Born in Cayey, she was raised in Salinas with her parents Jerry Rivera and Carmen Mendoza, and two brothers, Jerry, Jr. and Jose Rivera Mendoza.Prior to winning the Miss Puerto Rico title she won the local pageant for her hometown of Salinas. She had also placed as the first runner-up in the Miss Teen Puerto Rico pageant. Only eighteen years of age when she was crowned Miss Universe, Rivera is one of the youngest women to win the title. She is also the first winner from Puerto Rico to have noticeable mixed heritage features, different from her four predecessors (Marisol Malaret, Deborah Carthy-Deu, Dayanara Torres, and Denise Quiñones) that have distinctly European features.
Miss Universe 2006
Zuleyka Rivera represented Puerto Rico in the Miss Universe 2006 pageant which was televised live internationally from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California on 23 July 2006. After competing in swimsuit, evening gown and interview, she was crowned Miss Universe by outgoing titleholder Natalie Glebova of Canada.
Later that evening, Rivera fainted briefly during a press appearance. The incident was reportedly attributed to heat exhaustion (from the stage lights) coupled... Read More