Stefania Fernandez, Miss Universe 2009, has been awarded the International Labor Humanitarian Award by the Spanish magazine “Yo Dona,” at a gala held in Madrid.
The Venezuelan beauty queen is one of the public faces that has starred in the “Mordazas en Venezuela campaign,” launched by the photographer Daniel Bracci. In a striking image, she appears with her sought after crown, but with her face covered with blood, a rope around her neck and her hands tied together.
The photographic project denounces the lack of freedom and violence currently overtaking the country. So far, 110 personalities, including political prisoners, politicians, journalists, actors and athletes, have participated in the campaign. However, Fernandez’s great merit is that she agreed to join them just after two of her beauty queen sisters were murdered.
In February, Genesis Carmona, who held the title of Miss Tourism Carabobo 2013, died after she was shot in the head during a demonstration against the government of Nicolas Maduro in the city of Valencia. Carmonas death occurred more than a month after the actress and 2004 Miss Venezuela Monica Spear and her partner were also killed.
“The Venezuelan Misses are the ambassadors of our country”
Fernandez is the granddaughter of Galician, Russian and Polish grandparents who arrived in Venezuela fleeing the Spanish Civil War and a concentration camp during World War II. They instilled in Stefania a love of the country where they found refuge and a chance to rebuild their lives and form their families. She spent her childhood longing to share that passion for Venezuela with the rest of the world.
Her dreams came true when she was crowned Miss Venezuela 2008 and Miss Universe 2009. “The Misses are the ambassadors of our country, like our baseball players,” she said in an interview with Yo Dona.
However, she doesn’t want to publicly take any political stance. “Im not interested, because what we want is not the radicalism that continues dividing, but joining forces and fighting for the country we all dream of: a safe and prosperous Venezuela.”
In addition, Fernandez performs humanitarian work with Doctor Yaso, an organization affiliated with the NGO Aid for Aids. She often goes to pediatric cancer hospitals disguised as a clown to make children laugh. In addition, she continues her studies in Social Communication and her work as a model.
“The sense of danger never ends in Venezuela”
Despite the difficult situation the country is in, this beauty queen does not consider emigrating. She prefers to stay in Venezuela to denounce the conflict and contribute what she can to improve it.
But, how dangerous it is for a Miss to stay in the country?
“The sense of danger never ends, you live in constant anxiety, and this is not fair,” she regrets. “But, how could you cover the sun with one finger when day after day you go to the market and can’t get oil or toilet paper, you want to go out to dinner or to the movies and do not dare because your life is in danger? And even though it’s true that several Misses have died, anonymous citizens also die every day in the streets, due to a simple mobile phone. Watching this, it is impossible to remain silent.”
Courage and nobility in the words of this beautiful woman who makes one last wish: To be able to build my family here, so that that my children are born as Venezuelans and can live safe and proud of their country.
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