Ivian Sarcos: Campeóna de Belleza

It sounds like something straight out of a fairytale: A young girl, orphaned at the age of 8 and raised by nuns, goes on to become Miss Venezuela and then Miss World. But that is the reality of what happened to Ivian Sarcos, Miss World 2011. One year, 5,000 Facebook fans, and 33,000 Twitter followers later, Sarcos continues her whirlwind life filled with photoshoots, trips around the world, and the obligatory appearance on “Don Francisco Presenta.”

Being the youngest of 13 siblings from Guanare City, Venezuela, Sarcos was probably used to having to compete for attention. Still, nothing could have prepared her for losing both of her parents. Such dramatic life changes took her down unexpected roads. “Unfortunately I lost both my parents at a very young age, which led me to study for five years in a nunnery. I spent my five years in there and my dream was to become a nun,” she says.

In what can only be described as a massive career pivot, the 22-year-old Sarcos now cavorts in satin and pearl-encrusted wedges, rubs elbows with the likes of Paulina Rubio and has the tweets and Twitpics to prove it.

Even though she has triumphed over tragedy and grief that demanded a maturity far beyond her years, Sarcos still has a youthful, playful side: Check out the poufy, frothy bubble-gum pink gown she wore when she got her Miss World crown. Described as “epic” by the tabloids in the U.K., where the Miss World pageant is held, the gown would have made any quinceañera proud. Epic, indeed.

Photo: Getty Images

by Belén Aranda-Alvarado