Lisa Drouillard is breathing much easier these days. After winning the Miss Haiti Universe title in November 2015, the Haitian-American beauty queen talked to Challenges about her crowning moment and why she considers it a « badge of honor. »
By Chris Azzopardi
How did growing up with Haitian parents influence you?
« When I was growing up, Haiti was very unstable, so my siblings and I weren’t able to travel to Haiti. I knew one day I had to do something that would bring me closer to home, and that was Miss Universe Haiti. Representing Haiti at one of the biggest beauty contests in the world was like my badge of honor. »
What does the title of Miss Haiti Universe 2015 mean to you?
« It means that I know who I am. Wanting to be Miss Universe Haiti was not something I realized a year or two ago. I knew I wanted this after my Miss New York Teen USA title (in 2011). To finally get here, no words can describe truly how I feel. »
What can we expect from you in your role as Miss Haiti?
« I have been visiting schools and orphanages around Port-au-Prince and one orphanage in Leogane. Of course, I would love to expand these trips outside of the capital. My title is still fairly new to me, and I am still building on exactly what cause I want to focus on. There are so many great causes and movements to be a part of. »
Looking back, how did your passion to inspire other young women transpire?
« Being in the beauty industry for 11 years, I have experienced moments where I was not so confident. It was not until I learned the importance of hard work, patience and faith that I was able to process my flaws as a learning experience. I wanted to share my story with other women. Your only competition is yourself. »
As someone who’s from Brooklyn, New York, what have your experiences been like in Haiti? How would you compare the two places?
« There is no comparison, honestly. It’s two completely different worlds. New York is fast-paced, and there is room for everyone in New York to work together regardless of social class. Haiti is quite different and very selective. My discipline in college was criminal justice and a great portion of my studies was human behavior, so there a lot of things that I see that are a bit peculiar. But hey, Haiti has turquoise beaches and great weather – New York does not! » (Laughs)
What do you appreciate most about Haiti?
« I appreciate the land of Haiti. When I look around and I see the mountains, and I hear the ocean, and I start feeling the country wake up, I see a beautiful paradise. Haiti, to me, is fighting to remain the pearl of the Antilles – she just desperately needs our help. »
Where would you like to see Haiti in 10 years?
« I would like to see Haiti become unified. The rest, I think, will fall into place. »