YOU FORGOT YOUR UNDERWEAR

That weekend we were all whisked away to the Hilton Trinidad, paired up and placed in rooms. The hotel was the venue for the pageant. We rehearsed a lot during the day and had ample time to rest and pre prep at night. Then finally the day had come. The show was hectic. My designer, Brownie McFarlane was a gem and his team who helped dress me throughout the night were all angels. Brownie kept me confident and humble. He kept primping me every chance he got and kept holding my hand and whispering words of positivity.

The stage lights were hot and bright. There were cameras everywhere. I could see my family as I stood on the stage. My dad was my focal point. I'd just look directly at him when I felt nervous. My cousin Stella made a huge sign with the words "smile Tiva" written in bold and she held it up continuously throughout the show. Meanwhile, there was a lot of chaos happening backstage.

Rumors of fixing the show started making its rounds right before the interview segment. Delegates could be heard saying the pageant consultant told a few of his favorites what their interview question would be. Throughout the pre-pageant process, everyone thought I was a favorite and claimed bias against me, but that was not at all true.

Anyway, it was my interview moment and my question was the typical "How can we bring about world peace?". I remember part of my response mentioned peace needs to start with individuals and from there expand into the homes, communities, countries and the world. In the end, I secured the fourth runner-up place and though bittersweet, as everyone wants to win, it was still a proud moment.

After leaving the stage a couple of judges came up to me and said "We don't know what happened! You were leading. We are not sure how you didn't win." I just smiled and walked into the crowd to look for my friends and family who attended the show. The last thing I remember saying to them was, "Let's go home. I need to put on underwear!"

PS: Brownie chased after me shouting you forgot your underwear as I left the dressing room. In response, I shouted, "I have no time for underwear. I need to get to the stage now!"

  PHOTOGRAPHER: STEPHENSON WESTFIELD   WRITER: SUSZANNA CLARKE

CREDITS: SUSZANNA CLARKE & STEPHENSON WESTFIELD