Contestants prepare for Mr. and Miss FIU

Written by Camila Fernandez/BBC Managing Editor

Beauty pageants are often looked down upon, but for FIU pageant contestants Marcos Garcia and Carolina Bussé, the competition is a life opportunity.

Both will participate in this year’s Mr. and Miss FIU Scholarship Pageant of which title-holders receive hundreds of dollars in cash prize. However, participants look forward to becoming well-rounded individuals through pageant process.

“I always tell people I don’t want to just be ordinary, and I don’t want ‘being scared’ to stop me… this is why I have to do it.” said Bussé, a sophomore elementary education major.

Bussé said that the pageant process and support from her sorority family, have helped her to overcome struggles of being a shy and fearful person. Last year, she won the title of Ms. Dance Marathon at the Mr. and Miss Dance Marathon Pageant.

“I was intimidated by the [Miss FIU] competition and I realized [that] in life, you have to go for it. It doesn’t mean you’re gonna win, but you can’t be scared because there’s competition,” she said.

Coming from Mexico, Garcia, a junior international relations major, worked in the spanish broadcasting network Telemundo as part of the TV production team for Caso Cerrado.

He said that after a year of pushing to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the SAT, he finally got accepted to FIU. Now he wants the opportunity to give back and represent the University.

“[In Mexico], we don’t have these kind of pageants and opportunities,” Garcia said. “It would be great for me if I could represent my university by being [an] image and [a] face of FIU.”

According to Koren Illa, a senior communication arts major and executive director of the Miss FIU Pageant Committee, this year marks the 11th anniversary of Miss FIU, and the fifth for Mr. FIU. Unlike the men’s division, Miss FIU is an official preliminary for the Miss Florida Scholarship Pageant.

missfiu 462.jpg_ Maria Soledad Lorenzino

Junior biology major Andrea Mirabal, was crowned Miss FIU 2014 at last year’s pageant. She and Mr. FIU Omar Lacerate will be hosting Mr. and Miss FIU this year.


Illa said that for the first time, Mr. FIU will also have the opportunity to win a scholarship prize whereas in the past, winners only received small prizes and gift baskets.

“We’re awarding the Mr. FIU title-holder with an actual scholarship which, in the past, has never been done before — It’s a big deal this year,” Illa said.

To compete in the pageant, competitors must prepare a platform that represents a philanthropic organization or project.

Bussé has chosen to work with FIU student and TEDxFIU speaker, Alexa Chavarry. Bussé said she has wanted to work with Chavarry after hearing about her “The Butterfly Project.”

The project asks those who deal with depression to draw a butterfly on their arm whenever they feel the need to self-harm, name it after a loved one and keep it alive by not cutting.

“Sometimes you can’t do it for yourself, you have to remember there’s other people out there that love you and will be devastated if something happens to you,” said Bussé.

Andrea Mirabal, a junior biology major and Miss FIU 2014, said that even if pageant contestants don’t win, they should continue to support their platforms, develop their talents and be informed about social issues.

“It’s more about what you do with the title and what you do,” said Mirabal. “Even if you don’t win Miss [or Mr.] FIU, it’s what you do with the pageant.”

Mirabal said that as Miss FIU, she felt the University has given her many opportunities.

“I feel like FIU has given me a lot… I feel it’s a very family-friendly community… we build bonds,” she said.

The Mr. and Miss FIU pageant will be held at the Mary Ann Wolfe Theater at the Biscayne Bay Campus on Jan. 24. Doors for Mr. FIU open at 1:30 p.m. followed by Miss FIU at 5 p.m. There will be a Mad Hatters Ball at 4 p.m. in between both pageant hours.

FIU students enter free with student ID. General admissions for one pageant is $20 while admission for both is $30. Paid admission gives points to viewer’s candidate choice.

About the Author

Camila Fernandez
A FIU School of Journalism and Mass Communications Student - Began working with Student Media in 2013.

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