Miss Universe

Venezuelan Beauty Maria Wilkes is ready to compete at Miss Universe Great Britain 2017

She wants to break the stereotype and offer an alternative view to those who believe that beauty pageants are degrading. In July Maria Wilkes will compete in the Miss Universe Great Britain finals. 

The winner of the national pageant will have the opportunity to represent her country at Miss Universe 2017 later this year. Lets know a little more about Maria through this interview!

Congratulations on being one of the finalists of Miss Universe Great Britain this year. How do you feel?

Thank you so much. I am amazed and very proud to have made it this far, as this is my first ever pageant. This means so much to me as I always lacked the confidence to enter in previous years. Now that I have grown to appreciate every part of myself and know who I am as a person, I feel ready to be here.

maria wilkes miss
Tell me something about yourself and your work. What do you actually do, and have done in the past?

Something about me… I am trilingual. This is probably my strongest trait as it has helped me to see the world in a different way and understand myself better. It has allowed me to access and understand different cultures, establish deep connections and cross-cultural friendships. I am also a languages teacher at an all-girls school and I teach French, Spanish and German. I think everyone should try and master one other language in their lifetime and this is what led me to become a languages teacher. It is important that we remain open to multiculturalism and make the most of the opportunities our world has to offer, and not be limited to just our own culture. I hold a university degree in Foreign Languages and Literature, a post-graduate degree in Education and a certificate in teaching English as a foreign language. I am absolutely dedicated in my mission to empower young women beyond the classroom, and Miss Universe is the perfect platform to do just that.

You're venezuelan, In a nation that calls itself the beauty-queen capital of the world (Under the direction of Osmel Sousa Venezuela has accumulated more international pageant titles than any other country). What do you think about the pressure of being a beauty queen ?

I think a beauty queen is someone who thrives under pressure and revels in the challenge of having that title bestowed upon them. I am definitely someone who does their best work when the stakes are high, and having Venezuelan heritage means that there are certain expectations to be of the highest possible calibre.

However, I am proud to be British and I am in this race to represent Great Britain on the Miss Universe stage. I aim to be the first ever British Miss Universe and that means competing against the best of every nation, having that Latina spirit will give me the confidence I need to do this.

What is your definition of beauty?

Beauty comes from within. It is the aspiration to embrace and love every part of yourself whilst striving to appreciate all aspects of others as well. Considering and appreciating ones own ‘beauty’ is the first step in empowering someone else to appreciate theirs. Someone who is truly beautiful worries very little about their physical beauty, despite themselves being beautiful and instead seeks to inspire others. 

Social media seem to play a major role in pageantry nowadays. Do you think this is advantageous to you? Why or why not?

I think it is important to appreciate that social media is very much a picture of how someone wants to be perceived and not a direct reflection of reality. I say a picture; because everyone is going to draw his or her own conclusions about what they see online. I try to uphold my own personal values on my social media, which I believe come across in a positive way and therefore, I think this is advantageous. Social media is also valuable, for any business or organisation looking to reach newer audiences. When used correctly, it is the perfect vehicle to do so. 

Some people think that beauty pageants like Miss Universe are degrading to women. Convince them that they are wrong.

I have already come up against similar opinions. If anything, I feel it is the total opposite. Telling women what they can and cannot be a part of and how they may or may not present their bodies is limiting and archaic. When people first admired women for their beauty, this was the only way they were being admired. However, now it is our prerogative as women to explore every avenue we wish to be appreciated in. 

maria miss great britain

I am empowered. I have spent the first part of my life exploring academia and testing my intellect. It is fully in my control how I wish to explore other parts of myself and I am fortunate enough to be able to make a very educated decision about how I wish to live my life. 

The end goal for me would be to become an ambassador and representative for Great Britain. Becoming Miss Universe Great Britain would enable me to break the stereotype and offer an alternative view to those who believe that beauty pageants are degrading.

Your favorite beauty queen?

My favourite beauty queen is Miss Universe 2008, Dayana Mendoza. I remember watching the finals for the first time when I was 18. I was blown away by her ability to step onto a world stage, in front of the thousands of people watching, and portray such radiant confidence. It was mesmerising and it kick-started my first steps into learning how to appreciate myself, and with that, my own self worth started to grow. 

dayana mendoza miss universe

Dayana Mendoza became the first winner of the pageant from Venezuela since Miss Universe 1996's winner Alicia Machado, thus making her the first Venezuelan Miss Universe in the 21st century.

Thanks to the beautiful Maria for the interview. Pageants News wishes you all the very best for Miss Universe Great Britain 2017 pageant.