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Denise Marie Quiñones August (born September 9, 1980 in Ponce, Puerto Rico) is a Puerto Rican actress and beauty pageant titleholder who was the fourth woman from her country to win the Miss Universe contest. Prior to winning the Miss Universe pageant, she represented her hometown of Lares in the Miss Puerto Rico Universe 2001 pageant.
Quiñones,won the Miss Universe 2001 pageant in Bayamon, Puerto Rico in 2001. She was crowned by Lara Dutta, Miss Universe 2000 of India. Her win, over Greek contestant Evelina Papantoniou, came on the Miss Universe pageant’s 50th anniversary. As Miss Universe, Quiñones resided in New York City for a year, enjoying the benefits that all winners of the pageant receive, including complimentary make-up and haircare, a car, complete wardrobe, professional representation by the Miss Universe Organization, a $60,000 scholarship to a New York City film school, and traveling opportunities. On the night of the Miss Universe 2002 contest, she passed on her crown, once again in Puerto Rico (this time the event was held in the city of San Juan), to Oxana Fedorova of Russia.
Since relinquishing the title, Quiñones attended the School for Film and Television’s two-year conservatory acting program. Presently an actress, Quiñones has starred in the Spanish version of Nilo Cruz’s play Ana en el trópico (Anna in the Tropics) and continues to hone her talent in the United States. For her role in Anna in the Tropics, she was nominated and awarded an HOLA Award (from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors) and an ACE Award. In October 2005, she was selected for the role of Doña Rosita, in a production of Federico Garcia Lorca’s play Doña Rosita la soltera.
Quiñones guest-starred in a season 5 episode of the WB Network television series Smallville. She played Andrea, a masked avenger who fought crime in Metropolis and invited Clark Kent (Tom Welling) to join her in her adventures. On the heels of her Smallville role, she was also cast in the role of “Rachel”, a young fighter pilot in the pilot for the TV series Aquaman, which was in development for the CW Television Network. The pilot did not make the fall 2006 lineup. In November 2006, Quiñones led the off-Broadway cast of Zanahorias (or Carrots in English), a Spanish comedy by Spanish playwright Antonio Zancada. For her role in Zanahorias, she won an ACE Award in 2007. In July 2008, it was announced that Quiñones would play the part of Lara in the upcoming film I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, based on the book of the same name. On July 24, 2008, producer Tucker Max announced on the film’s official production blog that Quiñones had dropped out due to a scheduling conflict.