Among 21 competitors vying for the title of Miss Haiti 2014, the crown was placed on the head of a young Haitian businesswoman named Carolyn Desert. The 25-year-old Desert donned the Miss Haiti crown on Sunday, September 6 to a standing ovation given by the crowd at the Karibe Convention Center in Haiti. “I'm going to support the youth. I'm going to support women. I'm going to support the poor,” she reportedly promised to the audience.
Desert is a freelance writer and owns a Mexican restaurant in the Petionville district of Port-au-Prince, but is well-known for her philanthropic interests. She has helped support many artists in Haiti as well as helped poor children. Some of those cheering for Desert at the event reportedly included volunteers from the Restavek Freedom Foundation, which helps rescue child slaves in Haiti.
— Gulf News (@gulf_news) September 8, 2014
Desert survived the first round of the competition, which narrowed the candidates down to 15 according to points accumulated over eight weeks of training. After parading in a bathing suit and being judged on physical appearance and allure, Desert was included in the final 10 who were chosen by judges. She then participated in the final round of judging in formal wear, where judges chose the final five women who would be representing Haiti in various beauty pageants. As Miss Haiti 2014, Desert will be representing the country at the Miss Universe pageant to be held in December in London.
The new Miss Haiti was reportedly an early favorite in the competition, having won the "most photogenic" award because of her wide smile. Her answer during the question and answer segment caused the audience to erupt in applause when she said that Haitian women had more to offer than their looks in the form of “perseverance, courage, resilience.” She was also one of two contestants who competed with closely cropped hair, which apparently sparked debates about whether competitors should change their natural hair for the beauty pageant.