Twenty years ago, Wendy Fitzwilliam captured the Miss Universe title in Hawaii. She is the second woman from Trinidad and Tobago to win the coveted title after Janelle “Penny” Commissiong.
Wendy, as she is affectionately known, continues to be in the limelight. She is a qualified attorney, actress, model, singer, and radio and television host. She is also involved in charitable and development work across the region and currently produces Caribbean’s Next Top Model.
So impactful was her victory in 1998 that the next year the Basdeo Panday-led administration agreed to host the Miss Universe show in Chaguaramas in Trinidad following discussions with the then pageant owner now US President Donald Trump. That show too was eventful as it saw another black woman, Mpule Kwelagobe from Botswana winning the title. She was crowed by Fitzwilliam.
Yesterday, designer Peter Elias posted congratulations on his Facebook page
“An uphill journey of will, love and prayer all for country...Abundantly proud of your achievement and the woman you remain today.”
A fan wrote: “Wendy Fitzwilliam is such a classy lady ...what else can I say, beauty and brains.”
And another wrote: “Beautiful and wonderful Role model. I love my sweet T&T.”
On May 12, 1998 at age 25, Wendy participated in the Miss Universe pageant held at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. She beat off challenges from several other finalists and emerged winner that evening with her regal air and perfect evening gown presentation.
Her win came 21 years after Penny, the first Miss Universe of African heritage, captured the crown in 1977.