Miss TT Universe fends off racist remarks
By Leiselle Maraj Monday, September 23 2013
Catherine Miller has been crowned Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe 2013. The 21-year-old Westmoorings resident was among a group of 12 finalists vying for the crown at the Miss TT Universe grand final show held on Saturday night at One Woodbrook Place Plaza, Woodbrook. She will represent this country at the Miss Universe pageant to be held on November 9 in Moscow, Russia.
Unlike pageants in the past, the show took place on a runway constructed through the plaza, on which the contestants modelled pieces from Christian Boucaud, JMadison and other top local designers and boutiques. Bikini Cabana provided swimwear for that competitive segment while the finalists wore Claudia Pegus’ creations during the evening wear segment.
It was a difficult night for the judges, Question Mark Entertainment Chief Executive Officer Simon Baptiste, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s Public Engage-ment Adviser Lisa Ghany and marketing professional Jason Baptiste, who narrowed the field of 12 girls to the top three of Miller, Jessica Didier, who was the eventual first runner-up and Sarah Radday who placed third.
Miller seemed to have the majority of crowd support as cheers increased whenever she took to the stage. The top three were asked the same question, which was based on the racist uproar that took place last week when Miss New York, Nina Davuluri won the Miss USA Universe 2013 title. Finalists were asked what advice they would give Davuluri to deal with remarks made about her East Indian heritage considering they had the opportunity to represent such a cosmopolitan country as Trinidad and Tobago.
While Didier urged that Davuluri do her best, despite the negative comments and Radday said beauty was subjective and America should learn a lesson from Trinidad and Tobago on how to deal with multinational population, Miller used her personal experience in the lead up to the finals of this pageant as the basis of her answer. She said she, too, faced racist remarks while competing and Davuluri should take the negativity and use it to propel her forward. “What does not kill you makes you stronger,” she said, adding that Davuluri’s win shows the world is advancing since it highlights that a person of any race can represent a country like the US and that she herself would be proud to represent Trinidad and Tobago on a world stage.
The Alternative Quartet provided entertainment and 2012 Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe, Avionne Mark took her final walk while the judges’ scores were tallied,. Before handing over the crown, Mark thanked the country, family, friends and God for continued support during her reign.
She said she became more confident after her experience and her appetite for success is amplified. She advised her successor to be prepared for an adventure.