Paradise: Miss Trinidad and Tobago/Universe Avionne Mark takes part in the 2012 Miss Universe National Costume Show last Friday in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The costume, designed by Monique Nobrega and Douglas John of the Tribe mas band, is titled "Isla de Paraiso". See Page 33.

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Miss Universe Pageant may return

By Wayne Bowman wayne.bowman@trinidadexpress.com

Although Miss Trinidad and Tobago/Universe Avionne Mark did not make it to the semifinal round of the 2012 International Miss Universe Pageant on Wednesday in Las Vegas, USA, she may be returning home with something more valuable than a crown.

Donald Trump, co-owner of the Miss Universe Organisation, on Wednesday told Mark and Dean Ackin, owner of the pageant's local franchise and founder of Tribe mas band, that one of the best Miss Universe shows ever was the one held here in 1999 at the Heliport in Chaguaramas, and he would like to host another pageant in Trinidad.

"Avionne and I met with Donald Trump tonight (Wednesday) and he mentioned that one of the best Miss Universe shows was held in Trinidad years ago. He said he liked Trinidad and Tobago Carnival and would like to bring the show back soon. Mr Trump envisages the use of Carnival costumes as part of the show, which is televised to 190 countries and viewed by a billion people. So this will be great exposure for tourism in Trinidad and Tobago if this were to actually happen," Ackin said.

Ackin said Trump asked him to meet with Paula Shuggart, president of the Miss Universe Organisation, to begin exploring the possibilities of bringing the show here in the near future. Ackin said that Mark was at first disappointed that she did not advance to the final, but is now taking it all in stride. He said he is very proud of her and he knows that from this experience Mark will move on to great success, which is why he took over the franchise in the first place—to provide another platform for young women to develop the confidence to pursue their dreams.

"Avionne was understandably a bit disappointed initially, but she is in good spirits now. With her spirited Trini personality, she made a great impression on all her fellow contestants and was also much liked by all the Miss Universe staff she met. They all know her by name and she represented our country as an ambassador very well. We at the Miss Trinidad and Tobago Organisation are very proud of her, and we know that many career opportunities will come her way, especially in the tourism industry, which is her passion," Ackin said.

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