Miss Universe TT Tya Jane Ramey returned home on Saturday and said her journey in the Miss Universe pageant has "emboldened" her in a way that she hopes everyone gets to pilgrim to their own purpose.
She was speaking to the media at Piarco International Airport after returning from New Orleans, United States. She was embraced by her mother, grandmother and her MP Marvin Gonzales upon landing.
As she left the airport, she was greeted by performers playing tassa, drums and dancers, there were also banners made by her family congratulating her on her achievement. She even danced with the dancers as she exited the airport.
While addressing the media at the VIP Lounge, she described the journey as unique and was grateful for the support from the country, her family, local franchise holders Crowns and Sashes, government ministers, sponsors and members of the media.
She said being Miss Universe TT comes with its own purpose and ambassadorship role.
“As I come to the end of my pageant journey it seems, some may contest that, I’m glad that TT’s name is fresh on the lips of people around the world who previously could not even identify where our twin island was on a map. I rejoice on the impact that our presence on the international stage has had in shifting the stigma of excellence and excellence is not congruent with people who come from small places.”
Ramey said she prays that if there is a legacy that she has to leave that it should be this. She said she hopes her achievement can be a symbol of hope for those who were told that they were not enough.
“I hope that my representation is an admission slip for those who feel unseen and unheard so that they can embrace their tragedies as being raised in a broken home, a child of an incarcerated parent, as being a survivor of abuse or living with mental health issues that you can convert this into the greatness that you have. So that when people ask, ‘Who yuh think yuh is?’ that you tell them your name and you tell them boldly and proudly that your name is Trinidad and Tobago.”
Ramey placed 16th in the competition which was held at New Orleans Ernest N Morial Convention Centre on January 14. The organisers said Ramey broke a 17-year spell by placing TT back in the running.
Miss Universe competition began in 1952 and seeks to celebrate all cultures, backgrounds and religions. Miss USA R'Bonney Gabriel was crowned Miss Universe 2023.
Two TT nationals have won the competition before. In 1977, Janelle Penny Commissiong copped the crown and in 1998 Wendy Fitzwilliam brought home the title.