On Saturday night, Denise Garrido had the crown, the sash and all the glory that comes with being crowned 2013 Miss Universe Canada.
Twenty-four hours later, Garrido’s crown was gone and placed on the head of another Canadian woman after the revelation that a pageant employee’s typo had crowned the wrong woman.
“I was shocked and disappointed and kind of embarrassed because of all of the celebrations and congratulatory messages I’d received,” Garrido told ABCNews.com of the moment Sunday when she was shown the correct scores by Miss Universe Canada national director Denis Davila .
“I knew it wasn’t my fault,” she said. “I have no bitterness or anger or resentment towards the organization at all. They’ve been very transparent.”
The newly crowned Miss Universe Canada is Riza Santos, a 26-year-old engineering student from Calgary, who found out she was the real winner Monday while unwinding from the pageant stress poolside in Las Vegas.
“I was sitting by the pool at my hotel,” Santos, who could not be reached today, told her local newspaper, the Calgary Herald. “I had to go to a washroom so I could hear [Davila], the music was so loud by the pool. He asked, ‘Are you sitting down?’ So I sat on the sink.”
“I was in a complete state of shock,” she said.
Santos was originally named first runner-up in the pageant, the winner of which goes on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant. On Sunday, the pageant completed a third-party audit comparing the judges’ handwritten scores with the inputted computer scores, the same process the pageant follows every year. It was during the audit that the human error was discovered, moving Garrido down from pageant queen to third runner-up.
“A typo was discovered in the top 5 entries, which significantly impacted the final results of the competition,” Davila said in a statement. “This is the first instance of this type of error in the 11 years that Beauties of Canada (BOC) has produced the Miss Universe Canada pageant.”
Pageant officials decided it was best to quickly admit their mistake and honor the judges’ decision, according to a spokesman. Pageant director Davila personally sat down with Garrido on Sunday and showed her the judges’ handwritten scores and where the error occurred.
“I’m still considering myself an extremely lucky individual who got to experience being crowned Miss Universe Canada,” Garrido said. “I got to fulfill that dream. Sure it was only 24 hours, but I got to fulfill that dream.”
Garrido, 26, cannot compete in the pageant again due to age-eligibility requirements. She accepted the pageant’s offer to be a judge at next year’s competition and will be included in Miss Universe Canada Organization activities throughout the year, according to pageant officials.
Santos, meanwhile, will spend the year preparing to represent Canada in the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, the date and location of which have not yet been announced. Garrido spoke to Santos for the first time since the pageant today and said there is no ill will between the two.
“I got to be crowned and she now gets to live the year as Miss Universe Canada,” she said. “I think this has been a bonding experience for the two of us.”
The controversy at this year’s Miss Universe Canada pageant is the second year in a row the pageant has found itself in an unwanted spotlight. Last year the pageant was rocked by public outcry and threats of a lawsuit after Jenna Talackova, a transgender Canadian beauty queen, was disqualified from the competition.
The Trump Organization, which owns the contest, eventually allowed Talackova to compete. She placed in the top 12 and was one of four women voted “Miss Congeniality.”