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Paul’s out to conquer the Earth
Confidence and charisma. Twenty-three-year-old Leston Paul believes these two qualities will help him to top all other contestants when he competes in the Mister Earth Worldwide pageant which takes place this weekend. Paul was selected as T&T’s representative for the fourth edition of the international pageant which started on February 17 and ends on Sunday, at the Hotel Vista Real in Guatemala. A very outspoken and animated Paul told the T&T Guardian that he was born in Trinidad to Guyanese parents before moving to Guyana where he spent most of his life.
He returned to Trinidad at the age of 16, where he finished his secondary schooling at what was known then as the Arima Senior Comprehensive School. Paul grew up in a single-parent home in Guyana as the ninth child of his mother, Sheila Pillay. “I only knew my father when I was a teenager so basically the person who was involved in my life the most was my mother.” He said growing up in Guyana, financial difficulties made it difficult for parents to invest in their children’s hobbies and interests.
He said that because of this, he spent a great deal of his time drawing and painting which could explain why he is now pursuing an associate degree in graphic design at Costaatt. As a teenager, Paul became interested in theatre production. He enrolled in drama programmes and seminars taking place in Guyana. “This was my first onstage experience,” he said. “That made me realise that I was made for the theatre.” Paul said it was theatre that first sparked his love for the spotlight. In 2011, he won the Mr India T&T competition.
Although issues faced by the local pageant producers prevented him from competing in the international Mr India pageant, Paul continued to gather information on other competitions including Mister World, Mister International and Mister Earth Worldwide. After an online interview, he was selected as T&T’s first representative at the Mister Earth Worldwide pageant. He said he hoped he would be able to create more opportunities for young men from T&T who may be interested in pageantry. “I want to be able to carry my country and myself forward,” he said.
He believes the Mister Earth pageant is unique in that it does not merely search for a young man with a handsome face or welltoned physique. Rather, he said, it aims to promote good social skills and a sense of consciousness with regard to the environment and its preservation. Contestants will be required to plan initiatives that help to protect the environment and participants will also complete an interview which will test their environmental awareness.
Paul sees the Mister Earth Worldwide as “a pageant with a purpose.” Paul said he has become passionate about issues of littering, flooding and deforestation which are widespread in T&T. He said while he is no expert on the environment, he is excited to learn more about ways of preserving and restoring it.
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