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UCF Alumna Crowned Miss Venezuela

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Photo: Courtesy of Jose Medina

UCF alumna Monica Spear, center, won the Miss Venezuela pageant on Sept. 23.

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Theater major Monica Spear crammed two years of courses at UCF into one so she could graduate in time to compete in the Miss Venezuela pageant last month.

Spear’s plans worked out even better than expected when she won the crown and a chance to compete for the Miss Universe title next spring in Thailand.

Spear, an aspiring actress who just turned 20, enrolled at UCF in fall 2003 after she received her associate’s degree from Seminole Community College. She sat in class almost constantly from to daily so she could graduate in the summer.

“In Venezuela, a girl who participates in a pageant usually ends up working somehow in the media, as an actress or as a hostess or singer,” Spear said during a brief visit to her Orlando home. “That was my main motivation to be there. This will open doors for me everywhere I go, even here in the United States

Spear, who grew up in Venezuela, won her crown Sept. 23, less than a week after UCF student Ericka Dunlap finished her reign as Miss America. Dunlap plans to return to UCF in the spring to complete her studies in advertising and public relations.

Spear had never competed in a beauty pageant until she won the Miss Venezuela title but has wanted to be part of that pageant since she was a child. She moved to the United States four years ago with her father, Rafael, a project engineer at Siemens Westinghouse, and her mother, who retired three years ago after a long career with an oil company.

Spear will spend much of the next several months visiting schools, hospitals and other places in Venezuela, hoping to bring smiles to poor and sick residents. She will compete in the Miss Universe pageant June 5 in Thailand.

“I’m going to do my best,” she said. “If I don’t win, then it wasn’t meant for me. I have a lot of faith, though, and I’m going to work hard.”

After the Miss Universe pageant, Spear hopes to work as an actress in Venezuela. She said she eventually wants to return to the United States and work as an actress here.

Twenty-eight women competed in the Miss Venezuela pageant, which was held in Caracas. Spear said the contestants took classes in speech, dance and other topics for three months before the competition.

Spear’s parents and three of her four siblings attended the pageant. One of her sisters, Carolina, is a UCF graduate.

“We were confident that she had everything it takes to win,” Rafael Spear said.

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