Miss Union Village Ameika Shadea Cleopatra Louis is hopeful of representing this country in Miss World 2020 to bring about "fundamental positive change" to her community. The Miss World finals will be held in December in Bangkok, Thailand.
Louis, 26, an entrepreneur in the fields of dance and cultural arts, will compete in the Miss World TT pageant in September.
Speaking to Newsday on Wednesday, Louis said the competition is not just about looks but beauty with a purpose.
She said, “My reason for choosing the Miss World Pageant was that core idea of beauty with a purpose. I saw it as an opportunity to further my passion for human development through arts and sociology, with a greater reach and influence, no different from a position in the Caricom or UN Youth arm for instance. Except in pageants, I get to also be an all-round ambassador for my village, island and country.”
Beauty with a purpose, she said, is her Miss World TT project which she aims to develop and use beyond this pageant.
“It is a programme geared towards the empowerment and rehabilitation of vulnerable youth through their involvement in folk and cultural arts. This project harnesses the positive and useful lessons of our history and heritage to educate and form a foundation for the bettering of our present and, by extension, a better chance for future. We will use the safe space of art to facilitate the more difficult conversations around social topics such as crime and violence, sexuality and mental health to name a few. I hope to start with youth in my very community of Tobago to bring about this fundamental positive change.”
Louis has a passion for dancing and fitness, and through the formation of Dance Fitness Tobago group and Ile Dingolay Movement Studio, fitness enthusiasts, dancers and fun lovers have an avenue to express themselves.
Louis is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, Mona campus with a BSc in sociology, having previously attended Scarborough Roman Catholic Primary School and Bishop's High School.
“I enjoy reading, puzzles, stilt walking, fire breathing, and hiking,” she said.
A Tobagonian by birth, Louis boasted of the island’s rich presence of traditional culture, which she said can still be seen in daily life, even as globalisation has its effects.
“Our dialect, to our food, our seine pulling and even the hand games that children still play at school.”
Louis is no stranger to beauty pageants as she previously won the Bishop's High School Nostalgia 2011 and the Miss UWI Mona in 2015, while in 2014 she was in the top five in the Miss Heritage Personality.
She said she has always seen herself as a representative of Tobago whether it be in online forums, travelling as a performer or now in this pageant.
“It is always a humbling experience and somewhat feels like a duty to the Tobago of present, past, and future, this sort of keeps me on my toes about how I present myself.”
Louis said she was motivated to enter the pageant by her aunts Lois and Lola Louis whom she views as role models.
She recalls working with the Quilt Performing Arts Company of Jamaica and supporting Miss World Jamaica 2015 Dr Sanneta Myrie, which gave her the confidence to get involved.
“After my experience in the Miss UWI Mona pageant, I would’ve started researching and considering this as a reality for myself.”
She is looking forward to learning new lessons, making memories, connecting with other minds, and making a positive impact in this world – “however big or small.”
Louis is extremely confident and her mind is already racing "to prepare me for my dream of being on that world stage later this year with the fellow national Miss Worlds from across the globe. I’ve even imagined myself sitting with Miss World chairman Julia Morley planning out my year of philanthropy.”
She noted that the support she has been receiving from other Tobagonians, close family, and friends has been overwhelming.
She credits her outlook on how she was raised.
"I have been privileged to have been raised with a well-rounded view of the world and its population – my multi-talentedness, my open mind, and my readiness to adapt and always working hard.”
Asked about the recent online smear campaign on Miss Marabella through a photoshopped Twitter post, Louis declined comment.
“I would love to see a global community where our talents can be used towards more constructive and positive building than the negativity that seems to entertain and hold our focus,” she said.