Beauty and glamour comes to the fore this weekend when franchise-holders for the Trinidad & Tobago leg of the Miss Universe Pageant stages the semifinal today, at 2 pm, at Hilton Trinidad, Port-of-Spain. Prior to the semis a casting call, scheduled for 9 am, takes place at the same venue. Local hopefuls will be joined this afternoon by the three successful Tobago delegates—Kimberly Sergeant, Mary Esdeklle, Davia Chambers. Following an intense three-week training period ten women will advance to the final of the pageant taking place on October 7, also at the Hilton. The candidate eventually crowned as Miss Trinidad and Tobago will represent the nation at the International Miss Universe Pageant 2012 that is scheduled to come off early in December. Dean Ackin, founder of the Tribe Mas Band, now holds the local Miss Universe franchise and, together with his team from Tribe, and its spinoff event production outfit, Ultimate Events, has rebranded and streamlined the local leg of the competition. Tribe is employing its creative enterprise in mas production and the expertise in event logistics of Ultimate Events to produce an event offering grand pageantry, excitement and varying facets of beauty.
Commenting on this new enterprise, Ackin said, “When we decided to take on the responsibility of the Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe we knew there was a lot of ground to cover in re-establishing the profile of the pageant here. One of the main advantages we have is the synergy between Tribe and Ultimate Events in which we have a lot of expertise needed in-house. Tribe has also always been about providing young people with opportunities to develop their talent and so we have assembled a youthful team to work on Miss Universe bringing to the table fresh ideas and innovation.” Pulling it all together is former Miss T&T Leah-Mari Guevara, who is the pageant coordinator, leading a handpicked production team comprising of people experienced in the arena along with newcomers with great promise. Guevara led the team to Tobago where the first three young ladies to compete in the semifinal were chosen from dozens that attended the casting at the Magdalena Grand Hotel. Along with those mentioned previously the judging panel will also include Christian Boucaud (fashion designer); Monique Nobrega (costume designer); former Miss T&T Danielle Jones; and Olympic cyclist Njisane Phillip.
The ten finalists will have three weeks of work with the experts mentioned above to prepare them, not only for the pageant final, but also for life in general beyond that. Ackin said, “What we are seeking to do is prepare the young women to be ambassadors of Trinidad and Tobago and although only one will go on to actually represent us at Miss Universe, all of them will in the long run benefit from the experience of the local pageant. There are many opportunities that will present themselves to the young women after the competition that whatever they have learnt will serve them well. “This is why I want any young lady with a dream to represent the nation or a desire to achieve grand things to come out for the casting on Sunday. Let nothing deter you from coming out, whatever you may think about your chances believe in yourself and step forward. Look at the world of opportunities that opened up for our Miss Universe queens, Janelle Commissiong and Wendy Fitzwilliam and even for those who did not win either the international or the local titles who had windows and doorways open before them.” There are attractive prizes being offered for the Miss T&T Universe Pageant and the cache of prizes is expanding as more corporate sponsors come on board encouraged by Ackin’s vision for the competition. He said that in spite of the short time for preparation for the pageant’s international final in the Dominican Republic come December, Miss T&T will be well prepared and properly outfitted for the final.
Miss Universe T&T Production Team:
Adam Chin Leong (Torakan), and Spinner World