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Miss TT boosted by support

By LEISELLE MARAJ Tuesday, September 24 2013

click on pic to zoom in
TRINI BEAUTY: Catherine Miller, our beautiful representative at the Miss Universe Pageant in Russia. Miller rose above racist comments to win the Miss...
TRINI BEAUTY: Catherine Miller, our beautiful representative at the Miss Universe Pageant in Russia. Miller rose above racist comments to win the Miss...

NEWLY crowned Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe Catherine Miller yesterday said she was filled with pride and gratitude over the outpouring of positive support she has received after the pageant which followed negative, racist comments online during the run-up to the competition.

Speaking with Newsday yesterday, the 21-year-old beauty discussed her response to the final question posed to the top three finalists at the finals of the Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe competition held on Saturday at One Woodbrook Place Plaza, Woodbrook.

The contestants were asked what advice they would give to the Miss USA pageant winner Nina Davuluri who had to deal with a racist backlash because of her East Indian heritage. Miller prefaced her response with a comment about experiencing similar criticism during the lead up to the final of the pageant.

She said persons posted racist comments under her individual and group pictures posted on the Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe Facebook page. Comments ranged from Miller not being representative enough of the Trinidadian woman, to the colour of her skin working to her advantage during the pageant, to critiques of her looks. One user, she said, even stated, “Beautiful but I don’t mean to sound racial or anything but I believe Caucasian Trinis are very Americanised hence not giving a true picture of what a Trinbagonian woman represents. Well hope she is different.” When asked to comment on this, Miller said, “I think it is fabulous that for every negative, there was double the positive comments. It is great in the sense that many people stood up for what they believe in and that is they do not see race as an issue. I am quite proud of those people who support me.” Despite the negativity, Miller also walked away with the prize for Fan Favourite on the night of the finals.

The Westmoorings resident, who loves music, painting, volunteer work, ocean activities and dance is not the first contestant to face racist comments. Last year’s representative, Avionne Mark also had to deal with an outpouring of negative and racial remarks after her win. So too did Miss World Trinidad and Tobago 2012, Athaliah Samuel when she was announced as the winner of the crown. Miller on the night said Davuluri, like herself, should use negativity to fuel her and encourage her to do better.

Miller said she was shocked when she was announced as the winner. “Throughout the pageant, I was up against some really strong competitors. Any of them deserved to win the crown. At the end when it was down to Jessice (Didier) and I, I would have been just as proud if she won so I was overwhelmed to hear my name being called,” she said.

Her family, she said, was overjoyed to hear that she won the pageant. “They were celebrating as if they had won. They think I would make a great representative for our country,” she said.

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