Meet the Girls of Miss World Trinidad and Tobago

Ten wonderful ladies of all different backgrounds, passions and fashions, one chance of a lifetime to represent T&T at the Miss World pageant in China in December. Let’s meet the group of women.

ALIYAH FRASER, 20, Miss Chaguanas

XX: Tell us about your background.
AF: I was brought up in an abusive home, which was, without a doubt, the best and worst thing to happen to me. But I’m blessed for these experiences, because it made me strong and resilient.

I attended Bishop Anstey High School for 5 years, which I personally think saved me, and I’m nothing but grateful for the amazing teachers and lifelong friends I made there. Being the eldest of four, I plan on using this opportunity to show my siblings that they can be anything and everything they put their mind to, regardless of our battered past.

XX: Why did you decide to run for Miss World T&T?
AF: I didn’t plan [to run] for Miss World, if I’m being honest. A very good friend- turned-pageant coach literally dragged me to the castings.

XX: What do you hope to achieve if you win the title of Miss World T&T?
AF: Winning Miss World Trinidad and Tobago would be the catalyst myself and our society needs to finally have open and honest conversations about mental health issues and domestic violence, both being my chosen advocacies.

XX: If you represent T&T in China, what do you hope to showcase about our country
AF: I’d want the world to see and experience our culture first and foremost. The land of doubles, soca, carnival and so many religious festivals – this needs to be seen on such a large platform. Trinidad and Tobago has many different cultures and ways of life, and I fully intend on bringing that to life.

 

BRITNEY SMITH, 25, Miss South Oropouche 

XX: Tell us about your background.
BS:
I’m 25 years old and a past student of both Holy Faith Convent in Penal and the University of the West Indies in St Augustine. Correspondingly, I’m a qualified Secondary School teacher (French and Spanish), a tutor, and I act as Treasurer of the South Oropouche Village Council. Moreover, I’m submerged in the reading of contemporary French Caribbean novels, or incessantly singing… much to the annoyance of my siblings.

XX: Why did you decide to run for Miss World T&T?
BS: The decision was anything but an overnight exhibition. Markedly a manifestation of a 25-year long journey. The embracing of this platform transcends my love for pageantry and extends to my passion for community service and thus, this title will amplify my altruistic nature.

XX: What do you hope to achieve if you win the title of Miss World T&T?
BS: Should I win the title of Miss World Trinidad and Tobago, my focal point would definitely be rural development and youth empowerment through education. Being a testament of an encompassing education, it is my duty to be of service and help bridge the gap and bring forth progressive change and a sustained standard of living.

XX: If you represent T&T in China, what do you hope to showcase about our country?BS: Trinidad and Tobago is but a minuscule part of the globe. In China, I would love the opportunity to not only highlight aspects of our culture that are exclusive to carnival; which has been our ID for so long, but also to highlight the creativity, skills and talents of our people and their contributions and significance to the world over the years. Trinbagonians have left an indelible impression on the World in music, sport, fashion, academia and commerce. Our impact is also evident by the way in which we live in unison and utilize our striking differences as a pivotal source of strength and our unassailable sense of patriotism. We are literally and figuratively Trini to D bone!

 

DENNISHA LEWIS, 24, Miss Point Fortin

XX: Tell us about your background.
DL: Well determined and with a drive for success, I have always believed in the philosophy; “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Having spent my entire childhood and some of my adolescent years in Grenada, it was there, after entering and winning a pageant at the secondary school I attended at the time, that I developed a love and passion for pageantry. After moving back to Trinidad, I followed in my father’s footsteps and learned the art of playing our national instrument, the steel pan. I have performed at numerous panorama competitions over the years with bands like Tornadoes Steel Orchestra, NGC La Brea Nightingales and Caribbean Airlines Ski e. I attended the Point Fortin East Secondary School where I excelled in my examinations, copping the prizes for most outstanding in CXC, CAPE units I and II and the principal’s prize for Most Outstanding in examinations. I plan to further my studies in accounting and one day open my very own accountancy firm.

XX: Why did you decide to run for Miss World T&T?
DL: Aside from the push in the right direction from my family and friends, I think being able to represent not just myself but my country on an international stage is a great privilege. I get to not only showcase to the world the warmth and beauty of my people but also the diverse culture of my multiethnic nation. Most importantly, I have the opportunity to share the splendour of our locally invented, national instrument, the steel pan.

Now, you don’t need a crown and a sash to be involved in your community but being a part of a pageant at this level would present so many opportunities to network with organizations that help spread awareness and impact the lives of so many people in so many ways.

XX: What do you hope to achieve if you win the title of Miss World T&T?
DL: I think it’s about time we brought home the Miss World title once more. And I say “we” because if I am crowned Miss World Trinidad and Tobago 2018, it is no longer about me as I am now representing a brand, that is, Trinidad and Tobago. Therefore, my number one goal would be to go out there, ‘slay the day’ and bring home the crown – all while being the best representation of Trinidad and Tobago that I can be!
If I do win the title of Miss World, I wish to use this platform to spread my knowledge of the sustainability of steel pan, not only locally, but also internationally – as it is one of the only instruments in the world that is created by using recycled material.
I want to make such an impact, that people ask each other “who is that young lady, and what country does she represent?” while I grace the stage. I want to go out on that stage in China, and remind the world that Trinidad and Tobago is still here, and is most definitely a force to be reckoned with!

XX: If you represent T&T in China, what do you hope to showcase about our country
DL: Versatility runs through the veins of each citizen of Trinidad and Tobago. We are a multifaceted, multitalented nation that offers indescribable experiences to the outside world. It would be an honour to showcase to the world how socially diverse we are. An ethnically diverse country, that not only acknowledges all races, but also one where citizens live harmoniously; as our anthem says, Trinidad and Tobago is a place where “every creed and race, finds an equal place.”

 

HALLE CRAWFORD, 19, Miss Maraval

XX: Tell us about your background.
HC: I live with my mother, father and brother. I graduated from St. Francois Girls College in 2015 and am currently employed in the banking sector. I love travelling and hope to travel to as many countries as possible. Mygreatest aspiration is to be an entrepreneur, providing employment for others and making positive contributions to my society.

XX: Why did you decide to run for Miss World T&T?
HC: From a very young age, I’d watch the Miss World and Miss Universe pageants with my family, debating who we loved the most and which girl we predicted would win. Years later, after beginning my modelling career doing various photoshoots and band launches, people would always ask me the same question: “why don’t you go up for Miss World or Miss Universe?”. After lots of thought, I gained the confidence and decided I’d love to represent my beautiful country. Win or lose, it’ll be a great experience and a once in a lifetime opportunity.

XX: What do you hope to achieve if you win the title of Miss World T&T?
HC: It’s sad to say, but in this world, you have to be someone well-known for your voice to be heard. I love children, and especially those who face many challenges and whom society neglects to provide the attention they need – those with hidden disabilities, are physically challenged or even abandoned. I am also passionate in supporting children and those who affected by the dreaded cancer. I would love to lend support to the children who are affected by this ailment so that throughout their journey, they may still be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

XX: Your father is Hasely Crawford. How has growing up somewhat in the spotlight prepared you for this? And how does your father feel about it?
HC: Hasely Crawford, T&T’s very first Olympian is my father. Growing up, my father was a hero to our country and a very special man, but he was also a great father. I was brought up in a humble home, and I thank both my mother and my father for molding me into the beautiful woman I am today. My dad has always been supportive in everything I decide to do. Becoming one of the top ten finalists [has made him] so happy, I can only imagine if I take home the crown [that] he’d be the happiest man in the world. I would love to make him proud.

 

JESSICA JAMES, 26, Miss McBean Couva

XX: Tell us about your background.
JJ: I was born and raised in McBean Village, Couva, attended Exchange RC Primary School and Carapichiama Junior and Senior Comprehensive. I later went on to Upper Level Education Institute.
I have been a national athlete in Track and Field since I was 15. Being the best athlete you can be, to me, was not only about your performance on the eld but also o the eld. I believed that the sport allowed me to be adventurous, versatile, disciplined and brave.
I studied Sociology and Physical Education at Iowa Community College and Abilene Christian University, where I decided to mesh both and become a health and wellness life coach, helping society with health and overall wellbeing. I’m also an aspiring motivational speaker and sports ambassador.

XX: Why did you decide to run for Miss World T&T?
JJ: Other than representing T&T in track and eld, pageantry has always been my passion. My coach Ian Goddard, who is no longer here with us, gave every one of his athletes nicknames, mine was “Miss Elegance”, and from there, it stayed with me throughout life.
Now that I’ve graduated and took a rest from track, I finally got the chance to attend the screening. I believe God’s timing was just perfect.

XX: What do you hope to achieve if you win the title of Miss World T&T?
JJ: Oficially moving [home] in 2017, my aspiration was to firstly give back. I wanted to visit the communities. I would love to educate them on how to get into college or attain scholarships, to get into clubs to improve on their talent, and all the programs offered to them to be great. Because for me, I know what it feels like to have limited dreams and aspirations with no sense of direction until my coach Ian Goddard found me. He spoke life into me and showed me how to become great, and all I had to do was listen and keep focused. What if a lot of people don’t get that opportunity? I believe that we have a lot of talented children in our country that just need the help and proper guidance.

XX: If you represent T&T in China, what do you hope to showcase about our country?
JJ: Diversity! I would hope by my participation that I would be given the opportunity to showcase T&T’s diversity in culture, food, reed and races; that make us the most unique nation in the world.

 

KIRSTY ROOPNARINE, 24, Miss San Fernando

XX: Tell us about your background.
KR: I’m an Attorney-at-Law who specializes in Criminal Defence. I graduated with my Bachelor’s of Law with Honours (L.L.B) (Hons.) from UWI in 2015, and received my Legal Education Certificate (L.E.C) from the Hugh Wooding Law School, St. Augustine in 2017. I was called to the bar in November of 2017 and have been in practice within most of the magistrate’s courts also some Supreme Courts. I have been a painter since primary school, a self-taught graphic designer, I am very much into literature and poetry and take interest in fitness, nutrition and travel. In my spare time, I go to the gym, I read books, I travel and I indulge in a more than fair share of blanket-covering and binge watching Netflix (I also take pride in my sense of humour).

XX: Why did you decide to run for Miss World T&T?
KR: As clichéd as this may be, I always wanted to run for Miss World Trinidad and Tobago someday but, I always lacked the courage to do it; all my life I have pushed myself to the most intense limits and have excelled in academics and in my work, however the mere thought of walking on a stage in 6 inch heels would give me an instant panic attack. My perspective changed after a while of keeping up with current issues within our world, our nation and our society as a whole. I realised that I felt an undying passion for the areas of human rights, anti-discrimination, feminism and animal rights specifically and the ardour that I felt was not the kind that could be dampened or tamed. At some point, I then realised that I wanted my voice to be heard, I wanted to make my generation better, I wanted to make our country and in future, the world, a place where people, especially young people, are aware and just as passionate as I am about making the future a better place.
This is much more than a beauty pageant, it requires you to talk about worldly pressing issues, to express your views, to debate, to engage and to do charity. It requires that you use your inner beauty more so than your outer beauty and this is one of the reasons that I chose to run for this title. I believe that I have the passion, the angst, the intelligence and the drive to help my country progress and put itself on the map even more so than it has already done thus far. I believe that Miss World Trinidad and Tobago will give me the platform to let my voice be heard, raise awareness about current issues, do outstanding work to assist persons aggrieved by these issues and all together help me make my country, my generation and this world a much better place. (As for the 6 inch heels however, I am still deathly afraid of falling but here I stand courageously.)

XX: What do you hope to achieve if you win the title of Miss World T&T?
KR: Regardless of whether I win the title of Miss World Trinidad and Tobago or not, I hope to inspire, motivate and reach out to the people of my generation and the younger people of society. I want to show them that there are some incredibly pressing issues within our society today, for example, discrimination of all forms, racism, sexism, violence and poverty; all of which are plaguing our world every single day and all of which we, as the future generation are more than capable of coming together and eradicating bit by bit. I want to show the world that beauty is not just a single faceted construct, it is not all about having a symmetrical face and an athletic body; it is much more than that. Beauty is in the mind, it is in the soul; it is in the way that a person expresses himself or herself, it is in the way people help other persons in need and it is about the way one person can do one simple act and make a change wherever they are. That is actual beauty in my perspective.

XX: If you represent T&T in China, what do you hope to showcase about our country
KR: I want to show that the people of our country are very intellectual, have an extremely high standard of education, a respected level of class and have opinions and expressions which are meant to be heard on an international level. I want international persons to stop thinking that all Caribbean people are the same or have the same background as each island including our own is so unique. I want us to be known and I want us to be remembered.

 

MARISA MAHADEO, 26, Miss Roystonia Couva

XX: Tell us about your background.
MM:
Couva has always been home to me. I came from a very humble background. With no sisters, I grew up as a tomboy and became quite athletic.
At 20, I earned my Bachelors in Education and became a Primary School Teacher. Coincidentally, I was placed in the same Primary School that I attended. It was such a privilege to work alongside my very own past teachers and to be given the opportunity to educate in the very same place where I learnt so many valuable lessons.

XX: Why did you decide to run for Miss World T&T?
MM: At a young age I’ve always wanted to do better and help others. When I began teaching, I was faced with so many students that lacked parental support, money, books, clothes and most importantly love. I began filling a gap that those students had and I saw results in their behaviour and school work almost immediately. I witnessed firsthand what a little help can do. It’s more than just a crown, it’s a responsibility, a priceless opportunity to make a positive change in the world today and to be that example that young children from anywhere and from any background can look up to.

XX: What do you hope to achieve if you win the title of Miss World T&T?
MM: I want to inspire youths to move away from a life of violence and crime. Our country is being bombarded with so many horrendous acts and children need to know that there are alternatives to this life of crime. Too many times we ignore them and forget that children are our country’s most valuable resource. They are our future and this is what we need to invest in, their development. I want to help provide them with the right tools and mindset to be focused and show that anything is possible. I know that Miss World T&T will assist me in completing this goal by giving me the opportunity to be a positive role model who can serve as an inspirational focal point for all children to follow.

XX: If you represent T&T in China, what do you hope to showcase about our country
MM: I wish that I can showcase everything about Trinidad and Tobago since we are a unique melting pot of races and cultures. I would show our diversity and acceptance of people from all walks of society. That we are more than just a little island full of beautiful beaches and landscapes.

 

MAYA COZIER, 25, Miss St. Anns

XX: Tell us about your background.
MC: I am filmmaker. Upon completing CAPE exams at Holy Name Convent, I won an Open scholarship, which allowed me to study filmmaking at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
My last short film, Short Drop, screened at over 20 film festivals around the world. ‘Short Drop’ won the award for best short film at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival in 2017, the award for ‘New York Women in Film’ at the Dusty Film Festival and best Caribbean lm at Curacao Film Festival. I was listed as 25 people under 25 to Watch’ by Caribbean Beat Magazine. My portfolio of work – including narrative films, music videos and documentaries – has been written about extensively by the press both locally and internationally. I recently completed shooting a new short film called ‘She Paradise’.
My close friends and family would describe me as a free spirit who enjoys telling stories and hearing stories from people of all walks of life.

XX: Why did you decide to run for Miss World T&T?
MC: As a filmmaker I feel like there certain societal issues that I want to discuss and bring to the forefront. I would like to use my position of influence to create change and advocate for women’s rights. Issues such as domestic violence, sexual discrimination, harassment and the wage gap affect women in T&T and around the world. I also feel like this is a great opportunity to not only better myself as an individual, but give back to my country.

XX: What do you hope to achieve if you win the title of Miss World T&T?
MC: I hope to use my position as Miss World to give back to this country which has blessed me with many opportunities and made me into the woman I am today. T&T is a diverse and unique country with so much to offer to the world. I hope to use my title to influence positive change.

XX: If you represent T&T in China, what do you hope to showcase about our country?
MC: I hope to showcase that we’re not just a typical Caribbean destination, but that our country is modern, progressive, diverse and that we have a wave of young people who are coming up with innovative and creative ways of bettering our society. As an artist and filmmaker, I want to focus on the progress we’ve made as filmmakers, fashion designers, musicians and writers. We have so much talent that the world needs to stop and take note.

 

TISHANNA MITCHELL, 24, Miss St. Augustine

XX: Tell us about your background.
TM: Originally from Central Trinidad, Chaguanas, I am the only child to my parents. I grew up in a tightly knitted family who experienced various different cultures, as my mother is of East Indian descent and my father a mixture of Creole, Chinese and Indian.
Educationally, I currently hold a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and Communication Studies. I am currently pursuing a Masters in Counseling Psychology.

XX: Why did you decide to run for Miss World T&T?
TM: Deciding to enter Miss World Trinidad and Tobago was a well thought out decision. I asked myself this question many times before I actually decided to enter. It all came down to not what this pageant can do for me, but what I can do for this pageant, and not only the pageant but my country.
From a very young age, I came to the realization of my purpose and my duty to serve others in many ways. I saw this competition [as an opportunity] to do just that. I envisioned this pageant not only as a personal opportunity to achieve my goals and to ultimately become a brand ambassador for Trinidad and Tobago, but also a platform where I can motivate young persons like myself who may have doubts that they can achieve anything in life.
It all comes down to that one decision of entering their personal “pageant” and believing that they can.

XX: What do you hope to achieve if you win the title of Miss World T&T?
TM: I hope to achieve a higher level of passion and patriotism for my country, to be able to reflect that on the international scale and to put Trinidad and Tobago back on the map in pageantry. I do hope to continue my advocacy of helping young people holistically develop themselves and draw closer to achieving their ultimate purpose in life.

XX: If you represent T&T in China, what do you hope to showcase about our country?
MM: If I do get the opportunity to represent Trinidad and Tobago in China, I hope to showcase our country’s diverse and unique culture that fosters the home of love, excitement and a nation like no other. I would love to display our level of resilience that makes up our people. A small island with a big heart.

 

YSABEL BISNATH, 25, Miss Port of Spain West

XX: Tell us about your background.
YB:
I grew up in Port of Spain, where I attended St. Joseph’s Convent. I won an Open Scholarship, which I accepted to study law at Oxford University, and went on to complete my Master’s in International Business Law at King’s College.
Although the nature of my career means that I can come across as quite serious, I am an adventurous and fun-loving person. I spent some months in Italy to gain work experience and learn Italian, worked in China, and have backpacked across Southeast Asia. And of course, regardless of where life takes me, I must come back home for Carnival.

XX: Why did you decide to run for Miss World T&T?
YB: After having spent the better part of six years studying and working abroad, I was excited to return home this year. I saw the Miss World T&T pageant as an opportunity to reconnect with my country, to learn a new skill set, and to make new friends in the process.
Miss World’s “Beauty with a Purpose” platform particularly appealed to me as a great way to engage with, and give back to, my local community.

XX: What do you hope to achieve if you win the title of Miss World T&T?
YB:
I want to bring positive recognition to our country. Trinbagonians have an immense capacity for national pride and unity when our citizens succeed in their chosen fields, especially internationally. I would consider myself privileged to be able to make our country proud in such a way. Locally, I hope to continue and expand my work with charitable organisations across the country. Currently, I am involved with a charity called For The Love of Reading TT, a local charity which provides free community spaces for reading. I want to use my platform to increase literacy and build awareness in this area.

XX: If you represent T&T in China, what do you hope to showcase about our country?
MM: There is so much to celebrate about Trinidad and Tobago! If I had to choose one aspect in particular, I would showcase the diversity of our culture, because I think this most distinguishes us from other Caribbean countries. Our harmonious mixture of African, Indian, Chinese, Arab and European communities is a lesson in tolerance and pluralism that can set an example for the rest of the world. This is especially relevant in light of the current global debates around immigration and nationalism.

The XX Team

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