On July 20, 1979 at the Perth Entertainment Centre in Perth, Australia 75 delegates from all over the world took the stage as they began their quest for the Miss Universe crown. Among them, was Miss Belize, 19 year-old Sarita Diana Acosta.
Amazingly, and against the odds, Belize was called as part of the Top 12 semifinalists. What was even more amazing was that Miss Bermuda was also called, and for the first time in history two black delegates made it to the semifinals. Miss Bermuda Gina Swainson actually finished as first runner-up to Venezuela’s Maritza Sayalero who captured the crown (Venezuela's first of many). Gina went on to compete at Miss World later that year in London and captured the Miss World crown for Bermuda.
Sarita, unfortunately, failed to advance to the Top 5. However, she only just missed out by an average of a mere 0.107 points. She was very close to making Top 5 and her performance was very strong, so much so that almost 35 years later we’re still so very proud of her. Please enjoy this video montage of Sarita during the Miss Universe 1979 pageant.