Brains, beauty and a strong sense of purpose; that’s twenty-two year old Louise Victor. The former national carnival queen and recent graduate of Monroe College last Saturday October 21 walked away with the Miss Caribbean Tourism Organization queen pageant title following the competition which was held in St. Kitts. In fact, Saint Lucia has retained the title, having won the inaugural event last year with contestant Consuelo Dupal.
“This is one of the sweetest victories,” Louise told the STAR. “Why?” we asked. “Because I told myself that this was the last regional pageant I would participate in,” she says. “So I gave this my all, two hundred percent if there is such a thing,” she added. Next stop for her is the Miss Universe pageant.
Louise Victor took us on a short journey of her preparations for the CTO pageant. “I had just over a month to prepare after I was approached by franchise holder Janice Dupal of Lady J Pageant Coaching and Consulting Committee,” she told us. “I had to immediately start doing the gym, exercising and eating right,” she went on. Then came the fittings, her talent rehearsals with Melissa Giddens and practicing her ambassadorial speech. And then, just a few days after graduating from Monroe College, Louise boarded a flight to St. Kitts, confident that she would bring home the crown.
About the pageant the new CTO queen told the STAR that it is a great avenue to promote tourism. “This is the second year of this event and the organizers are really big on contestants promoting the tourism product in their respective countries. This year it was based more on sustainable tourism and approaching the tourism product from that perspective,” she explained. The questions on the night of the pageant were all based on sustainable tourism.
Last Saturday’s CTO pageant featured seven contestants. They participated in the ambassadorial wear and ambassadorial speech segment, swimwear, talent, evening wear and interview. In the end, despite not winning any of the individual categories, Louise Victor emerged winner over second place winner Miss Nevis. According to her what made the difference in her winning was that she was consistent throughout and adapted her talent, which was based on verbal abuse and domestic violence, to make it more palatable to the St. Kitts audience.
Despite being under immense pressure for the competition Louise says she enjoyed every bit of it.
So what now for the reigning queen and her new role as tourism ambassador? “I really want to advocate more towards sustainable tourism. I also think that the recent thrust by the Government here to set up the creative industries is very important. It is a great opportunity to connect it to heritage tourism and to push and develop our cultural heritage tourism program and using that to instill a sense of pride in our people,” she says. Louise also believes that the island’s French creole heritage gives it a unique advantage as a tourism product and says that the appeal must be highlighted more. “I also believe that in this regard more programs should be tailored towards our young people and I do plan on playing my part in promoting this,” she added.
With a degree in Business management and seven pageants under her belt, Louise says besides the Miss Universe pageant she is eyeing a Masters Degree in Fashion Marketing and Management and another in International relations. In the meantime, she wants to carry her new crown with pride, playing her part in making Saint Lucia and the region, the tourism mecca of the world, particularly when it comes to sustainable tourism and keeping the environment as pristine as possible.