I mentioned Sarah in my last post but didn’t clarify who that is. Sarah Jane Waddell is a Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe hopeful and really, in my esteemed opinion (ha) the only woman for the job. I’ve known Sarah since she was about 17 or so and while we aren’t bosom buddies or anything, I know her well enough to assert that she’s incredibly intelligent, witty, charming, diplomatic and relatable. I also have eyes, so I know she’s gorgeous. Sarah’s biggest asset in this competition so far, from what I’ve observed, has been her personality. On Wednesday she and some of the other contestants were on the Hypa Drive (that’s Hoppy’s afternoon show from 3-6pm on Red 96.7 fyi) and she handled the innuendo and callous remarks perfectly without coming across as a prude or a snob. While Hoppy and co may not be anything close to a reflection of what Sarah will encounter at the Miss Universe pageant if (when) she’s selected, it still gave her an opportunity to shine, and shine she did, coming away from the radio segment with the Miss HypaDrive Universe crown (fictional crown of course) for acing the guys’ sham of an interview session. Sarah’s resolved to win this, and I know if she wins she will make the most of the title in a way that I think many other girls are yet to even consider. She thinks big and I like that. In some ways she reminds me of me with a more symmetrical face and a tinier waist and I’ll be damned if I support anyone in this pageant who’s just gonna sit on a sash and a crown and think that’s the end of the road.
A few weeks ago I had a bit of a rhetorical debate with myself and whoever else would read it on my friend Ian’s status update about who our Top 3 picks were for the pageant. Now by the virtue of my lofty ideals and pseudo-feminist banter from time to time, the idea that I’m even interested in a pageant is a bit contrary to who I appear (pretend) to be. Truth be told…I think I just enjoy watching people perceived as beautiful, be judged. That sounds sinister, but in my defense, when I secretly curl up in a ball and watch the Miss Universe pageants I’m always rooting for the most articulate and intelligent girl. I never really have a solid favourite until I hear the responses to the final question. So please don’t judge me. Sarah actually made an interesting point on an interview with Hema Ramkissoon on CNC3 this morning: as humans, we celebrate competition. We are always vying to see who is better than someone else at something. The Olympics, exams, chess tournaments, body building competitions…and the list goes on. If you win a beauty pageant, it does not mean that beauty is all-encompassing…it does not mean that that is be all and end all for that winner. Interesting perspective and one I honestly hadn’t really considered before. See…told you she was intelligent.
Anyway, I engaged in this vigorous question segment on Facebook where I asked well…what do we look for in the woman we send to represent us on a world stage? Do we look for the girl next door? Do we look for the one with the most sex appeal? Do we look for the most poised, polished and preened regardless of personality? (I haven’t engaged in alliteration since Form 5, this is a big deal) Do we look for the one we see ourselves in? I can’t answer for everyone else of course, but for me, I want a representative who thinks bigger than the pageant. I want someone who’s focused and determined and is shrewd enough to see a pageant for what it is: a significant opportunity to use her title to further herself and her country. When one thinks about Wendy Fitzwilliam, her win in the 1998 Miss Universe pageant is just one of a vast number of accomplishments you could cite. I like that. I like when women can take something as archaic and steeped in patriarchal ideology as a beauty pageant and turn it on its head.
So check out her fan page on Facebook (she’s got the most support thus far on social media) and vote for her for Fan Favourite here on the official Miss T&T Universe page. You can also find her on Twitter . Thanks for any support folks.