Madison Sara Anderson Berrios is the latest woman representing Puerto Rico in the Miss Universe pageant. The small island nation has actually had the third-most winners of Miss Universe with five title-holders, behind the United States with eight and Venezuela with six. Will Madison bring Puerto Rico into a second-place tie with Venezuela at this year’s pageant?
We’ll just have to tune in to the 2019 Miss Universe pageant Sunday (Dec. 8) at 7 p.m. ET/PT on FOX to find out. For now, here’s everything you need to know about Madison Anderson Berrios, Miss Puerto Rico.
1. Madison Grew Up in Orlando
Madison may be competing under the Puerto Rican flag, but she was born in Arizona to an American father, Adam Anderson, and a Puerto Rican mother, Belinda Berrios, and raised in Orlando, Fla. But she tells the Orlando Sentinel that she’s proud to represent all Puerto Ricans, whether they live on the island or not.
“I am representing the new generation of Puerto Ricans who do not need to live in Puerto Rico or speak Spanish. If you were born in the United States, you are not less Puerto Rican. These are feelings that you carry anywhere. That’s the new generation of Puerto Ricans,” says Anderson Berrios.
Prior to winning Miss Universe Puerto Rico, Madison competed in the 2019 Miss Florida USA pageant, finishing first runner-up behind Nicolette Jennings. Madison also competed in the 2014 Miss Florida Teen USA pageant, finishing fourth runner-up.
2. Her Win in Puerto Rico Was Controversial
Because of Madison’s Florida roots, her win in the Miss Universe Puerto Rico pageant was not without controversy. After she was crowned, the hashtag #NoMeRepresenta, which means “does not represent me,” quickly gained traction on Twitter, with users listing all the things that Madison doesn’t do or is not familiar with because she did not grow up in Puerto Rico.
Part of the controversy stemmed from the fact that Madison’s first language is English and is not fluent in Spanish. During the pageant, Madison had to ask a judge to repeat a question because she didn’t entirely understand it the first time. That response elicited boos from the crowd.
Afterward, Madison told the Orlando Sentinel that she didn’t feel uncomfortable competing against women who were born and raised on the island.
“I don’t feel different from the other candidates because I’m Puerto Rican too. I represent the women here, but also those who live abroad,” Madison said. “I always carry Puerto Rico in my heart, but being able to come back now, represent my island and tell my story, it’s very special for me.”
Madison also told Metro Puerto Rico that being Puerto Rican is something you carry in your blood.
“To be Puerto Rican, it is carried in the blood and in your heart. I am proud to be the voice of Puerto Ricans outside of Puerto Rico. I will play an excellent role for Puerto Rico in Miss Universe,” says Madison.
She was supported on Instagram by Denise Quinones, a former Miss Universe from Puerto Rico and current director of the Miss Universe Puerto Rico pageant, thanking Madison for reminding everyone that being Puerto Rican is “carried in the blood and the heart and there is no one … who can impose a degree on our Puerto Ricanness.”
3. Combating Domestic Violence is Her Chief Cause
According to her Miss Universe profile, Madison is an ambassador against Domestic Violence, founding Metamorphosis, a program in which she “helps recovered victims to become their better-self so they can achieve a most successful society reintegration.”
Metamorphosis also aims to help free women from the insecurities they carry as being victims of abuse, and help them “take flight to live without fears.”
She also spends time visiting cancer patients in Puerto Rico’s San Jorge Children’s and Women’s Hospital. She writes on Facebook, “Being able to give them a smile and feel their strength and courage for life is something that excites me. Thanks once again to all the hospital staff for allowing me to live this beautiful moment.”
4. Madison is Not Afraid to Be Political
This past summer, tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans took to the streets in a protest demanding the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rossello in the wake of corruption investigations as well as private chats that included misogynistic and homophobic comments, plus insensitive remarks about the deaths in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
At the time of the protests, Madison urged her fellow Puerto Ricans to “defend our rights with respect.”
“Remember that there is nothing impossible when there is courage, responsibility and respect and that the greatest victories are not made by force, but by good will. I see you at 5 pm today to protect in peace and unity,” she says in a Facebook video.
Other celebrities who joined in the protests included Ricky Martin, Benicio Del Toro, reggaeton stars Bad Bunny and Residente, and local celebrities Tommy Torres, Karla Monroig, and PJ Sin Suela.
Gov. Rossello eventually resigned.
5. Her Fans are Called Team Mariposa
Butterfly emojis and cartoons are all over Madison’s Instagram and official Facebook page because her fans are “Team Mariposa” — mariposa means butterfly in Spanish.
That’s also why Madison chose “Metamorphosis” as the name for her organization dedicated to helping women.
“Did you know that it was a woman who discovered the butterfly metamorphosis? The German naturalist and pioneer entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian, author of an illustrated book entitled The caterpillar, wonderful transformation and strange floral feeding (1679),” writes Madison on Facebook. “Women are so thoughtful, sensitive, and powerful that we have in our hands the ability to make impact and create change in the world. But we must start with us. Finding that inner strength and, second helping other women. Together we are more powerful.”
The 2019 Miss Universe pageant airs live Sunday (Dec. 8) at 7 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.