It's been 20 year since Dayanara Torres was crowned Miss Universe and her hometown in Puerto Rico invited her back to recognize the event that changed her life.
In company of those who helped her reach the Crown of Miss Universe in 1993, Dayanara was thrilled to received a homage on behave of Puerto Rico's House of Representatives to commemorate 20 years since the toalteña beauty became the third Puerto Rican to receive the most prestigious beauty award.
Torres was also visiting the island to promote her most recent film work "200 Cartas." (Watch the trailer here.) The movie is about a Nuyorican comic book artist who travels to Puerto Rico in search of the woman he fell in love with during a night on the town, but lost in the sweaty chaos of a nightclub brawl.
Angel "Gary" Rodriguez, representative of Toa Alta and Bayamon was the person who delivered Torres with this special recognition.
"Dayanara was not a just another queen, Dayanara inspired her people -- everyone in Toa Alta has a story to tell from that event," he said. "We celebrate a young woman who managed to unite an island and conquer the universe. Her story is a fairy tale that came to life, which put the name of Toa Alta and Puerto Rico in the highest places of the universe."
After being crowned Miss Universe 20 years ago, Torres pursued modeling, acting and writing.
"Twenty years -- I can't believe that so much time has passed. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have been Miss Universe," Torres said. "I am very proud and honored to have represented the beautiful people of my island, Puerto Rico. As a mother, I keep it a priority to share the rich and beautiful culture of Puerto Rico with my children so that they appreciate it as much as I do."
Torres was discovered when she was 17 years old by Victor Mercado and Javier Rios who immediately told her mother, Luz Delgado, they wanted to represent her in Miss Puerto Rico and the rest is history.
Through the years, Torres' passion for philanthropic work has been increasing and she has become more involved in these tasks, which are an important part of her career. For five years, Torres was an ambassador for March Of Dimes as well as for the Covenant House Foundation. She also collaborated with RMHC (Ronald McDonald House) and participated in the famous campaign Got Milk?
Angel 'Buzo' Rodriguez, former Mayor of Toa Alta also participated in the ceremony. He remembers when he and hundreds of volunteers organized the reception for Torres in Toa Alta after being crowned Miss Universe.
"The day of her homecoming, all of Puerto Rico and Toa Alta went to greet her," Rodriguez recalls. "When I walk around my town, I can still remember the path we travel through the parade. Dayanara was 'our Queen.' Today we honor Dayanara and all of those who helped her achieve this great challenge."
Torres resides in Los Angeles with her two children, Cristian and Ryan. She said she makes it a point to teach them the importance of their Latin roots and ensures they learn and practice Spanish. Currently, Torres is in the process of finalizing several acting proposals and is collaborating in the development of some projects aimed toward Hispanic mothers with the purpose of involving them more in the education of their children.
"All of Puerto Rico celebrated with Dayanara her crowing in 1993, an event which changed her life," Rodríguez Miranda, the legislator of Partido Nuevo Progresista said.
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