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Vincentian student places third in Taiwan pageant

Vincentian student places third in Taiwan pageant


“Interesting, exciting and inspiring!”

This was how one Vincentian student studying in Taiwan described her participation in a pageant that saw her not only placing third overall, but creating history as the first Black woman to enter the pageant.

Currently reading for a Master’s degree in Psychology at Asia University, 28-year-old Maridonna Burgin decided to take part in the Water Bamboo (Beauty Legs) Princess competition (which took place in Puli, Nantou, Taiwan), because she saw it as an opportunity to broaden her “overall cultural experience.”

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT, Burgin explained: “I entered the show essentially for the cultural experience. It was a different way to explore another district of Taiwan. This way, I had an opportunity to form friendships with persons like myself.”{{more}}

The 28-year-old added that she learnt a great deal about Taiwan’s agricultural background – in particular, about the water bamboo crop, which is a healthy vegetable that is exported to several countries.

“As much as I was happy to learn about their country, I now had an opportunity to publicly let them know about St Vincent and the Grenadines,” she enthused.

For her talent segment, Burgin sang Skinny Fabulous’s ‘This Island Is Mine’, which she believes gave an “excellent reflection” of the similarities between Taiwan and SVG.

For placing third, she received NT$20,000, which is approximately EC$1,679.

“I found out about the competition through my university, and that it was open to all young ladies over the age of 18,” she recalled.

“Initially, this event had an international and local section. However, after being the only international person who made it to the finals, I was submitted with the other Taiwanese girls… I am now inspired to try more new and different activities in Taiwan because of how well this experience was!”

With one more academic year left on her Master’s programme, Burgin said that the experience living and studying in Taiwan has thus far been “eye opening,” because she has been able to see another side of the world and come to understand their way of life.

“Taiwanese people are curious people and are always interested in finding out about different people and places.”

A resident of New Montrose, Burgin said that with her first love being children, she is aiming for a career in child psychology, but also has interest in family therapy and public relations.

She attended the Kingstown Government School, the Girls’ High School and the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College. She also gained her Bachelor’s degree at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, in Barbados.

So, is this the start of a ‘love affair’ with pageantry for Burgin? Probably not, but participating in future pageants has not been ruled out completely.

“Only if the pageant is similar to this,” she explained. “I’m more interested in cultural exchange and edification.” (JSV)