Miss Earth pageant is a go

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The contestants of the 2020 Miss Earth Northern Marianas pose for a photo following the sash pinning ceremony at the Saipan Mayor’s Office last Friday. (Kimberly A. Bautista)

The 2020 Miss Earth Northern Marianas pageant is still a go this October despite the COVID-19 pandemic and current safety measures in place.

According to Dee Clayton, president of Exquisite Productions that organizes Miss Earth Northern Marianas, the plan is to go virtual on Oct. 26 at the Saipan World Resort. “It really all depends on the situation and social distancing. My plan is to go virtual if worse comes to worst, but we’re going to have pageant for sure,” she said.

Clayton said that no matter what the situation is come Oct. 26 with the pandemic, the Miss Earth Northern Marianas will continue. “Right now, we’re really leaning toward a virtual ceremony because Miss Earth around the world…will also be doing their pageants virtually, so I already know what to do,” she added.

The pageant, Clayton explained, will be completely different from last year If they go the virtual route. The pageant will have no audience present and the only individuals who will be present at the Saipan World Resort will be the contestants, directors, judges, and camera crew. “It’s probably only going to be the contestants, the directors, the cameraman and all those necessary to conduct the program and we will go live and then everyone can watch together, live,” she said.

Clayton said that the safety of the community, the contestants, the directors, and everyone involved is the utmost priority. “It is different because…we don’t know what could happen and we have to think of the safety of the community and so we really have to respect everything that is going on and the priority is the safety of everybody,” she said.

These year, seven young women will vie for the chance to represent the Marianas at the Miss Earth International pageant in December. The candidates for this year’s pageant are Arianne Cabrera, Zoe Stephanson, Jessme Jones, Maria Terlaje, Jaybriana Manalo, Kaitlin Borja, and Tawnie Ngeskebei.

Cabrera briefly shared that the reason she joined Miss Earth was because she loves the islands’ beaches and has seen first-hand how poorly it has been taken care of. “I want to use this platform to reach out to the community and encourage them to educate themselves on sustainability for tourism,” she said.

Stephanson said she joined Miss Earth because she has always advocated for reduction of air pollution and healthy living. “My advocacy is to establish a biking clinic in our community, which means that, instead of using cars, people have the option of using their bike to go from one place to the other and this reduces greenhouse emissions, air pollution, and also saves a lot of gas for cars,” she said.

Terlaje said that she joined the Miss Earth pageant to advocate for love and respect for the islands. “I wanted to use this platform to inform the community about our environmental issues. With this platform, I would like to educate and inspire our people, especially our youth, that small actions can make a big difference,” she said.

Manalo said she joined Miss Earth to gain confidence and help save marine life.

Borja said it has always been her passion to preserve natural resources.

Ngeskebei said her advocacy is to assist and support the public in preserving the islands’ beauty.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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