21 year old Janelle Fraser was crowned Miss Trinidad and Tobago UK on 22nd September, and Soca News was granted an audience with the new Queen of Beauty at the start of her twelve month reign. It turns out that 2012 has been a momentous year; what with graduating from university, turning 21 and now this, the young beauty has quite a bit going on.
Did you always want to be a beauty queen?
I went to the show in 2006, but I was still in school then. I looked at the girls and thought, ‘They’re not just beauty queens; they have jobs, they have degrees.’ I thought, ‘There’s no harm in doing it.’ When I applied in April 2012, I was finishing my third year at university. I filled out my application whilst finishing off my dissertation. I was like, ‘Let’s see how it goes!’ I did it for the fun of it, really.
What did you enjoy most about being in the pageant?
The other contestants and I have all become such good friends. I loved learning new things about Trinidad the most. For me, it was about taking on something new.
And what did you find most challenging?
The working week would be busy, and then you had to attend rehearsals on the weekends. We also went to the gym and spent time with a trainer. Oh boy, that would kill me! You wake up Monday morning and you’re like, ‘Ouch!’
Did you ever feel in danger of not winning the competition?
I was thinking, ‘Just have fun and enjoy yourself, not “Janelle win this!”’ I would have been so happy for any of the girls to win. I was nervous. I kept telling myself, ‘Just be confident, and hopefully the audience would pick up on that.’
Were you surprised when you won?
Yes. It was really funny because they didn’t say my name. They said my area, Miss Maracas Valley. So I heard it but I wasn’t listening for it. I was like, ‘Oh!’
What was your shining moment?
I got asked, ‘If David Cameron was to learn anything from Trinidad, what would it be?’ I answered that, like Britain, Trinidad and Tobago is multi-cultural; we have different races, religions and cultures, but when it comes down to it, we really are as one nation. The motto on our national crest reads ‘Together we aspire, Together we achieve’. I felt so proud to say that. If Britain was like that, we wouldn’t have a lot of things that we see happening. I thought of Carnival, the biggest event in the Trinidadian calendar: we don’t see it being cancelled because of riots or policing behaviour, and that kind of thing. We get on. I think we’re a lot less segregated in Trinidad than we are in the UK.
So what does being Miss TnT UK actually involve? What happens from here on?
Well, it’s been a week now, and I’ve had two interviews and a photo shoot, plus others lined up for next week. It’s great to get this experience, so I’ll make the most of it and make my country and the UK Trinis proud. Next week, I’ll be at the Spirit of London awards. They work with young people. That’s something really close to my heart. Every young person, not just young girls, but young men as well, needs understanding about the importance of education. Yesterday, my little cousin told me, ‘I got an award for being most hardworking at school.’ I got my crown and said to her, ‘Continue working hard, that’s how you get one of these!’ I want to be an inspiration to the young generation, so anything that I can do to help, that’s what I want to do.
What are your plans when the 12 months are up?
I work for an urban music events company hosting monthly events, and I’m co-ordinator there so it’s very busy. My degree is in media communications and psychology, so I just want to expand on that, getting more involved in the music industry. Possibly do some journalism. This year I’m learning how to play pan. Pass my driving test!