From left, Alexandra A. Silva, Winona Chance Camacho (runner-up, best in swimwear, best in gown), Sorene A. Maratita (Miss Marianas Universe 2008, Miss Photogenic, Stellar Award, Best In National Costume), Bobbie Jean DLC. Taisacan, and Leovita Q. Cabrera (Miss Congeniality). (Contributed Photo)
By Nazario Rodriguez Jr.
From left, Alexandra A. Silva, Winona Chance Camacho (runner-up, best in swimwear, best in gown), Sorene A. Maratita (Miss Marianas Universe 2008, Miss Photogenic, Stellar Award, Best In National Costume), Bobbie Jean DLC. Taisacan, and Leovita Q. Cabrera (Miss Congeniality). (Contributed Photo) A fresh graduate of Saipan Southern High School reaped most of the special awards on her way to winning the crown in the 2009 Miss Marianas Universe pageant, besting four other contestants during coronation night on Saturday at Palms Resort Saipan.
Sorene A. Maratita brought home fabulous prizes including $1,000 cash and $1,000 scholarship from the organizing Stellar Marianas, one year use of a brand new car from Triple J Motors, a cell phone from PTI, gift certificates and one-year supplies of other products.
More importantly, this 18-year-old fan of supermodel Tyra Banks gave herself a once-in-a-lifetime chance to represent the CNMI both in the 2009 Miss Universe Pageant and Miss International Pageant-all-expense paid courtesy of Northwest Airlines.
Maratita won three of the six special awards-Miss Photogenic, Stellar Award and Best in National Costume.
Winona Chance Camacho, 17, was adjudged the first runner-up after taking two specials awards: best in swimsuit and best in evening gown.
The other special award, Miss Congeniality, went to 18-year old NMC student Leovita Q. Cabrera.
Another NMC student Alexandra A. Silva, 18, and Rota High graduate Bobbie Jean DLC. Taisacan, 17, were the two other contestants.
Maratita said she's extremely happy and that her strong personality may have given her the edge over the other contestants.
It was her first time to join a pageant. She said she just wanted to experience it.
“This is so spontaneous and out of the ordinary,” said Maratita, whose ultimate goal in life is to join the U.S. Air Force with a focus on Communications. She also wants to take up a college degree and become the first homegrown physical therapist.
Before all that, she plans to first savor her moment of triumph, saying she looks forward to competing in the upcoming Miss Universe and Miss International pageants.
The 49th Miss International pageant will take place on July 24-25 next year in Chicago, Illinois, while the 58th Miss Universe beauty pageant might be held in Croatia on June 2009.
“I wish her the best of luck. She's great and easy to get along,” Miss Congeniality Leovita Cabrera said of Maratita.
Runner-up Winona Chance Camacho, who also attended Saipan Southern High, said she and Maratita are very close to each other.
“I'm so proud of her. I feel like I'm also the winner,” Camacho said.
As the newly crowned Miss Marianas, Maratita's main objective is to promote the importance of healthy eating habits as well as diet and exercise among the youth.
Saturday's judges were Lannie Walker of KSPN, Michelle Lin of Independent Boutique, 1997 Miss NMI International Marites Acosta-Yumul, Jeannie Mafnas of NMHC, CNMI Public Defender Adam Hardwick and Palms Resort president Hiroyuki Saito.
Stellar Marianas, a pageant and talent non-profit group, said it is temporarily suspending the holding of the event because of the current crisis.
The coronation night was co-emceed by former Miss Marianas Cherlyn Brel Cabrera and Gabriel Camacho White.