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Miss Universe Debacle: Why Runner-Up Miss Colombia Wins After All

Ariadna Gutierrez has emerged a graceful underdog with major marketplace value, expert tells TheWrap

Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutiérrez may have been victim of a blunder heard around the world on Sunday’s “Miss Universe” pageant, but she’s likely to emerge the real winner from the live television mess.

Gutierrez was erroneously named Miss Universe by host Steve Harvey on the Sunday telecast, but the grace with which she returned the crown, forgave the comedian and showed national pride has made her a media darling — and potentially aligned her with powerful business opportunities.

“In the face of global public humiliation, Miss Colombia provides the public with an opportunity for collective public redemption,” said TruthCo cultural analyst Rajiv Menon.

“In a media climate that often feels defined by negativity, and considering that the holiday season is prime for feel-good stories, the timing serves her well. We’ve been seeing an overwhelming amount of positivity surrounding Gutiérrez on social media, which strongly suggests that consumers are looking to celebrate the way she handled a really disappointing situation,” Menon said.

Brands looking to tap into that consumer sect are ones already profiting off of campaigns built around self-love and authenticity, he said.

“Gutiérrez has huge opportunities to mobilize positive messaging … Major global brands like Always and Dove have made these messages major pillars of their campaigns and Gutiérrez feels like a perfect match, in addition to generally capitalizing on all this public goodwill as an opportunity to build her own brand.”

The endorsement door swings both ways, however, as Gutiérrez has a $1 million offer on the the table from adult entertainment company Vivid to perform for them. At the moment, though, her brand is one of serious grace under fire.

“I was able to bring happiness to my country after becoming Miss Universe for only a couple of minutes… Today because of that COLOMBIA and the LATIN COMMUNITY are being talked about in every corner of the world,” Gutiérrez wrote on Instagram in response to the slip-up.

One powerful figure grateful for that sentiment was Sofia Vergara. The Colombian-born “Modern Family” actress and recent bride of Joe Manganiello uploaded a screenshot of Gutiérrez to her own Instagram account and declared the young lady was “a queen already.”

That support could easily carry over to meetings on Hollywood lots in the near future. Regardless of what she reaps from her graciousness, Gutiérrez has trimmed a year full of terror, election smearing and social media disdain with a silver lining.

“This past year has been defined by several high-profile cases of public shaming. From the Cecil the Lion incident to the Ashley Madison leak, we’ve seen numerous incidents of consumers turning to social media to carry out forms of mob justice. Ariadna Gutiérrez presents quite a different situation,” Menon said.

One that may give her steam to outlast this year’s real winner, Miss Philippines, and far beyond the pageant circle.