Forget the rigid formality of a press conference or the excitement of a surprise award acceptance speech. The runner-up for last year’s Miss Universe —who has held the title of Miss Spain twice, in 2008 and 2013—turned to Instagram last week to come out by way of a tender Instagram photo, the New York Daily News reports.
Patricia Yurena revealed her relationship through a photo of her gazing into the eyes of her girlfriend, Vanesa Cortes, a Spanish singer and DJ. The accompanying caption, “Romeo and Juliet,” might seem an ominous choice for a Shakespearean reference but appears to speak more to the devoted love between the two, not the ultimate demise.
Yurena received an outpouring of support on social media afterward, with comments such as “love is love,” “so cute,” and “#equality.” She added a second photo with Cortes to her account on Friday.
“I published the picture completely spontaneously and in an impulsive manner. Thank you for all your support,” Yurena later tweeted in gratitude. Spain is predominantly Catholic, although same-sex marriage was legalized there in 2005.
Yurena was a runner-up in 2013’s Miss Universe, held in Moscow. Russia decriminalized homosexual relationships in 1993, yet it is still the most hostile European country for LGBT citizens, according to The Council for Global Equality. The decision to hold the event in Russia sparked controversy, and Bravo producer Andy Cohen decided against hosting the pageant last year.
When asked about the location choice, Miss Universe co-owner Donald Trump claimed it was a difficult one, that his views on marriage are “evolving,” but he still supports marriage “between a man and a woman,” in an MSNBC interview last year.
Poor location choice aside, Miss Universe as a whole has taken steps to become more inclusive. While it continues to judge women from the ages of 18 and 27 in bikinis and only allows contestants who have never been married or birthed a child, Miss Universe opened up the competition to transgender women in 2012. An openly gay woman competed for the Miss California USA crown in 2012, although she did not win the title.
Yurena may be the first lesbian Miss Spain, but she may also be the country’s final national beauty queen, period. The company that puts on the pageant, Certamen Miss España SL, filed for bankruptcy last year.