Maritsa Platis, Miss U.S. International 2020 , sits down with Emily Tinoco of Queenly as part of our Queenly Tea Talks Instagram Live series to talk about her experience in the pageant world and beyond.
Emily: Just a little introduction, Maritsa is Miss U.S. International 2020 and will be competing at Miss International 2021 this November in Japan! I know you just turned 20, how do you feel about turning 21 in a pandemic?
Maritsa: You know I just had a small dinner with my family for my 20th birthday. But I am so excited to turn 21 and be at the Miss International competition with all the girls. Each year, they usually have the younger contestants take part in a tea ceremony and also there is some wine drinking. I am very excited to do some traditional things in Japan.
Emily: That sounds so great. You must be very excited. How have you been these days?
M: I am doing great. I am still doing community work. It has been restricted with COVID but I just got my first dose of the vaccine, so I am excited to be able to get out more and keep on doing work.
E: I know you have your own community initiative: Cradle of Love. Can you tell me more about it?
M: A few years ago, I lost a relative to co-sleeping. Unfortunately due to that event, I have made it my passion and mission to give back to my community and educate others on the dangers of co-sleeping. When the pandemic hit, it was hard to give back, so I started to create events online. As Miss U.S. International, I am really pushing for getting cribs and cradles in homes that need them the most. As Miss International, I would love to go back to the Netherlands and also continue my work there.
E: You are on a pre-med path. How did you get into your career choice?
M: Yes so my dream is to be a neonatologist. It is very specific. It really came from hearing stories from babies in the nicu. It really inspired me to go into the nicu and save lives. I want to be able to work not only with the babies, but also with their parents. I feel like this career path was made for me.
E: So Kathy in the chat is asking: What has been your favorite part of your reign as Miss U.S. International?
M: Being able to do events is the best. I just got back from doing New York Fashion week! I am originally from New York, so being able to do that was so much fun. It’s not easy being a title holder, but I have enjoyed being that voice for others and representing my community.
E: That sounds fantastic. Based on your experience, can you walk us through the preparations steps of a pageant queen?
M: It is a very mental thing. At the end of the day, the preparation before matters the most. I would spend 6 hours a day, four days a week with my coach. Luis, my coach, is amazing. He would work with me on my swimsuit walk, my evening night gown, my interview, etc. Going into a pageant, you have to know that there is a chance you might not win, but you have to go in knowing the title is for the people that support you.
E: You mentioned that the reality is that not everyone can win. Can you talk a little bit about the friendships you have made?
M: The Miss International organization promotes cheering for all women. When you are competing in a pageant, you have to understand that it is more than just a competition. You are building that sisterhood and bonds that are going to be there forever.
E: Someone in the audience is asking if you'd be able to share your favorite pageant preparation hacks!
M: Oh! Before I go into an interview, I think of three big topics And I keep those in my head. I like to be in charge of the narrative.
E: Before the Miss International pageants, what other pageants did you participate in?
M: I have been in pageants since I was 13 years old and I started with the National American Miss program and every since then, I have been hooked. I just felt like that program sparked something in me. And I have lost a lot more than I have won. But I have learned that a lot of challenges come with being a title holder and so it really takes a lot to be one.
E: Before we end our Instagram live, do you have any last thoughts or shoutouts?
M: I would love it if every girl here went onto the Miss U.S. International page and just checked it out! This organization is just so amazing.
Thank you Maritsa ! Check out the full interview here and make sure to follow Queenly on Instagram for more exclusive interviews.