Post pageant, Fraites sorely disappointed

POSTED: 11/25/12 8:17 PM

St. Maarten – Still reeling from her win last Saturday night of the Miss St. Maarten Caraibes Hibiscus crown, twenty year old Stephanie Fraites, now feels that her victory is bittersweet. The Dutch Quarter native is expected to represent the island against 24 international contestants on December 8 for the 22nd annual Miss Caraibes Hibiscus pageant.
“I haven’t started preparing; I haven’t really gotten anything as yet. From my point of view I felt that if I won the Miss Caraibes Hibiscus crown, then St. Maarten would have seen me as an ambassador. I thought from then on government or someone else would help me because they want St. Maarten at the top. But nobody is helping me,” the new queen said.
A frustrated Fraites told Today that she looks forward to bringing the prestigious crown to St. Maarten but fears that those who did not share in her struggles would then want to share in her glory.
“I feel as if I win and place St. Maarten on the top, then all of the major people will probably get all the props and be recognized with me. Tempo came to St. Maarten, the government is helping them, everything that comes to St. Maarten gets support. What about the locals, the people that really want to put St. Maarten on the top? Help us, I feel so frustrated.”
When Today spoke with the young woman, she was in the company of her mother Linda Ratchel. Her mother could barely hold back tears as Fraites recounted the transformation that she underwent to gain the crown and the struggles she faces today.
Ratchel said that St. Maarten should “step up and help out. People are coming here and Tuesday she is going into the hotel. We need her to be set and ready. It is our thing; let’s make St. Maarten people proud.”
The new queen said that along with local franchise holder Ann Meyers, she visited several agencies seeking sponsorship but has not received any positive response to date. Delegates for the international pageant will start arriving on the island on Tuesday.
“I am the type of girl that wears jeans and t-shirts but for this I have to look elegant all the time. All of the other girls that are coming here will be representing their nations to the highest. We will have many appearances as of Tuesday and I have to be fully attired for all events. I have not even heard from the Culture Ministry. Saturday everyone was happy for me, congratulating me and even took pictures. They kept saying keep the crown for the big pageant in St. Maarten. But now I don’t know why they are treating me this way.”
She explained that for the smaller pageant she self-sponsored most of her wardrobe. She prides herself on being independent, free spirited and hardworking young woman who always achieves whatever goals she sets for herself.
With an infectious laugh and sassy personality, Fraites said that she wants to send one message to all those who will visit Casino Royale, the venue of the international contest.
“We are the Caribbean. When people visit St. Maarten they just want to go to the beach or casinos. I will continue to promote that St .Maarten should not be valued for its sun, sea and sand only. People have to look at the cultural aspects of our island as well. We are a small dot on the map, but we represent the Caribbean. All I am thinking about is going out there and making my people proud.”
For people interested in assisting Fraites, she can be reached on 550-8892 or her mother on 550-4566.
Today will publish more of its interview with Fraites and her thoughts going into the Miss Caraibes Hibiscus pageant in our Monday November 26 issue.

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