At the end of the Tobago screening, three young ladies were last weekend selected to compete in the Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe Pageant and they will on Sunday be joined by the successful candidates from the Trinidad screening.
Interestingly, that screening comes off at the Hilton Trinidad, St Ann's only several hours before the semi-final round of the competition takes place at the same venue. The final will be held on October 7 also at the Hilton and from there the winner will undergo an intense training regimen in preparation for Miss Universe Pageant.
The urgency is because the international leg of the Miss Universe Pageant takes place in early December in the Dominican Republic, therefore there is precious little time for the local franchise holders, Tribe Mas Band, to have whoever is eventually crowned Miss Trinidad and Tobago 2012 ready for the final of the international leg.
So why would a successful Carnival mas band get involved with the Miss Universe Pageant franchise, especially in light of the roller coaster ride that the local leg has taken over the years? CEO Dean Ackin said Tribe and its subsidiaries have all been in the business of beauty, pageantry and glamour for years and therefore have the experience to successfully engage in the Miss Universe Pageant. He also said that an aspect of Tribe is developing the skills and talents of young people, which is also a major element of Miss Universe.
"We got into Miss Universe because there is a lot of synergy between Tribe and Ultimate Events because both entities require working with models we have trained over the years. We are also into projecting the beauty of Carnival and the company has always focused on developing the youth, as from inception we've always had young people working with us exploring and developing their talents.
"The Miss Universe Pageant, from the Tribe point of view is about developing and grooming a young woman towards being an ambassador for Trinidad and Tobago. We are well aware that previous holders of the franchise have had challenges in running the pageant, but one of their major obstacles was their having to outsource most of their human and technical resources, while we have most of the expertise required in-house," Ackin said.
Ackin has handed the responsibility of pageant coordinator to former Miss Trinidad and Tobago, Leah-Mari Guevera who is hard at work putting everything together alongside a team of experts in various areas related to pageant production. Providing advice to Tribe is former franchise holder, Peter Elias who has the title of master consultant.
Another former Miss Trinidad and Tobago, Magdalene Walcott is training the candidates in walking and movement, Adrian Raymond is prepping the girls for speech and interviews, fitness is being coordinated by Adam Chin Leong and hair is being done by Bally. Nina Alcantara is doing make-up, while Calvin French heads the photography team.
The line-up of judges for the screening includes; Christian Boucaud (fashion designer), Monique Nobrega (costume designer), Magdalene Walcott, Adam Chin Leong, Danielle Jones (former Miss Trinidad and Tobago), Njisane Phillip (Olympic cyclist) and Adrian Raymond. Incidentally the screening on Sunday begins at 9 a.m. and runs to 1 p.m., while the semi-final gets on the way at 2 p.m. Ten women will be selected to prepare for the final.
"The ten finalists will undergo intense training for the three weeks in preparation for the final. There are attractive prizes being offered, but we really want to encourage the young ladies to come out to participate because of the opportunities that will open up before them. Representing the nation on an international platform is great enough, but there are a host of opportunities that will present themselves to even the ladies who don't win the title.
"As for the young woman who wins the title of Miss Trinidad and Tobago 2012, just participating in the international leg will change her life. Former Miss Trinidad and Tobago winners like Leah-Mari Guevara and Magdalene Walcott who did not win the international crown will tell you of the many accomplishments that they achieved following from the competition. And look at what the title helped Janelle Penny Commissiong and Wendy Fitzwilliam to achieve over the years," Ackin said.
Tribe, Ackin said, has been able to attract a number of sponsors thus far and there are quite a few other corporate entities showing interest in coming aboard towards the final. He said the methodology being employed by the mas production company along with its event planning subsidiary seems to be working well. Ackin is inviting every young lady interested in trying out for the pageant to come out to the Hilton on Sunday.
"The screening is open to every young woman interested in participating regardless of whatever. It matters not where you come from or who you are, every young lady has a right to seek an opportunity to represent Trinidad and Tobago on an international platform. All we ask is that you believe in yourself, knowing that you can achieve anything you put your mind to and are willing to work hard towards accomplishing," Ackin said.