After a whirlwind week, Riza Santos was officially crowned Miss Universe Canada in Calgary on Sunday.
Santos was at the centre of an embarrassing turn of events at the Miss Universe Canada pageant last weekend, when Denise Garrido was crowned this year's winner, only to have that decision overturned less than 48 hours later and the title awarded to the Calgary beauty queen.
Pageant organizers Beauties of Canada announced later that a tabulation error had taken place during the pageant, leading the crown to be awarded in error to Ontario native Garrido.
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Santos is now the official pageant winner but never did get her moment of glory, as it was Garrido who was crowned before a nationally televised audience at the end of the pageant. That was something organizers hoped to make right Sunday night when the actress, good will ambassador, model and former soldier was presented with the crown at a ceremony at the Osteria de Medici restaurant in downtown Calgary.
The former Miss World Canada and Miss Earth Canada told The Calgary Sun she appreciated having the event take place in front of loved ones.
“It’s interesting the way everything transpired. I guess everything happens for a reason and to have the crowning here in Calgary in front of friends and family means just as much to me, it’s not necessarily bittersweet,” she told the Sun.
The days leading up to Sunday's pageantry were a whirlwind of press interviews and media attention for Santos, as she spoke with national and international agencies regarding the error.
Santos told People she was disappointed by the original results and that she had spent hours following the initial disappointment going over every aspect of the pageant in her mind to figure out what had gone wrong in her performance.
"I had already taken the time over the 48 hours to internalize what had happened and accept the fact that I hadn't won. I was actually okay with it at that point," she said.
"I'm not disappointed about it. I did miss the victory party. At the same time, people who were really close to me – they were the ones who reached out to me afterwards... I actually am content with everything that happens. My heart goes out to Denise."
Although Garrido originally won the pageant, after the results were retabulated, she officially finished fourth.
The latest error in the national pageant comes a year after a controversial decision was made (and then reversed) to eliminate transgender contestant Jenna Talackova from participating in the Miss Universe Canada contest.
As part of her Miss Universe Canada duties, Santos will begin preparation for the Miss Universe 2013 pageant in Toronto in December. She will also model at Philippines Fashion Week and will take part in the Miss Universe Canada Goodwill tour to Nicaragua to work with SOS Children's Villages and Operation Smile.