What does it mean to be a modern woman?
To me, a modern woman opposes the unequal gender roles which have dominated our world for centuries. Some might say that participating in this pageant leads to our objectification. I feel, however, that the crown for which we are competing affords one of us the influence and prestige to better bring change in the world. We can use its potency altruistically. A modern woman recognizes and nurtures her strength, while acting with sensibility, sincerity, and empathy to advance her causes.
When does a girl become a woman?
A girl becomes a woman when she becomes self-aware, aware of her beauty, intelligence, and power. Her womanhood grows as she learns how to use these elements to enrich and improve the world around her. Some may do their woman’s work within a family, others in a business, and still others in society at large. Individual experiences vary, but a woman, unlike a girl, understands the need to polish herself morally, intellectually, physically, and emotionally so that she can support the people and things that are dear to her.
How do you handle disappointment?
I handle disappointment on a very spiritual level. Napoleon said one defeat is worth 1,000 victories. Every setback is a lesson. The main antidote to disappointment is determination. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again. As long as one keeps the long arc of life in mind, any disappointment becomes educational, not demoralizing. So I stay focussed and positive.
What's been a picture-perfect moment in your life?
My unforgettable picture-perfect moment was my family’s reuniting with my father in New York after 18 years of separation. Having grown up in rural Haiti, I was awestruck by the twinkling sea of light that New York City displayed as we flew into Kennedy Airport. My mother, sister, and I were all overjoyed to finally be with my papa, who had lived almost two decades completely alone while supporting us. I remember the laughter around the table, the scents of our new apartment, and the flood of new sights, sounds, and customs of New York City. It was a magical moment, which warms my heart and soul when I travel back to it in my mind.
How do you handle stress and pressure?
To handle stress and pressure, I begin by breathing deeply. Then I try to analyze what may have triggered the stress and pressure on me. Once I identify the causes, I strategize a way to minimize the effects on my emotional and physical state. I also meditate to calm my mind and my muscles. I find meditation to be very helpful in handling stress and pressure, both physically and spiritually. Above all, I do not put blame on other parties that may somehow be connected to the occurrence of the stress and pressure. That creates a vicious circle of anger and recrimination which only fuels more stress. I seek peace and harmony with others and with my surroundings.