Dayanara Torres was born in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico on October 28th, 1974 into a poor, very loving and close-knit family. At the age of 17, during her senior year in high school, while walking through a park she was approached by strangers to take part in the Miss Puerto Rico pageant as a representative of her town.
Dayanara was incredibly surprised as she never saw herself as a beauty queen . . . It was all too wonderful to dare dream it would come true. Yet it did come true, and in Mexico City on May 21st, 1993, Dayanara became the youngest woman ever to be chosen to be Miss Universe. On the island of Puerto Rico, she became a national treasure, and a parade was held in her honor.
Once her year as Miss Universe was completed, Dayanara traveled to Manila to pass on the crown to the next pageant queen. She even sang a duet during the pageant with Peabo Bryson, called "A Whole New World". Little did she know that night that her own life would, once again, take an exciting turn and that she would be living in a whole new world herself.
During her visit to the Philippines, Dayanara became so well-loved that she was offered the opportunity to host two television shows and star in movies. She made the decision to stay, and her short stay was extended to 4 years. In those four years she became a major movie star and the "It" girl in the country.
She has since starred in 14 movies in the Philippines and Puerto Rico, among them: "Linda Sara" (1994) co-starring with singer/actor Chayanne and directed by Oscar nominee Jacobo Morales; Basta't Kasama Kita/As Long As We're Together (1995); Hataw Na/Dance Now (1996); Type Kita Walang Kokontra/You Belong To Me (1998); and 200 Cartas (2013). In the United States she starred in the TV Prime Time drama “Watch Over Me” in 2009. She was also the host of the highly-rated live variety show "ASAP" which is broadcast throughout all of Asia. And, as host of another show, "Eazy Dancing", became known as "The Dancing Queen of the Philippines”.
Her humanitarian work during her reign focused on disadvantaged and poverty-stricken children throughout the world. She became an international ambassador for UNICEF, traveling throughout Latin America and Asia in support of the organization's projects, during and after her reign. She has served on the boards of, and made contributions to, the Children's Hope Foundation, Fundación Sonrisa, the March of Dimes, the Asthma & Allergy Foundation and the Arthritis Foundation, among others.
Dayanara has graced the covers of myriads of international magazines (Cosmopolitan, People en Español, Vanidades, Caras, Imagen, Asian Bride, and Marie Claire, among many others) and has endorsed many products taking part in TV and print campaigns (Diet Coke, Pantene, Vidal Sassoon, Hydrience, Crest, RayBan, Banco Popular, Advil, her own doll and line of shoes, among others).
She is also the author of “Married To Me" (Penguin Publishing), a guide to gracefully overcoming divorce.
Dayanara has two sons she has raised on her own: Cristian Anthony (15) and Ryan Anthony (13). Her role as their mother has been her #1 priority for the last 15+ years.