Venezuelan National Wins Miss Grand T&T Beauty Pageant

(TT GUARDIAN) – News of a Venezuelan national winning the Miss Grand T&T beauty pageant on Sunday has sparked controversy on social media.

Mileidy Materano, of Diego Martin, was crowned winner at the end of the pageant, which was held at the Banquet and Conference Centre, MovieTowne, Invaders Bay, Port-of-Spain.

Guardian Media was told that Materano was born in Venezuela and has been living in T&T for over five years.

She is said to be a businesswoman and model and recently appeared in public as “Barbie” during the hype of the premiere of the Barbie movie in T&T.

Materano was one of 15 finalists selected for the competition on July 23 but was only revealed in the Grand Reveal Ceremony on August 6 at the Luna Restaurant at the Falls (West Mall) in Port-of-Spain.

Having been crowned, Materano will represent T&T at the Miss Grand International 2023 competition in Vietnam in October.

Speaking with the Guardian Media yesterday, head of the Marketing and Public Relations team for the pageant, Kerry Goberdhan, said Grand International, along with its organiser Stolen Productions Limited (SPL Pageants), will not be releasing any information as yet regarding Materano being crowned and the pageant’s rules and guidelines with respect to who can enter the competition.

Goberdhan said their attorneys were working on an official, “legal” release and not until all contracts are signed with Materano will a finalised media release be issued.

He also noted that there will be a live interview with Materano, where members of the media will be invited to attend and question her.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan activists Yesenia Gonzalez and Sofia Figueroa-Leon, when contacted, both extended congratulations to Materano.

However, many social media users criticised the organisers for allowing Materano to not only enter in the first place but to also crown her winner.

Sunil Singh took to Facebook to post, “This is an insult to our local women. Too much bandwagonist hungry man over here!! This is not about looks, this is about patriotism and country. It is an insult to the thousands of beautiful Trinidadian and Tobago women. You think any Trinidadian man or woman could go to Venezuela and win any beauty pageant competition?? Set a blasted sellouts.”

Another post by Sonia Verderame stated that “All women are beautiful. However, she does not represent Trinidad women. Our women are educated, vivacious, glamorous, sophisticated and independent.”

Another poster said, “If she is allowed to enter, then she should be able to win.”

Gerad Nagassar wrote: “Any race can be Trini, but she is not Trinbagonian. Such a disgrace. On the other hand, in sport you don’t have to be Trini or living in T&T to represent our twin island internationally, but only have Trini roots. She at least living in Trinidad. My thoughts is if you can’t vote in general elections then you not supposed to be able to represent T&T in anything.”