It's the contest where beautiful women from all over the globe don figure-hugging evening gowns and itsy-bitsy bikinis as they fight for the crown of Miss Universe.

But one contestant has been reprimanded for leaving too little to the imagination before the pageant has even begun.

The 22-year-old Miss Colombia, Catalina Robayo, had to be warned about her attire after being photographed without underwear at official pre-show appearances.'Colombia had to be spoken to and told she needed to wear underpants as what she was doing was totally inappropriate,' a source told Fox News.

Catalina Robayo, the Colombian representative in Miss Universe, has sparked a controversy by going commando in one of the pageant events.

'People have been pretty upset by it; there have been photos and media appearances where she has completely had her crotch out.'

Along with the other Miss Universe hopefuls, Miss Robayo is in Sao Paolo, Brazil, for publicity events before the contest starts on Monday.She was photographed at one official appearance by a local newspaper doing her best Sharon Stone impression.

Miss Robayo was sitting down, wearing a short bright coral dress and failing to cross her legs.

The photograph, which allegedly shows her sans panties, was published on the front page of the local paper.Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, said she could not believe it when she heard the news from her team.

'There were several girls in short dresses which is was a little concerning, but when I saw the (commando) picture on the front page of one of the local papers and was very, very surprised,' Ms Shugart told Fox News.

Yayra - representing Ghana

'Our supervisors talked to all of the contestants about dressing appropriately, and one of our PR people spoke to her (Robayo) and apparently she said she was wearing underwear.

'But regardless, it created quite a stir here for a few days.'

Not everyone was quick to condemn. A Facebook fanpage entitled 'Catalina Robayo - Pantyless Miss Universe' has been set up. It has more than 50 'likes'

Miss Colombia's wardrobe malfunction is not the only bit of controversy to hit Miss Universe.

The pageant earlier returned bikini bottoms from sponsor Catalina Brasil Swimwear after they were ruled too skimpy for network television. Donald Trump's annual pageant competition has a record number of contestants this year.

There will be 89 beauties all wanting to call themselves Miss Universe.