For most beauty queens, especially those who represented their country at international level, life is full of glamor, pink champagne, and stretched limos.
However, for one ex-beauty queen, the former Miss Venezuela, life after stardom was anything but glamorous as she was forced — due to poverty — to live on the streets of Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, barely surviving on a meal a day.
At age 68 at the time of her death, Damarys Ruiz became a legend in her country in 1973 when she was 26 and entered the Miss Venezuela beauty contest.
Sadly, she died a lonely death, and her body was found in a park. She wasn’t even identified by her family.
Even though she enjoyed considerable fame for some time, Ruiz never became truly famous, and after she decided not to become a lawyer, she made a living by selling homemade crafts and junk jewellery in Caracas.
While she never had a formal boyfriend, Ruiz lived with her brother, who apparently was possessive over her and allowed her little freedom.
Back in 2005, Ruiz gave an interview to a local paper, talked about her brother.
“He used to starve me. He often threatened me and often hit me. I repeatedly called the police but they never did anything.”
When the abuse got too much, Ruiz fled the home where she lived with her brother and started living rough on the streets of Caracas.
A friend of Ruiz toward the end of her life talked about the former beauty queen.
“I saw her two or three times in the week and I talked to her for long hours. Her life ended up with great depression, without receiving support from her family or friends. She couldn’t see any way to escape the trap she was in. She was a beautiful woman inside and outside. My cute little old lady. This lady was wonderful, educated and a great conversationalist. She was a lawyer and studied several years in the university and had opinions about everything. I loved to listen to her and her stories, anecdotes, we talked about everything.”
[Image credit: flikr.com]