Estefanía Soto Torres

Estefanía Soto Torres elegantly showed off her gem-encrusted dress.

Happy and focused. This is how Estefanía Soto Torres, Miss Universe Puerto Rico (MUPR) 2020, said that she felt yesterday in her mission to achieve the sixth crown for the island in the international contest, which will take place on Sunday, at 8:00 p.m. from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

Soto Torres has everything ready for that great day, but before that, she will have two special galas: the traditional costume competition last night and the preliminary showdown today, Friday. Both yesterday's and today's events can be seen through the main website and Facebook pages of EL VOCERO, THE WEEKLY JOURNAL's sister publication.

Osmel Sousa, known as The Beauty Czar, overflowed with praise for the Puerto Rican ambassador, pointing out her as one of the two strongest queens to take the title. According to Sousa, Soto Torres' biggest competition is Argentina's Alina Luz Akselrad, although other Latinas are also steady contenders.

The national costume competition was held last night, in which Soto Torres wore a creation by designer Joshuan Aponte, also the maker of the fantasy dresses for Kiara Liz Ortega (MUPR 2018) and Madison Anderson Berríos (MUPR 2019).

This year's dress took four months to make. The atypical creation is an homage to the late Walter Mercado, an internationally renowned Puerto Rican astrologer and tv personality who was recently exalted in the "Mucho Mucho Amor" documentary released on Netflix in 2020. The dress features 86,400 stones and an eye-catching crown, the latter of which has a double meaning.

"It was designed and made with 78 separate pieces, so that each piece represents a municipality of the island. Within this, there are six waning moons included, which represent the search for the sixth universal crown," Aponte explained.

The dress includes three pieces: half-boots with an integrated heel, the violet zipper dress, which has an area where the “Walter effect” cape is tied. On the back of the cape, stands out the popular phrase of the astrologer, who died in 2019: "Mucho, Mucho Amor," along with his face and hands.

Estefanía Soto Torres

The dress is inspired by Walter Mercado's flamboyant personal style.

Soto Torres had to be very careful because the dress is heavy. She had been rehearsing meticulously to maintain her balance and poise.

Yesterday's gala marked the official start of Miss Universe. The 74 contestants excelled, but Soto Torres was one of the most applauded thanks to her elegance and bearing on stage.

Who will win last night's competition? The results will be revealed this Sunday.

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