After overcoming several technical difficulties, the Miss Dixie State University International Pageant debuted for the first time this year on campus.
Six students competed in the pageant, which focused on four categories: the introduction, cultural apparel, cultural talent and the interview question. The contestants represented countries across the globe, from Brazil, the Philippines and Peru to Venezuela and Nigeria.
After finishing the last portion of the pageant, audience members were given the opportunity to speak to the contestants while the judges deliberated on their decision.
Fope Akmolede, a freshman biology major from Ekiti, Nigeria, was announced as Miss Congeniality and Sheena Luy, a freshman biology major from Zamboanga City, Phillipines, was crowned Miss DSU International.
“I am really happy that DSU gave us the chance to do Miss DSU International because to be the first Miss DSU International is a privilege,” Luy said.
In honor of international education week, Amber Denning, the international student services student life coordinator, said she wanted to organize a pageant that highlighted cultures across the world and promote diversity on campus.
Aside from providing a platform for international students, Catherine Odera, the director of international student services, said Miss DSU International represents more than just physical beauty.
“Our pageant is different because it expresses the beauty of the cultures and the countries, not necessarily outward beauty,” Odera said. “So after this [pageant] I hope it gives you a chance to go and Google something like, ‘Oh, Brazil. I want to know what that dance was.'”
As Miss DSU International, Luy will work alongside the international student life committee to promote and educate others about cultural diversity.
“I just want to spread love and my culture from the Philippines and also bridge culture together too,” Luy said.
Although the committee is still learning how to strengthen the overall event, Denning said this is just the beginning of new events centered around international diversity on campus. In the spring, the international student life committee will host the first Mister DSU International Pageant.