THE tragic death in 2015 of Chanda La Touche’s father, Gerald La Touche, made her realise life was too short to do anything else but live. This is a chief reason for her entry to the Miss TT World competition.
Growing up, the Diego Martin resident always wanted to be a part of the competition.
“Growing up I would be watching the pageant and I would fantasize about being on the stage and answering the questions. I knew I was good at answering questions and talking.”
But whenever the local screening came up, the 26-year-old would find some reason not to attend.
Her father’s death in a car accident was a reality check for La Touche.
“When my dad left home that morning he had no idea he was going to die. I spoke to him the night before and sadly our last conversation was like a little argument.
“Nothing serious but I had no idea that would be the last conversation I would have with my father.
“It made me realise life is too short not to live good,” she said to Newsday in a phone interview.
This year would have been the last time she could enter the competition and so with the encouragement of friends and family she decided to enter.
She was screened on March 7 and selected as a finalist at the end of March.
Her natural desire to help people and be of service was another reason to enter.
La Touche is interested in international relations, foreign affairs and current affairs. She has a bachelors in international relations and she is completing a masters in global studies.
She believes competitions like Miss World and Miss Universe provide a positive platform for women to amplify their voices.
For her, these competitions are still relevant. Social media and social presence are so important and these platforms allow women to become people of influence, she said.
“People are influenced by you. They look to you. They look at you and what you do. I believe the Miss World and Miss Universe are positive platforms as they deal with issues that are humanitarian in nature.”
She doesn’t think the competition informs negative beauty constructs or concepts as “beauty is so subjective.
“Who is to say what beauty is. To me anyone can go up for Miss World or Miss Universe...to me there is no standard of beauty.”
A component of the competition is the Beauty with a Purpose Initiative.
La Touche’s initiative is called Project HOPE and with HOPE standing for Harnessing Optimism, Projecting Excellence.
In that project she wants to assist in improving the Cyril Ross Nursery, Tunapuna. The home treats children with HIV/Aids.
She is going to start her work at the home on August 15.
“I sit as the TT youth representative on the National Aids Coordinating Committee (NACC) so me being exposed to Cyril Nursery is not today with Miss World. It would have stemmed from my work on the NACC.”
She has a genuine interest in the children and wants to continue her work with the nursery beyond her Miss TT journey.
La Touche will begin by improving the nursery’s physical space and then hopes to introduce cultural and agricultural programmes among others to the children. She hopes to become an ambassador for TT given her love for people and country.