It is an oft-repeated answer, heard time and again at beauty pageants: “I want to be like Mother Teresa.” However, it is a refreshing change when one of these beautiful faces actually comes to town to do something like that.
Armed with a pretty face and a warm smile, Miss Universe 2006 Zuleyka Rivera is in the country to support IG International’s Aids Awareness Tour.
The invincible young: A student of journalism in her country Puerto Rico, the 19-year-old feels: “The young think they are invincible and that nothing can harm them. They don’t understand the consequences of their actions. Back home, it is the same thing — even there the young feel that nothing can happen to them.”
Zuleyka feels AIDS is associated with multiple partners “and drug abuse and anyone can get it. So we all should be open about getting ourselves tested and not be ashamed about it.”
Sights and sounds: Zuleyka’s first trip to India has been an overwhelming experience of smells, sights, sounds, clothes, gestures and food. She feels there is a lot in common between her country and India.
“I love the clothes and I’ve seen so many interesting local garments,” she says. And her favourite Indian delicacy is the sugar-dripping gulab jamun! But she is on the look out for the nonfattening variety.
The reigning Miss Universe will be part of fashion shows to be held in Mumbai and Goa later this week in support of the cause. She has visited red light districts and NGOs in five cities, spreading awareness about AIDS. And she makes a pretty picture too!
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