Fraites heads to Hibiscus International

POSTED: 11/26/12 2:27 PM

GREAT BAY- St. Maarten Caraibes Hibiscus queen Stephanie Fraites will meet her competitors tomorrow for the first time, as she prepares to represent the island in the prestigious Miss Caraibes Hibiscus International Pageant set for December 8.

Fraites will grace the stage of Casino Royale in Maho. It will be familiar territory for the young woman who works as a guest experience agent for the Sonesta Maho Resort. The Dutch Quarter native plans to bring her wit, intelligence, unique sense of style and knowledge of the island to wow the crowd and impress the judges. She is far from prepared logistically, though, as she is still seeking sponsorship for the preliminary and main events. But she has assured that like all other pursuits in life, she will give this one her best shot.
Fraites said that her life’s ambition is to become an accountant. “I am working to make money to go away and further my studies. Personally, I like to do stuff on my own and not ask people.” A graduate of the Dr. Martin Luther King Primary school and Milton Peters College, Fraites said that she was motivated to enter the pageantry arena to gain experience and acquire social graces. It’s an inspiring transformation for Fraites who once would be considered the proverbial tomboy to now count stilettos as part of her outfit.

“I am adventurous and when I heard about the pageant I decided to give it a try. My mind wasn’t even on the crown, it was just experience. So when I won it was very shocking because everytime I went on stage, I told myself that I was at home, no one is around and I am just strolling along,” Fraites said with a laugh.

Heading into the international pageant where she will compete against 24 contestants, Fraites finds comfort in her smaller victory and humility. “I tell myself if I used that strategy in the smaller pageant and ended up winning, what will happen if I actually put my mind to winning this big one. The sky would be the limit. Once I put my mind to something anything is possible.” The beauty queen also says that she is not over confident but neither is she nervous, especially since she will be parading in front of her home crowd. “This is my island and I am at home. Most of the audience will be from here so the support will push me even more. I am already saying to myself that I need to make my people proud. Don’t think about the girls at the back or what they are bringing to the event. Some of them eat, sleep and breathe pageantry, I eat food, sleep and breathe air. But I am at home and I will lead from the front, not the back.” Without giving away too much of her winning strategy, Fraites said shared with us apart of her plan to gain and maintain a competitive edge throughout the pageant. “I will be myself. I am a confident young lady and I like to make people smile. I will be real friendly with the girls so that they can be comfortable around me. They should be able to come to me for anything.” It is a strategy that has worked before. Fraites gained the Ms. Amity prize in the local Hibiscus Pageant for always being congenial and compassionate. She credits her success to her parents, Clive Arrindell and Linda Fraites-Ratchel (motivators), Lavinia Marsham (chaperone and public speaking coach) and Ketty Courage (choreographer and personality coach). Fraites said that even though her short term goal is to win the pageant, she does not foresee herself advancing beyond the Casino Royale stage, the pageant venue.

“Pageantry will not pay my bills,” she reasons, adding that her ultimate goal is to further her studies. “This is like a hobby right now. I want to win but pageantry is not my main focus. When I finish my studies and a next pageant comes around then perhaps I may enter.” The twenty year old also shared some advice with other young women who are desirous of participating in a local contest. “Pageantry changes you, especially if you were a tomboy like me, it changes you into a complete young lady. You learn a lot and meet many people.”

We ended our interview with Fraites urging the entire community to come out and support her on December 8. She also thanked Scotiabank’s Fabian Louis, Tell-a-Friend Salon, Pineapple Pete, Bhoolchands and Honey Bunny for sponsoring her during the St. Maarten Caraibes Hibiscus Pageant that was held two Saturdays ago.

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