I had wondered about her. I had wondered why she had been treated differently when she was chosen as the 2012 Miss T&T/ World.
Why was there so much rage and disdain directed towards this young woman from a certain sector of the society?
Why was there such a backlash and most of all why was she left to feel that she was not good enough and that the title she sported so proudly was too great for her head.
The hate and the uproar came because of where Athaliah was born. She is a product of Laventille and as such many felt that this factor disqualified her and as such she was not worthy of being Miss Trinidad and Tobago.
Also all the prestige, the attention and the kudos given to other Miss T&Ts eluded Athaliah Samuel. The backlash against this attractive and intelligent 24-year-old woman was like a minefield.
I also asked myself what was I guilty of? I had always ensured that all the young women who represented this country at international pageants be celebrated on our cover.
And so I asked myself why not Athaliah? And was I also guilty of stereotyping? I am no bigot of that I am sure. I have always maintained that one should not be judged by the colour of their skin, or circumstances, but always by the fabric of one's character.
I knew I had to do what we had neglected to do for Athaliah. And so I called her and invited her to grace the cover of Woman.
She was gracious when she sat down with writer Lorraine Waldropt-Ferguson and told her story.
I discovered an honest, bright and articulate young woman who although hurt by the shabby manner in which she was treated appeared to be made of much sterner stuff. She did not break under the pressure.
She spoke about her dreams and ambitions and revealed that she was currently pursuing studies in communication at COSTATT. It was apparent that she knew who she was and where she wanted to go. But the most important thing I discovered was that Athaliah Samuel is a focused and assertive individual who refuses to be pigeon-holed or walk in the shoes that anyone else has allotted for her.
This young woman is making sure and precise steps in her own shoes; strong, concise and decisive. Good luck Athaliah.
Please enjoy our 32-page issue it is chockful of interesting and informative stories. And remember be kind to each other.
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