Mar. 30 marked a new era for a New Queen for the Caribbean Students Association (CSA) as they crowned their pageant winner, Thalia Muñoz, the winner of their pageant entitled, “ Pearls of the Caribbean.” She represented her country Cuba, which ironically is nicknamed the “Pearl of the Antilles.” Monet Lewis was last year’s Ms. SLU CSA Queen.
CSA, this year, had their first competition for their pageant in order for the students to have their say in who would represent them in the Miss Florida CSA competition. This year there was three contestant, Lyzandra Serrano, Miss Puerto Rico, Thalia Muñoz, Miss Cuba and Shantanna Higgs, Miss Bahamas. For the competition they had to go through vigorous training for their big day in order to come out on top. They had to have the perfect walk, a culture piece, a talent piece, and just the right answer to the question, which would be the deciding factor of their faith.
“Initially [I] wasn’t trying to join it but then Melissa, the events coordinator, had problems finding girls to participate so I decided to help out a friend,” Muñoz, the new reigning SLU CSA Queen explained.
She help out a friend out of the goodness of her heart and was able to steal the hearts of the judges and the audience. However, with her reason for entering, what made her remain and do her best in the competition?
“Since I wanted to help her [Melissa] because she has helped me before so I just wanted to be there for her so anything that she needed I would pull through it, give it my all and help her out,” said Muñoz.
The night first started out with prayer, which was used to calm the contestants’ hearts before strutting their legs with exuberant confidence. Throughout the night, there were PowerPoints on the screen for the photoshoot of each contestant to set the mood. This reminded the audience of each competitor. There was also entertainment. The Slam Poetry club performed two pieces, which made each person embraced who they and what they represented as their tones were reassuring along with their poetic rhymes. The CSA Dancers also performed two items corresponding to their Caribbean Team. For a group that was formed in this academic school year, their movement was on beat and sharp.
For the rest of the night, each competitor made their mark from their intelligent response to their questions to their talent pieces, which were all dances from their respective cultures. As the judges tallied up the score, Dancehall was playing within the Selby Auditorium to lighten the mood. The audience began to dance the popular island dances creating a scene, which drew out the tension of everyone including the contestants as people went on stage to advertise their best dance moves.
The sectional prizes were first announced before the winner. Serrano, Miss Puerto Rico and 2nd runner-up, received Ms. Congeniality. Higgs, Miss Bahamas and first runner-up, received the Miss Photogenic sectional prize while the reigning Queen, Muñoz, Miss Cuba, received Campus Choice, Best Talent, and Best Gown as her sectional prize.
Muñoz will now represent Saint Leo in the Florida CSA pageant on Apr. 8.
“I am about to go over there and represent Saint Leo and the Lioness Dance Team who is helping me with my talent piece. We have to go in strong and take home the trophy,” Muñoz said.
Muñoz’s family and friends were her biggest inspiration as they voted and got votes for the “Campus Choice” award.
“At the end of the pageant, because I am Hispanic, we have the Nuestra Belleza Latina (Our Latin beauty) contest, which includes all the countries of Latin America and Spanish countries. It’s something we usually watch on TV. This pageant was like that of my grandmother, my dad, and all my family because when I told them they started crying.”
Even though she entered the pageant to help a friend, she ended but being victorious in just that and will be representing the University in a statewide competition.