Miss Universe: 'I Eat Six Times a Day'

Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza says it wasn't lack of food that made her pass out

Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza, who last weekend fainted 40 minutes after being crowned Miss Universe, is healthy and ready to begin her reign, she says.

“What happened was that it was hard to breathe and the dress was very tight and weighed a lot,” Rivera, 18, from Puerto Rico, tells the Associated Press.

Rivera passed out after posing for pictures and answering questions at a news conference after Sunday night’s pageant. She quickly recovered after being given liquids.

Despite speculation, a lack of food did not cause the fainting spell. “I eat very well,” she tells the AP. “My nutritionist ordered me to eat six times a day.”

Rivera, the fifth Miss Puerto Rico to win the pageant, is a communications student and aspiring actress who has been studying English for seven months.

Rivera’s first official planned stop as Miss Universe is Japan. Then it’s off to Indonesia and South Africa, visits that should be confirmed before September, according to a pageant rep.

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