Vanessa Mendoza

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Vanessa Mendoza
Born (1981-07-25) July 25, 1981 (age 35)
Occupation actress, model

Vanessa Alexandra Mendoza Bustos (born 1981), better known simply as Vanessa Mendoza, is a Colombian actress and fashion model who held the Miss Colombia title in 2001, being the first Afro-Colombian to win that contest.


Mendoza is a native of the Chocó Department, Colombia. She grew up in a small village named Ungia. Mendoza grew up in poverty, and she was one of a group of sixteen siblings. Her father died when she was still young, leaving her mother to care for her and her fifteen brothers and sisters. Despite the poor conditions in which her family lived, she showed early interest in becoming a model, and began pursuing that career.

Mendoza became Miss Chocó in 2001, a year in which Miss Colombia was facing a racial scandal. She became the first Black Miss Colombia, winning the title over first runner up, Consuelo Guzmán Parra. Despite suspicion that she had won the contest so that rumors about racism in it would be eradicated, Mendoza became popular among Colombians, who gave her the nickname "Black Barbie". Mendoza was the object of an official reception in Cartagena after her victory, where she declared that she was about representing her race and country. Mendoza replaced Andrea Noceti as Miss Colombia. Prior to winning Miss Colombia, Mendoza had become the only contestant of the pageant's 2001 version not to admit having a plastic surgery done for the contest. Mendoza participated in the Miss Universe 2002 pageant, winning the Best National Costume award.

On March 2, 2005, she and United States comedian Chris Tucker were the key speakers at a speech in Benedict College.

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Preceded by
Andrea Noceti
Miss Colombia
2001 - 2002
Succeeded by
Diana Lucia Mantilla