Cullturally crowned

For the first annual Miss Latina 2009 pageant, contestants didn’t have to be Hispanic to participate.

Out of five contestants, Chantel Romero, a psychobiology major from the Dominican Republic, took home the crown and title of Miss Latina.

The pageant took place on Oct. 1 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. in the Grand Palm Room in the Student Union on the Boca campus. About 100 people came to support the contestants.
The Miss Latina 2009 pageant was hosted by both Black Student Union Multicultural Programming (BSUMP) and the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS).

According to Kerri-Ann Nesbeth, director of BSUMP, being Latina is not only about having Hispanic origins, but it’s also a way of life and being culturally aware of other countries surrounding them.

To qualify for the pageant, 10 students filled out a survey loaded with questions regarding Latin lifestyle, but five ended up dropping out of the competition after realizing they had schedule conflicts.

Chantel Romero, Tatiana Rua, Elieth Carrillo, Marcelle Aquino and Danielle Case were the five students left competing for the crown.

Each pageant contestant represented a certain country.  Romero and Aquino both represented the Dominican Republic, Rua and Carrillo for Colombia, and Case represented Jamaica.

At the pageant, Case acknowledged the fact that she wasn’t born in a Latin country, but said that she still feels like a Latina because she recognizes other cultures than her own.

The pageant was separated into five categories: talent, cultural, sleepwear, formal wear and an interview session.

For the talent competition, Romero did a contemporary dance to Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek.”

Rua and Carrillo both performed a Latin ballroom dance, while Aquino did a belly dance and Case performed on cymbals with her bandmates from the FAU drum line.

During the culture category, the contestants wore outfits that represented their different cultures. Carrillo was dressed in a soccer uniform as a representation of the major sport in Colombia.

According to Nesbeth, sleepwear was substituted for swimwear because it made the competition more lighthearted and fun. All the contestants wore pajama pants and fuzzy slippers and carried stuffed animals to represent this segment of the competition.

Toward the end of the night, Brittany Bonner, winner of the Miss Omega Psi Phi 2009 pageant, crowned Romero as the winner. She was given a yellow sash and received a gift bag that included two tickets to the Freaker’s Ball concert held at FAU as her winning prize.

First runner-up was Aquino, 20, an international business major and communication minor, and second runner-up was Carrillo, an international business major and foreign language minor.

As Miss Latina 2009, Romero will be expected to appear at other cultural events during the year, including events hosted by ALAS that celebrate Judaism, Native Americans and Black History Month.