Beauty and Brains

by Jocelyn Firmin*

Winning a pageant for some women might seem an elusive fantasy if they don’t have the package that most pageants require: brain and beauty.

Coronation night of Sarodj Bertin as Reina Hispanoamericana 2012  Photo:  Promociones Gloria

Coronation night of Sarodj Bertin as Reina Hispanoamericana 2012 

Photo:  Promociones Gloria

To make things simpler, let’s narrow this topic down. Let’s take for instance our aspiring Haitian Queens.

Finding a beautiful Haitian woman for pageants is a piece of cake. I mean there are so many extremely gorgeous Haitian women to choose from that it can be overwhelming. But finding one (on the top of your head) that is pageant material is a different story.

I have come to realization that being beautiful is not enough to win an international pageant especially when 80 other contestants are as beautiful. Having the proper wardrobe is also not enough. Having great interviewing skills is merely not enough. I can go on and on. The bottom line is, you need a little bit of each of these things to make it to the top. Be mindful that the list is not exhaustive.

Often enough we hear people say “Oh my… she is so pretty… why doesn’t she get into pageants?” my reaction is always the same: “Really people?” Just because you’re pretty does not automatically translate into victory. Does that mean you have potential? You bet it does. But you need way more than physical beauty to be remarkable in the competition because once you win the crown, you will be giving press conferences and interviews, you also become a spokesperson for the organization. So girlfriends you better be Ogmios the god of eloquence from the Celtic mythology or Benten the Japanese goddess of love, beauty, eloquence, and wisdom.

Many of the young women that I have either worked or rubbed shoulders with (in the Haitian Pageant Industry) mostly lack critical thinking. In other words, “the ability to think clearly and rationally about what to do or what to believe” (Source: section Critical Thinking Web). With the widely use of social media, one tends to follow the crowd, the commonly accepted views which hinders one’s ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. Furthermore, the educational system in Haiti does certainly not teach students how to develop critical thinking but rather how to accumulate or memorize information.

I feel heartbroken when I see people mocking our aspiring pageant queens during their Q&A or interviews. While you’re laughing, have you ever stopped to think that this may be the direct result of a broken educational system that needs immediate reform? I mean think about it. Besides a few private schools in Haiti that urge students to cultivate critical thinking, how many others do you know of? How many people can get access to these top-notch schools?

Most Haitian contestants, when they think of preparation for international pageants they see physical training, wardrobe & make-up but rarely think of the intellectual part, or the public speaking part.

If you are among those who think that pageants are superficial and pointless, think again. I was one of you too until I became an insider and witnessed how much work it requires to make the top let alone win an international pageant.

Now my question to you is how do you think our queens can acquire critical thinking? How can they enhance their public speaking skills? How can they broaden their horizon and learn to answer the final questions with the utmost brilliance?

Chime in, and be part of the conversation by commenting below. The best answers will be featured in the next article.


* Jocelyn Firm is one the Haitian national directors. To discover what she has already accomplish in the pageant field, Click here.