Gladys Zender

Gladys Zender

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Gladys Zender

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Gladys Rosa Zender de Meier (née Zender Urbina; born October 19, 1939) is a beauty queen from Peru who became the first Latin American woman to win the Miss Universe title.

Miss Universe

Born to a Swiss father and a Peruvian mother, she obtained the title of Miss Universe 1957 in Long Beach, California, United States.

After being crowned, it was revealed that she was only 17 years old, a few months under the contest's minimum age requirement. Pageant officials decided that she could keep the crown after they were told she was considered to be 18 in Peru. That same year, Miss USA Mary Leona Gage was stripped of her title and disqualified from the semifinals of the Miss Universe pageant after it was revealed she was a married mother of two children. Miss Argentina, Mónica Lamas, replaced her as one of the 15 semifinalists.

Return to Peru

Zender became an instant celebrity.


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