Miss FIU 2014 pagaent: education, diversity and the crown

Photos by Maria Lorenzino.

Giselle Cancio/Staff Writer

Multiple outfit changes, two hours and four rounds later, there was a Miss FIU 2014.

The journey for these women was long, but the multiple winners saw their hard work recognized with the support of the crowd, flowers, plaques and scholarships.

MissFIU2Andrea Mirabal, who never saw herself in the pageant scene, now holds the Miss FIU 2014 title. As her name was called, her smile went from ear to ear and tears rolled down her cheek.

“I still can’t believe it,” said Marabel, sophomore biology major. “I’ve been preparing for this pageant for longer than I can remember at this point and when I first applied, I just wanted the experience.” [pullquote]”Instead I’m walking out as an improved woman — a proud Miss FIU who is happy to represent her school in the best way possible.”[/pullquote]

The committee looked for women who were enthusiastic and willing to break out of their shell. They wanted to show women that they didn’t need to change themselves to be a part of this pageant, rather to be the best you you can be.

“The pageant allows for new opportunities, the chance to meet new people and truly an experience of a lifetime,” said Bianca Gutierrez, recruitment and education coordinator, a sophomore majoring in public relations. “This pageant is different from the rest because it is student focused. Contrary to normal pageants, Miss FIU represents the diversity found at our institution.”

The women learned about societal issues, developed professional and personal skills and got to showcase their talent.

The Miss FIU scholarship pageant has been a part of the Miss American organization since 2004.

It is a campus tradition that recognizes the potential of female college students who will serve as ambassadors of FIU and the local community.

The pageant winner, first runner up and second runner up receive scholarships thanks to Student Government funding.

Miss FIU is considered an official preliminary for the Miss Florida scholarship pageant, in which Miss FIU 2014 will advance to represent the University.

Miss FIU 2014The scoring is broken down into 5 pieces: private interview, lifestyle & fitness in swimsuit, talent, evening wear and on-stage question. The judges focus on how the woman can express herself and how well she will be able to represent FIU.

The contestants go through workshops and each one is tailored towards a different topic. The first workshop was a contestant orientation in which all information regarding the pageant was distributed to the contestants.

The second workshop was “Miss FIU News,” where the contestants were able to sit down with Miss FIU 2013, Natalie Diaz, and ask questions for advice, motivation or just what to expect. The third workshop was “Your Best You,” and this day was dedicated towards fitness and nutrition tips, healthy lifestyles and stage presence. The last workshop was “The Next Miss FIU” and this day the committee went over the final details, platforms, talents and a run-through of the show.

“The girls put in months of work for preparation, to get in shape, workout, practice their talent and research platforms and social issues for their interviews,” said Pamela Castillo, executive director and senior majoring in international relations. “I never thought the day would come, but I am so happy we have over 200 people in attendance helping us crown our Miss FIU 2014.”

Through the duration of the show, several talents were showcased such as lyrical dance, jazz dance, belly dancing, flag spinning, contemporary dance and live painting.

Mirabal’s talent portion was belly dancing. She has been performing at shows since the seventh grade, but this was the first time she was in a competitive setting. She usually focuses on how well she performed, but this time she had to worry about the judges liking it.

The following individuals were awarded: Non-Finalist Best Talent – Alison Roldan, Non-Finalist Best Interview – Victoria Camus, Most Photogenic – Brittany Spencer, Viewer’s Choice – Alison Roldan, Miss Congeniality – Andrea Mirabal, Second runner up – Nicollette Sheaks, First runner up – Brittany Spencer.

During her time as Miss FIU, Mirabal wants to advocate for Operation Smile, which is an international children’s medical charity that aims to provide safe, effective, reconstructive surgery and related medical care to children born with facial deformities.

Operation Smile has inspired her to pursue a career in reconstructive surgery because it’s very easy to help a child get a new smile.

“This was a new experience for me, I had never competed in pageants before, but the committee is so encouraging and made me feel confident the entire way,” Mirabel said. “My family, boyfriend and friends also reminded me not to be my worst enemy and to give it a try. It feels amazing to hold this title and I am so happy to represent a school that has given me so much in one short year.”

– giselle.cancio@fiusm.com

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