The disappointment of realising a dream, only to watch it snatched away within minutes, has irrevocably altered the life of the beauty queen at the centre of the recent Miss Universe controversy.
Ariadna Gutierrez, otherwise known as Miss Colombia, has spoken out for the first time since she watched, dumbfounded, as the Miss Universe crown was peeled from her head to be placed upon that of Miss Philippines, 26-year-old Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.
The incident occurred after a blunder by Miss Universe presenter Steve Harvey, who mistakenly announced Gutierrez as the victor, before realising the mistake.
It cost Gutierrez her life-long dream, she told a Colombian radio station on Wednesday.
“It was a very big injustice. It was humiliating for me and for all people in Latin America in the auditorium,” she told W Radio.
“It is been so hard for me. I had always dreamt about being Miss Universe. I dreamt to give that joy not only to my family but also to all Colombia, but I have to continue my life.”
But there was one direction her life would not take, she said, and that was a return to the pageant runway.
“I wouldn’t be interested in participating in any other contest or be part of any event of Miss Universe,” she said.
“I have already closed that episode of my life.”
But despite the “humiliating” setback, Gutierrez said she still feels like Colombia’s second consecutive winner.
“Everything comes back to the original owner. I would accept with honour. The crown was first mine I put it on first,” she said.
At least some good has come of it.
Gutierrez said she had received an “incalculable” number of job offers since the widely-publicised stuff-up.
Surely, it was a publicity stunt. Right?
Viewership was down on the 2015 Miss Universe pageant, and so was engagement.
Figures indicated a drop of about 18 per cent in the TV audience on 2014, while social media analysis showed a huge spike in engagement in the wake the awkward incorrect announcement.
So it was only natural to wonder about its legitimacy.
Gutierrez said she was in no doubt as to the authenticity of the mistake.
“I thought it was a joke when Steve Harvey said it was a mistake because he is a comedian in the USA, but when he actually said I was not Miss Universe everybody was in shock,” she said.
“Paulina Vega did not know what to do and she asked me, and I told her take me off the crown.
“She did it, she put the crown onto the new Miss Universe and she pulled me and said: ‘Let’s go now’.”
Many speculated it was a stunt, but Harvey described it as an “honest mistake”.
Miss Canada stripped of crown
It was not the first time the wrong winner was crowned in the Miss Universe pageant.
At the 2013 Miss Universe Canada event, a miscalculation by an “inexperienced pageant employee” saw the third runner-up named as the winner.
The typo was realised 24 hours later when an independent body checked the numbers.
The original winner, Denise Garrido, was gracious in defeat and said: “Sure it was only 24 hours, but I got to fulfill that dream”.