Haiti is preparing to participate in the Miss Universe pageant for the first time in 22 years.
Magali Febles, former director of Miss Puerto Rico, believed that one of the ways for Haiti to rebound from the earthquake’s devastation was to celebrate the beauty and grace of the people of Haiti. She moved to organize the Miss Haiti pageant and send a candidate to the Miss Universe event in Las Vegas. In a modest event, without sponsors Sarodj Bertin was crowned as Miss Haiti. She didn’t even get a bouquet of flowers.
Ms. Bertin is a 24-year-old lawyer who speaks four languages and recently returned to Haiti after living in exile in the Dominican Republic. She returned to help in the rebuilding of her cherished nation, to help lead Haiti to better times, to more peaceful times.
Flying into Las Vegas from Miami, Bertin faced a new challenge, albeit a minor one in comparison to her past. Her luggage was lost. She lost clothing, shoes, and accessories; all meant to be used in her pageant preparations, to meet the judges and wow them toward a win. However, in the same collective spirit that is helping Haiti rebuild, Miss Haiti has received gifts and loaners from fellow contestants and many other supporters, ending up with more items and accessories than she had packed to bring with her.