Thursday, September 22, 2011

2011 Meet the Misses v.11 - Miss Trinidad and Tobago World 2011

The twin island nation of Trinidad and Tobago is the southernmost nation of the Lesser Antilles. Trinidad is more industrialized and Tobago is more laid back and secluded. Trinidad's economy is more dependent on its petroleum industry and Tobago depends more on tourism. Even though they share a common history since 1889 when they were joined as a British Crown colony, there are unique differences that define each of the islands. Trinidad and Tobago is the birthplace of the ever popular calypso, soca, steelpans and limbo. It features each year one of the most popular carnivals in the planet. The island nation is very diverse with Amerindian, European, Indian, Chinese and Middle Eastern influences in their culture and history. The island nation became independent in 1976. In Miss World, Trinidad and Tobago won the title in 1986 with Giselle Laronde and has a successful history on this pageant. This year, the beautiful and intelligent Lee-Ann Forbes, Miss Trinidad and Tobago World 2011, will represent the island nation in London.

The Times of Beauty proudly presents Lee-Ann Forbes, Miss Trinidad and Tobago World 2011, in an exclusive interview for our interview series, Meet the Misses.

1. Give us an introduction of yourself
My name is Lee Ann Forbes, I am 21 and I will be representing Trinidad and Tobago at the 61st Miss. World pageant in London.

2. Tell us a bit more about your country and hometown
Trinidad and Tobago are two separate islands that form one nation. We are located at the southern end of the Caribbean archipelago and we are often referred to as the jewels of the Caribbean. Tobago is one of the region’s premier destinations for eco-tourists and persons seeking an unspoilt tropical paradise. Tobago is credited as being the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s story Robinson Crusoe and is in fact nicknamed “Crusoe’s Isle.” Tobago also has the distinction of being the most fought over island in the Caribbean, having changed ownership several times among the British, French and Spanish. The two islands were joined in 1889, gained independence from Great Britain in 1962 and became a republic in 1976. Trinidad is home to the world famous Pitch Lake and the world’s greatest carnival and Tobago is home to the Western Hemisphere’s oldest surviving protected rainforest and one of the most visited barrier reefs on the planet. We pride ourselves on having a diverse ethnic composition and a cosmopolitan society where all races live and work together in peace.

3. What does it mean to you to represent your country at the 61st Miss World finals?
My country has a long and proud history at Miss. World so it is actually quite an honor to represent Trinidad and Tobago at this year’s competition in London. I am looking forward to meeting the other contestants and to learning about the British Isles. I would also take the opportunity to promote my islands to the rest of the world through my participation in the various events leading up to the final show. I am hoping to be outfitted by some of my country’s top designers and I am learning a dance which will fuse different genres and ethnic influences that are prevalent in my country. I am also going to promote my country’s carnival through my national costume and national dance and hopefully I will get the opportunity to share pieces of my unique culture with the other young women.

4. If you have to choose a song to describe yourself, which would you choose and why?
The one song which might best describe my disposition is One Day at A Time, which is a gospel standard. I truly live my life one day at a time, thankful for every small mercy and every precious breath of life. I always take time to enjoy living in this moment. Someone once said to me “Enjoy this moment because it might very well be the greatest moment of your life!” Sound advice, don’t you think?

5. How would you describe a typical day in your life?
I am a typical young woman. Whenever I am not in school or studying for my degree in geography, I like hanging out with my friends and surfing the web. I also like reading and horseback riding. Of course, since becoming Miss. Trinidad and Tobago World I have had to make a few adjustments. I do Zumba training on an almost daily basis, I learn about etiquette and protocol in preparation for the role which I hope to step into; I practice my talent, learn how to apply makeup, I do runway modelling and I have my usual chores at home. There is hardly any time for sleep but in order to succeed in life one has to work hard and be committed to the process.

6. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Ten years from now I am a successful model with a degree in Geography and Environmental Studies. I am a former Miss World titleholder (2011) and I am happily married and planning to start a family. I am going to still be committed to fighting injustice and making the world a better place. With or without the most coveted crown on the planet, that aspect of my life isn’t going to change.

7. Which well known person from your country you most admire and why?
My country has produced many luminaries in various fields. Entertainers like Billy Ocean, Heather Headley and Nicky Minaj immediately come to mind. We also have world class athletes like Brian Lara and Olympic gold medalist Hasley Crawford but the one person whom I admire most is our country’s first female Prime Minister the Honorable Kamla Persad Bissesar. To attain such a position in a society and in a field which has traditionally been male dominated shows just how determined she is and how committed she is to improving the lives of her fellow countrymen. She has weathered many challenges and storms throughout the first year of her stewardship and she has done it with aplomb and dignity and she serves as an example to all women in Trinidad and Tobago of just what we can accomplish if we walk in faith and live honestly.

8. If you had to choose any other country to live in, which one would you choose and why?
I would visit many countries if given the opportunity to but there truly is no place like home. It would take an act of Nature or God to cause me to leave Trinidad and Tobago for foreign shores. But life is full of surprises after all, so one never knows what could happen.

9. After the Sendai Earthquake, nuclear energy has become a focus of attention. Are you in favor or against the use of this kind of energy as a way to reduce the dependence on oil?
I am studying for a Degree in Geography with my focus being Environmental Studies so this is actually a question I feel confident about answering. For all intents and purposes, nuclear energy is clean, renewable and relatively safe. Along with hydro electric, wind, geothermal and solar energy, nuclear energy can help end our dependence on fossil fuels which are non renewable, costly and can do damage to the environment. In spite of the devastation following the Sendai Quake and even decades after incidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, Nuclear energy remains a viable and clean alternative that does less damage to the environment than the burning of fossil fuels like gas, coal and oil.

10. What do you think is the worst kind of human injustice or prejudice happening now?
Human trafficking of women and children. Forcing these young women and men into a lifetime of sexual servitude or unpaid labor amounts to slavery and many of us, in the Caribbean especially, pride ourselves on being descendants of slaves who were set free. We cannot understand man’s inhumanity to man or the atrocious acts committed against helpless individuals by unscrupulous men and women. I cannot understand how the worth of a human life can be so easily measured in dollars and cents. It makes me sick sometimes and it is something which I have vowed to use my voice and my talents to heighten awareness of particularly among my generation.

11. What are your duties as Miss Trinidad and Tobago World?
My main responsibility is to act as an Ambassador for my country- to promote its beauty and charm and to share its unique history and culture with the rest of the world. My purpose is to get others to see Trinidad and Tobago as a prime destination for pleasure seekers and as a major player in the direct foreign investment market. We are primed for an economic boom and Trinidad and Tobago has so much to offer investors globally- a skilled and competent labor force, natural resources and incentives for those willing to come in and work side by side with my country’s business leaders.

12. What role can social media (ex. Facebook, Twitter, etc) play in the life of a beauty pageant titleholder?
Social media can be employed to help title holders with their platforms and to help reach others who might become inspired by our stories and our struggles and even our victories,-in real time. Social media also allows us to communicate with friends and well wisher and for many of us, in a foreign country, miles from home for the first time; this connection can often be welcoming and vital. Sometimes we are never more alone than when we are in a crowd of people.

13. What does it mean to be a human being?
It means being responsible for yourself and for others who have no voice. It means being able to rise above our basic instincts and do what is right even in the face of opposition. It means fighting for the rights and freedoms for others that we often take for granted and it means having genuine feelings and being able to express them.

14. What do you feel is your purpose in life?
My purpose is and always has been to work with others to improve the quality of life for those less fortunate than myself. Any definition of a successful life must include serving others.

15. Share a message to your supporters and readers of The Times of Beauty.
I am simple and humble but I am also very competitive. I look forward to ending my country’s 25 year title drought at Miss World. I also want to urge bloggers and those who make comments to be kind and supportive to all the delegates. We are all working hard and we all have a singular purpose which is to share our little piece of earth with the rest of the world. Sometime the negative comments can be overwhelming and hurtful. Be considerate of our feelings and constructive in your critiques.

and finally...
Personal Motto: Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.
Personal Goal: To be the best friend, daughter, companion, wife, mother and human being that I can possibly be.
Personal Dream Destination: The new seven wonders of the world- The Pyramids at Chichen Itza, The Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, The Colosseum in Rome, The Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, The Petra and the Taj Mahal in India. I would definitely throw in the Pyramids in Egypt for good measure.
Favorite Food: Local East Indian Cuisine which is distinctly different from the traditional fare of the Indian sub continent. You have not experienced the good life until you have sampled our curry.
Favorite Color: Red- because it is vibrant. It symbolizes energy and passion for life.
Favorite Song: I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack
Favorite Movie: Pirates of the Caribbean
Favorite Book: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.
Favorite Singer/Band: Sir Elton John and The Beatles.
Favorite Actor/Actress: Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie.
Favorite Hobbies: Reading, horseback riding and retail therapy.
Favorite Sports: Cricket and soccer.

Michael Raghunanan
, National Director of Miss World in Trinidad and Tobago
Lee-Ann Forbes
, Miss Trinidad and Tobago World 2011

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