Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Stella Marquez: The First Miss International

María Stella Márquez Zawadazky a Colombian of Spanish and Polish parentage was born on May 4, 1939 in Cali, Colombia.

In 1959, at 20 years old, the 5'7" brown- haired and brown- eyed Psychology major represented the Nariño Department in the National Beauty Pageant and was awarded the coveted Miss Colombia title.
Senorita Stella Marquez 
As reigning Miss Colombia, she represented her country in the Miss Universe 1960 pageant held in Miami Beach, Florida.

She finished in sixth place among the 15 semifinalists thus missing a spot in the Final Five by the narrowest of margins.

Armed with valuable lessons learned from her Miss Universe experience, she competed again in another international beauty contest that same year. 

Miss International 1960, the first edition of International Beauty Congress Pageant was being held at Long Beach, California, USA with the pageant night scheduled on August 12, 1960.

The pageant was organized to replace the Miss Universe Pageant which had transferred to Miami, Florida.

She stood out from among 52 beauty delegates from around the world not only for her facial features, fascinating figure & flashing smile but also for her fluency in four languages, namely; English, Spanish, Italian & French
 1960 Miss International Top 15 that included Miss Philippines Edita Vital

 Pageant Emcee Byron Palmer crowns the first ever Miss International
 Stella's victory walk as the first Miss International
August 12, 1960, Long Beach, California, USA

 L-R: England 3rd RU, India 1st RU, Stella Marquez Winner, Iceland 2nd RU & U.S.A 4th RU
Result of Miss International 1960

Miss International 1960 Colombia - Stella Márquez Zawadski

1st RU  Miss India - Iona Pinto
2nd RU Miss Iceland - Sigridur Geirsdottir
3rd RU  Miss UK - Joyce Kay
4th RU  Miss USA - Charlene Lundberg

The rest of the semifinalists were Austria - Elizabeth Hodacs (Miss Universe 1960, 2nd Runner-up) Germany - Helga Kirsch, Israel - Lili Dajani, Italy - Maria Grazia Jacomelli, Japan - Michiko Takagi, Paraguay - Gretel Hedger Carvallo, Philippines - Edita Resurreccion Vital, Poland - Marzena Malinowska, Singapore - Christl D'Cruz and Venezuela - Gladys Ascanio  
 Meeting Colombian President Alberto Lleras Camargo

She became the very first Miss International in history and the first Latina to achieve the feat. It would take another 39 years before another Miss Colombia would win the crown. 

She is married to Jorge Araneta, a Filipino businessman. 

Please click the link for 

After their fairytale wedding in Cali, Colombia, the newlyweds settled in Manila, Philippines 

Stella Marquez Araneta maybe a Colombian by birth but she is definitely a Filipina by heart. 


Her greatest legacy is the discovery of lovely Filipinas who who put the Philippines in the world map of legendary beauties

In 1964, she organized the Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Incorporated (BPCI), a non-stock, non-profit organization and foundation, the organizer of the Binibining Pilipinas (or Miss Philippines), has established skills trainings and educational workshops for the indigents and philanthropic/humanitarian projects and activities that have benefitted many orphans and street children, poor families and other less fortunate members of the Philippine society.

1985 Bb Pilipinas Queens with Joyce Ann Burton (3rd from left) as Bb Pilipinas- Universe

Binibining Pilipinas (Miss Philippines), the organization that sponsors the annual beauty pageant held in the Philippines.

The country's longest running national beauty pageant that chooses the Philippines' representatives to the annual Miss Universe, Miss International & Miss Supranational pageants, among others has been the most prestigious beauty pageant in the Philippines.
Your Blogger with Bb World 2006 Anna Maris Igpit & Bb Universe 1985 Joyce Ann Burton
The country’s longest running beauty pageant that marked its 50th edition last year is the main source of the foundation's funds.
The First with the Latest Miss International Bea Santiago

The Philippines, through BPCI, has produced two Miss Universe winners (Gloria Diaz in 1969 and Maria Margarita Moran in 1973) and four Miss International winners (Aurora Pijuan in 1970, Melanie Marquez in 1979, Precious Lara Quigaman in 2005 and Bea Rose Santiago in 2013).
BINIBINI REUNION: Madame Stella  with 44 Binibinis during BPCI’s 50th Anniversary Reunion
Bahay na Puti (White House), Friday, March 15, 2013

NOTE: The first Miss International crown for the Philippines, won by Gemma Cruz in 1964, is a product of the Miss Philippines pageant, the predecessor of the Binibining Pilipinas pageant.
Madame Stella Marquez Araneta is currently Charge d' Affaires of the Honorary Consulate of Colombia to the Philippines in Manila.

To Madame Stella Marquez Araneta, Thank You for Being Instrumental in Giving Us Our Numerous International Pageant Titles!

YOU will forever reign in every Filipino's heart

Photo Credits:

Copyright infringement not intended
Thanks to William Prendiz Jurado

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