Venezuelian deaf beauty queen recieves thrid place

The 20-year-old Lidymar Jonaitis was crowned Miss Venezuela, but joining her on the winner's stage was a 19-year-old beauty queen who became the country's first deaf contestant honored with a crown in the pageant.

Vanesa Peretti, the first deaf and mute person to participate in Venezuela, won the third-place crown of Miss International on Thursday night and will represent her country in that pageant. She answered questions from the jury in sign language, while an interpreter spoke aloud her answers for the audience, AP reports.

Second place went to Claudia Suarez, who will represent Venezuela in the Miss World pageant.

The jury was made up of various Venezuelan and Colombian personalities, in addition to some plastic surgeons.

The annual Miss Venezuela pageant is the one of the country's most watched programs and a source of national pride.

Venezuela has won four Miss Universe, five Miss World and four Miss International crowns - in total, more than any other country. Miss Venezuela made the Miss Universe pageant's 10 finalists for an uninterrupted 20-year span until 2003.

The country's Miss Universe winners have included Irene Saez, who won in 1981 and later got into politics. She ran for president in 1998 and lost to Hugo Chavez.

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