In her second statement for the week, Miss World Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) representative 2021 Jeanine Brandt yesterday admitted that she could have articulated her statement on poverty better.
“My intention was not to sensationalise any level of poverty in Trinidad and Tobago,” she wrote.
At the competition’s presentation for the Beauty with a Purpose project, Brandt spoke about the living conditions of thousands.
Circumstances she said she discovered while working with her Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) the Brandt Beauty Foundation. A clip of her speech was posted to social media on Monday.
“Little girls sleep on the cold ground in makeshift homes, they have no access to running water, electricity,” Brandt said during her presentation.
But these words did not sit well with many people, who believe the beauty queen misrepresented this country. They posted their disappointment on social media.
“Did she get her information from Nickipedia (Nicki Minaj),” one person asked on Twitter.
Some said while Brandt’s statements may have been accurate they should have been presented better.
“People do live in these conditions but the way it was presented suggested it’s the majority and it’s clearly not,” another Twitter user said.
Former Miss World/Universe franchise coach Adrian Raymond agreed, as he said Brandt’s speech lacked balance and that was where proper guidance was needed.
“Certainly identifying the fact that we offer free healthcare, we offer free education…and if you put that within the context and say even so, no system is infallible, every system has its weak points and there were some people or children that slipped through the cracks,” he explained.
Raymond said Brandt spoke in generalisations and that was what people had an issue with. He said once someone is wearing that T&T sash, they are representing the country, its culture and its people to a global audience. The topic, he said, was something she had enough time to prepare and execute in two minutes.
“You want to present the country in the best possible light if you can… While no country is perfect, I think there is a way to present it,” he added.
But former Miss World 2014 contestant Sarah Jane Waddle said Brandt already did that on the platform that required it and her Beauty with a Purpose presentation highlighted exactly what that platform required.
“Her submission was very much consistent with what everybody else is submitting, this is a space where no country is being judged because the Band-aid is being ripped off on every country’s trials and tribulations on things they don’t want to talk about,” she said.
Waddle said people don’t understand the Miss World competition, which she described as the hardest in the world. She said Beauty with Purpose wants the models to get their hands dirty and Brandt spoke based on experience.
“I don’t think she was talking about things she didn’t actually see,” she said.
She does not believe Brandt deserves to be bashed, especially with all the work she did and continues to do.
“For this to be a reason to trash the girl who went on to build a home for a family of seven, she built an entire hydroponics system, she did a solar panel, she did a national sanitary pad campaign, to trash this girl because you were a little unhappy with her wording …,” Waddle said.
2009 Miss World representative Ashanna Arthur agreed. She said she could understand people’s concern with the wording but cannot connect with the passion people are feeling about this issue.
“My thoughts were, ‘The statistic that she gave, is it true? Are there in fact thousands of children living in poverty in T& T?” If this is true, I personally am not really very upset about her answer,” she told said via Instagram.
She said she doesn’t believe Brandt’s statements were meant to be malicious.
Waddle and Raymond described Brandt as an eager, sweet, patriotic woman who will learn and grow from this experience.
“It did offend many people and she should apologise,” Raymond said.
The former coach said this should be a lesson to all young women hoping to represent T&T and advised Brandt to shut off social media and remember who she is by leaning on people who know the real her.
“She’s a great young lady… it was just a slip,” Raymond added.
Brandt will represent this country in the 2021 Miss World Competition in March.