If anyone says that you have to be 5'8 to be successful in pageantry, tell them "You're Wrong." They are most definitely mistaken, and Yaira continues to prove that. Standing at just 4'9, she has never been the "traditional" pageant queen, but that has not stopped her. Her beauty, talent and intelligence make her at least 6'5 in any room. Yaira should not only be an inspiration to those like herself, but any girl that is different, any girl that was told that she was not physically acceptable to be successful in the world of pageantry. As a former St. Croix festival queen and a former contestant of the Miss Virgin Islands Scholarship pageant, she has proven that big things come in small packages. So, I'm very pleased to present my third featured queen, Yaira Bermudez. Enjoy!
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Yaira Bermudez, 23 years old, from St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. I was Miss SCEC HS 2005-2006, 2nd runner up Queen of Queens 2006, Miss St. Croix 2006-2007, & 2nd runner up for Miss Virgin Islands America 2011. I have a BS in Travel-Tourism & Hospitality Management with a concentration in Entertainment Management. Food is me weakness, I LOVE food and I love cooking, my favorite tv series is Law and Order SVU, my favorite tv network is LMN, I am an only child, I love to laugh and goof around, I love traveling, I love to Dance and I love taking pictures. I have an inseparable bond with my iPhone! I love the beach and I love piña coladas! :)
How many pageants have you competed in and why do you enjoy competing in pageants?
So far I have competed in four (4) pageants, I hope to compete in a couple more someday ;)! I love competing in pageants for a few different reasons. Firstly I absolutely love the stage and performing, I have been dancing since the age of three, it's my passion to be on a stage and I found pageants to be a different area where I could perform on a stage, showcasing not only my talent, but my intelligence, beauty, grace, etc. I also love competing in pageants because it gives me an opportunity to not only represent myself, but a title as well as my home and a platform that I feel passionately about.
What has been your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience up to date is winning the title of Miss St. Croix 2006-2007. I went through a whole lot while vying for that title, a lot of negativity came my way. That night when they announced the winner and it was my name that was called, an unexplainable amount of emotions took over me. I definitely had to work 10x harder than everyone else, and that moment made it all worth it. Along with the win walking away with Miss Intellect, among other awards, was my proudest accomplishment.
Has pageantry assisted you in accomplishing any professional or personal goals? How has it done so/ not done so?
Pageantry has definitely assisted me in accomplishing personal goals. During Miss St. Croix my platform was tourism, and it wasn't until then that I realized how passionately I felt about tourism, or rather the lack of tourism, on my island and how my island could thrive if we focused and worked towards a better Tourism plan. After realizing how I felt on the matter because of my platform during this pageant, I went on to Johnson & Wales University where in acquired a Bachelor of Science degree in Travel-Tourism & Hospitality Management, so that I can someday be Commissioner of Tourism for the Virgin Islands.
Would you say that pageantry has had a positive or negative affect on your self-esteem? If yes, or no, how has it done so?
Pageantry has definitely had a positive effect on my self-esteem. I'm 4'9", all my life I have been brought down about my height and have been told I cannot do things that I've wanted to do because of my height. I was told I can't be a dancer because I was not tall and thin and I was told by society that I would never be successful in pageantry because of the stigma that has been put in place from the beginning of pageantry. However, my parents, family, and friends have always supported me and because of my want to compete in pageantry and their support I disregarded all the negativity and went forward into competing. There's nothing better than that confidence I've gained from being on stage competing in pageants and going against all odds. Win or lose pageantry has definitely aided in my building my confidence and self-esteem.
Do you think the determining factors of a beauty queen have changed? What would you say is required now that was not required two decades ago?
I think the determining factors of a beauty queen are definitely changing with time. I think 2 decades ago intelligence wasn't really a required factor, nor was a platform. A pageant has come from solely being based on beauty and body type to now including intelligence, community service awareness, health and fitness, and so much more. There are still pageants that have height requirements and I personally think that should be completely eliminated, height does not determine what one can achieve nor what one is capable of. I hope with time the factors of pageantry evolve more.
What's next for you?
What's next for me? I'd say what’s next for me is to start my career, pursue my Masters degree and possibly find a pageant that I can compete in. I also plan on being involved in an organization or committee for a pageant, I think I'd enjoy the chance of being behind the scenes and involved in the production of pageants.