School Tour" on June 1, 2012.
From June to July 2012, Álava had a tour with the Miss Earth Foundation. She visited Taiwan where she received homage, attended the opening of an electric car assembly plant, and joined the International Committee of the Red Cross in its social action campaigns and various projects in Taiwan. She proceeded to Guam to grace the Miss Earth Guam pageant which was held on June 18, 2012 at the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort in Tamuning. She crowned not one, but two winners: Miss Earth Guam 2012 and Miss Earth Guam 2013 so the latter would have more time to train for the international Miss Earth pageant. She then went to Puerto Princesa, Philippines to visit the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, where she participated in several activities in favor of the ecosystem. She then graced the Cagueban Festival on June 30, 2012 which was reminiscent of the Earth Hour and led the tree planting event at the Irawan's mountains and watershed that participated by about 60,000 people from Puerto Princesa and nearby municipalities where more than 100,000 tree saplings were added to the more 2 million mature and fast-growing trees that have been planted since the festival began in 1991. Aside from the tree-planting activities, there were also visits to eco-camping sites, games and contests, and performances by environmental artists. She also visited Qatar and Thailand, where she held a variety of social and environmental issues as part of the Miss Earth Foundation. She also traveled to New York, Miami, and Paris, cities that has led and promoted environmental campaigns and charities. She returned to Ecuador on July 20, 2012.
In addition to numerous trips around Ecuador, so far during her reign, Álava had traveled to the Philippines, China, France, United States, Taiwan, Guam, Qatar, Thailand, Réunion Island in Africa, India and Sri Lanka.
After Miss Earth Reign
Miss Earth 2011 Olga Álava is chosen by one of Ecuador's major TV network, ECUAVISA, to be the new presenter on the showbiz segment "Gente". She will be replacing Maria Teresa Guerrero in the shows/
Miss Earth 2011 Olga Alava was in Bangalore, India 2nd week of March 2013 for a charity event for children and mothers with HIV. She also travel in Sri Lanka to spend a whole month for another charity event for people with cancer and she will be one of the judges of the Miss Earth Sri Lanka 2013 pageant.
She also became an Goodwill Ambassador for Red Ribbon Revolution. An Initiative to Eradicate Stigma &Discrimination among Children and Youth Living with HIV/AIDS through Sports as a medium of transformation
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|Awards and achievements|
|Miss Earth Ecuador
|Reina Hispanoamericana Ecuador