Thursday, October 6, 2011

2011 Meet the Misses v.31 - Miss Mundo de Puerto Rico 2011

Puerto Rico, the Island of Enchantment, is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeastern Caribbean Sea. Puerto Rico's history goes back 2000 years before the common era with the Ortoroid tribe, the first settlers of the island. They were joined by the Igneri tribe around year 300 and after the 7th century the Taíno culture started to develop and dominate the island. In 1493, Christopher Columbus arrived on his second voyage. This marked the start of the Spanish colonization of the island. The Taínos were reduced to near extinction and this led to the introduction of Sub-Saharan African slaves. Puerto Rico soon became a stronghold and a significant port for the expansion of the Spanish Empire. Various forts and walls, such as La Fortaleza, El Castillo San Felipe del Morro and El Castillo de San Cristóbal, were built to protect San Juan from numerous invasion attempts. During the Spanish regime, the Puerto Rican culture began to flourish with influences from the Taino, the Sub-Saharan Africans and the Spaniards. As years passed, poverty and political estrangement with Spain increased and provoked several uprisings.
In 1898, Puerto Rico was granted a short lived autonomous government as an overseas province of Spain. On that same year, the United States invaded Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War which lead to Spain ceding Puerto Rico to the United States. The United States and Puerto Rico relations as a colony were defined by the Foraker Act of 1900 and in 1917, Puerto Ricans were collectively made United States Citizens via the Jones Act. In 1952, the Constitution of Puerto Rico was drafted and approved with the ratification of the US Congress. It was proclaimed on July 25 of that year and Puerto Rico officially became a Commonwealth of the United States.
Puerto Rico consists of the main island of Puerto Rico and various smaller islands, including Vieques, Culebra, Mona, Desecheo, and Caja de Muertos. Puerto Rico is mostly mountainous with large coastal areas in the north and south. The island is home to the world renowned El Yunque National Forest and the Río Camuy Cave Park. The famous Arecibo Observatory is also located in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico's capital San Juan is the second oldest European-established city in the Americas and features the iconic Old San Juan. The island has given a large amount of singers, actors, actresses and artists to the world, notably Ricky Martin, a worldwide singing sensation.
Puerto Rico debuted in Miss World 1959 and produced a winner in 1975 with Wilnelia Merced. The island have produced eleven semifinalists, seven of them since 2002 including a third placer in 2005. This year, Amanda Victoria Vilanova Pérez, Miss Mundo de Puerto Rico 2011, will represent Puerto Rico at the 61st Miss World pageant.


The Times of Beauty proudly presents Amanda Victoria Vilanova Pérez, Miss Mundo de Puerto Rico 2011, in an exclusive interview for our interview series, Meet the Misses.

1. Give us an introduction of yourself.
My name is Amanda Victoria Vilanova Pérez. I am a 19 year old literature and drama student at the University of Puerto Rico. I have danced all my life and particularly enjoy dancing jazz, modern dance and salsa. I like writing, especially poetry and am currently celebrating the fact that four of my works will be published. I read constantly, am very inquisitive, and always make time for a good, long conversation.


2. Tell us a bit more about your country and hometown.
Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean where it is summer all year long. I am from the capital city San Juan, which is located on the northeastern coast of the island. Old San Juan is a walled city and walking through its streets you find yourself lost in its history. Our island’s geographic diversity is spectacular. We have gorgeous beaches, rich rainforests, and two bioluminescent bays that are quite a sight. Moreover, in Puerto Rico the enchantment of a tropical paradise and the convenience a modern country converge.


3. What does it mean to you to represent your country at the 61st Miss World finals?
Such a powerful feeling can be reduced to two words: Joy and Pride. It is the biggest honor that could have ever been bestowed on me.


4. If you have to choose a song to describe yourself, which would you choose and why?
One song that I would say describes me, would have to be Cantares, which is actually a poem by the Spanish poet Antonio Machado titled “Caminante no hay camino” which was made a song by Joan Manuel Serrat. In Spanish, the poem says: “Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar. Caminante no hay camino, y al volver la vista atrás se ve la senda que nunca se ha de volver a pisar, caminante no hay camino solo estelas en la mar.” In English it would read: “Traveler there is no path, you make your path as you travel. Traveler there is no path, and as you look back, you see the path that you will never walk through again. Traveler there is no path only trails above the sea.” I think this song describes me because I am living each part of my life as an adventure to be enjoyed profoundly and then remembered with happiness. Each of us is captain of our destiny and it’s our responsibility to ourselves to make each day count.



5. How would you describe a typical day in your life?
Ever since I was crowned Miss Mundo de Puerto Rico my days are very hectic, but fun. I get up early in the morning and exercise for at least 2 hours. I then get ready for the compromises of the day, be that photo shootings, interviews, or training for the different elements of the international competition. On many days, I spend my time in CREARTE, a wonderful center where I have the pleasure of working to motivate children to continue studying through the practice and learning of the arts. I’m sure any delegate will tell you that being a national queen can be tiring, but I enjoy every second of every day.


6. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Ten years from now I hope to be completing my Doctoral Degree in literature and being an active writer. I also, hope to have matured my acting skills and be pursuing a career in that area as well. Moreover, I would like to continue working in centers like CREARTE to push forth an alternative education paradigm in Puerto Rico.


7. Which well known person from your country you most admire and why?
There a few names and faces that come to mind after reading this question, but if I had to choose a single well known individual it would have to be Ricky Martin. He is an excellent performer and artist who become the voice of those who cannot speak for themselves. He has shown the true face of child abuse and his humanitarian efforts have changed the lives of many. Ricky Martin has represented Puerto Ricans in every corner of the world, he is uncommonly brave, and possesses the unquestionable spark and rhythm that makes us islanders unique.


8. If you had to choose any other country to live in, which one would you choose and why?
With the utmost honesty, I have dreamed of traveling to and living in the United Kingdom for a very long time. It is a modern country, filled with history and with a fascinating mix of cultures. Most of all, the thought that many of the greatest writers and interesting historical figures have lived and created there makes me want to experience the energy of the UK. Obviously, I am thrilled that this year’s pageant is to be held in London, I can check a trip to the UK off my bucket list.


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 think we can all agree that it is necessary to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Nevertheless, I believe we should focus on developing alternative sources of energy such as solar and wind power, which are inherently safer and cleaner that nuclear energy.



10. What do you think is the worst kind of human injustice or prejudice happening now?
The worst and most expansive human injustice of our and our great grandfather’s time is the unfair distribution of wealth. Poverty causes its victims to suffer hunger, disease, and cultural deprivation. It impedes the development of countries and societies under its control. This impending problem calls for a new approach based on the injection of resources, the strengthening of education systems, and an emphasis on “soft power” rather than violent solutions.


11. What are your duties as Miss Mundo de Puerto Rico?
As a representative of my country, I participate actively in social, cultural and humanitarian initiatives. I am interviewed continually by the media and write a weekly column for a national paper, where I describe the process of preparation for the international competition and express my views on different issues. But mostly, my primary duty is to be a example for others that with study, hard work, and discipline we can all reach our goals.


12. What role can social media (ex. Facebook, Twitter, etc) play in the life of a beauty pageant titleholder?
It is a fact that social media has opened a new and uncommonly active forum that can be accessed by millions of people; this allows an infinite amount of opinions both negative and positive, constructive and destructive to converge. Titleholders, like any other citizen, must learn to use this forum in an honest and prudent way. Social media can open doors and opportunities and are an easy way to let yourself be known in the broadest and most diverse community in existence. This reality implies additional responsibility for national representatives because any slight mistake could be known and judged by millions in seconds.


13. What does it mean to be a human being?
To be a human being means to enjoy the capacity to think, to feel, to create, and to change the world for better. These privileges gain their most beautiful shape when, as individuals, we view ourselves as part of the community and concept that is humanity. 


14. What do you feel is your purpose in life?
My purpose in life is to pursue my goals one day at a time, living each step along that path, helping whoever I can, and sharing my joy with those who love me and those who need me.

15. Share a message to your supporters and readers of The Times of Beauty.
It is an honor to share my thoughts and feeling with the readers of Times of Beauty. I hope that this interview serves as a way of getting to know a little bit more about me and my wonderful country Puerto Rico. I invite you to visit the coasts of my island, so that you may enjoy its culture, its countryside, its food, and most of all, its people. Beauty Pageants like Miss World serve as a way to link us all as countries and as people, based on the belief that there are more things that unite us, than those that separate us. Thank you for the support and the interest. It is an absolute honor just to be read by all of you.

and finally...
Personal Motto: Hard work and discipline is the key to success.
Personal Goal: Be a successful writer
Personal Dream Destination: United Kingdom
Favorite Food: Rice, beans, fried chicken and a heavenly Mofongo on the side.
Favorite Color: Orange
Favorite Song: “Cantares” by Joan Manuel Serrat
Favorite Movie: Cinema Paradiso
Favorite Book: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Favorite Singer/Band: The Beatles
Favorite Actor/Actress: Meryl Streep
Favorite Hobby: Dancing
Favorite Sport: Figure Skating


SPECIAL THANKS
Carmen Rodríguez, DM Concepts, Inc. (Press/Media Miss Mundo de Puerto Rico)
Delia Cruz
, National Director of Miss World in Puerto Rico
Amanda Victoria Vilanova Pérez
, Miss Mundo de Puerto Rico 2011

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