Today I was doing my online research to gather all of the Miss World representatives from the Caribbean and was crestfallen that I, Jay Blessed, totally missed the 2012 Miss T&T World winner!
Then the horror ensued!
Athaliah Samuel was selected in June as Miss Trinidad & Tobago and will emblematize our nation at the Miss World 2012 pageant in Ordos, China, in August.
The 5’10″ high, 24 year old communications major, will soon fly to Ordos, China to compete in the world’s longest running major international pageant but this short journey, thus far, has definitely not been easy.
As a gossip columnist, we can be judgmental (though I try to be very fair) but during my research I saw the most nasty, hurtful, debasing, disgraceful and demoralizing words written about this young lady, that I was not only left aghast but deeply offended for her.
Here we have a beautifully intelligent young lady, with a body to die for, pursuing higher education and cloaked in the darkest chocolate skin set to represent the country on a global scale, who now has to filter through the umbrageous malevolence of her countrymen, to now make them proud.
Is the fact that Athaliah is from John John, Laventille or should I say, Northern P.O.S., that turns people off? Is it because she is a darker shade of black? Is it because she is Afro-Trinidadian? Is the gap in her teeth too wide? Is it her totally unconventional, untraditional look that prevents her from a beauty queen? Is it all the above and more?
The lady is far from grotesque! In fact, I might need to show you pictures of some of the world’s top international supermodels like Alex Wek (her skin), Lara Stone (her tooth gap), Jaunelle McKenzie (her face) or Tyra Banks (her forehead), just to remind you what beauty is!
Did this young lady not stand before others and emerged the victor at a competition?
I have not met this young lady, I do not know her from Adam, but the ugly heads of racism and elitism are rearing and have started their own campaign to oust the beauty queen because she is not the lightest shade of yellow, with hair that is mixed with spanish or indian, that attended a convent school!
Have you not seen the space in Rachel Price’s mouth? Such a a distinct sign of beauty. Do you not remember Wendy Fitzwilliam’s richly dark skin? How many people actually even supported Wendy before her arrival at the Miss Universe competition?
Before allyuh rally around the young lady with allyuh expertise and turn the “ugly duckling” into the beautiful swan, you’ve attempted to ostracize her, publicly abase her and send her negative energy wishing that she fails. If she fails…we fail.
In a recent Newsday article Samuels and her supporters spoke of their confidence, amidst the skepticism:
“We are very proud of Athaliah; she is an excellent choice. We had limited time to properly select someone because the pageant was moved up. National directors throughout the world were given an opportunity to either have a screening if they could or select someone to represent; but based on the time frame a lot of countries went the route of skipping national screenings and selecting someone,” said Miss World National Coordinator, Daniel Seebaran.
He said his team wanted a representative who was fully prepared. According to Seebran, Samuel was selected after reviewing past applicants from pervious screenings. “After going through applicants from past years we realised that some of them would need a lot of time. We realised that Athaliah has a lot of experience. We interviewed her to make sure she was physically and mentally ready and Miss World accepted her,” he said.
Samuel is busy with final preparations for the international pageant however, she still needs $75,000 to further prepare for her quest to bring the Miss World title home. Seebaran said although there has been a steady outpouring of generosity from some sectors, more needs to be done. He said with little time remaining he is hoping that all sectors of society will step forward to assist.
Hmmm….I wonder if certain sectors are choosing not to “step forward to assist” because they do not agree with her as a choice?
In the same Newsday interview, Samuel said she “hopes TT will open their mind and their heart and accept her as their representative.”
“It feels good to know that I have the responsibility to represent my country and I am confident about my capabilities but at the same there are those who are not willing to give me an opportunity to prove myself,” Samuel said.
“I am prepared to give it my all. Words can’t explain it but it’s a bittersweet feeling because people are judging me by where I live and they are making negative comments. Laventille is part of TT too. Miss World or Miss Universe doesn’t only come from West Moorings or only parts of the country that are considered ‘better;’ no matter where a representative comes from people must have an open mind,” Samuel said.
“I want people to know that I can do it too. I want them to give themselves a chance to know me and see what I can offer. I deserve as much as a chance as everybody else,” Samuel said. I want to be able to do as much as anybody else; the main aim is to go and get the crown and to represent TT to the fullest,” she added.
Her goal is to establish an academy of dance and a modelling school in the John John, Laventille and Morvant communities to give youths in those areas an opportunity to express themselves and to develop discipline..
“I am living my dream; all the things I dreamed of as a young girl I am living it. I am getting to wear the gowns and work with local designers like Lester Jennings. I dance and after years of watching Miss World and Miss Universe and admiring others who have represented TT. I am getting an opportunity to finally represent my country. My faith is strong. I am very religious which in these times seems to be an unpopular position to take – but I trust that God will open a door or a window somewhere for me. I only want to represent my country and to make my people proud.”
Personally, as a proud young woman that emerged from the streets of Laventille Road, San Juan and Caimite Street in Morvant, I am living proof that the most talented and beautiful people (inside -out) come from de ghetto! (Self praise much…yes!)
Miss Samuels is cut from the best cloth. The one that shows its strength, value and worth after being dragged through the streets with not a tear – not a rip!
So while the bandwagonist wait until you’ve reach somewhere and won something before they can support you Athalia, I am here to let you know that you have our support at JayBlessed.com.
Go get that Miss World crown hun…..and leave the blue eye contacts alone.;)
Samuel is expected to leave for China on July 17th.
The 2012 Miss World Pageant grand finale will take place on August 18 at the Ordos Stadium Arena, China.