This September, Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2019, Madison Anderson Berrios, visited Florida Technical College in Kissimmee to tour the campus, meet and greet students, and take the time to do an interview. Miss Universe Puerto Rico discussed the benefits of technical colleges, encouraged women to pursue their careers, and explained how she prepares for the Miss Universe pageant.
Q: How does it feel to be back in Central Florida?
A: I feel super emotional. This is the city that helped raise me become the woman I am. Being surrounded by the Latin community really shaped my message and the message I am carrying right now as Miss Universe Puerto Rico, so for me, I am so fortunate to be back and have that connection in-person as Miss Universe Puerto Rico.
Q: I know you mentioned before that you are for technical education. How do you advise students to stay motivated to complete their programs at FTC?
A: I definitely believe as millennials this generation thinks differently, wants to do things differently, and wants to learn differently. I think this school is a beautiful platform to really focus on your passion and being concentrated on that. I think that’s the most important part of being a part of this school and this dynamic.
Q: One of the things about technical education is that you learn by doing and being more hands-on. How do you feel about that? Do you agree with that statement?
A: Absolutely. I feel like when you’re passionate about something you need to be down nitty and gritty in the whole shebang, because that’s going to help you be more successful.
Q: As a female, what is one of the messages that you send to the female community, toward women that want to move forward and have a career?
A: A message I send to the female community is to step into our power. We as women not only can be mothers, but we can be doctors and lawyers. We have the ability to be in power. I think to step into our power is the most important message that I want to send out. I think the way to do that is by setting an example and supporting women in whatever choices they want to do. That’s definitely my advice for women.
Q: Tell me a little bit about Puerto Rico. What are some of the things you love most about being Puerto Rican?
A: That we are always happy. We make a negative situation into something beautiful. I think that we showed, specifically in the march, which I was actually an active participant in that, we showed that we are people who are brave, who are fearless, who are strong, and who are loving and empathic. I think those are many qualities that I love about being Puerto Rican, and I am going to take all those qualities and show that in Miss Universe.
Q: How do you prepare for this big competition?
A: Preparing myself for Miss Universe is a full-time job. It is preparing myself mentally, physically, and emotionally. This is really understanding my story and how can I express that. I believe to be a Miss is the ability to influence others to be themselves, their most authentic self, and to be inspiring, so creating that dynamic in this preparation is vital and that’s what I am doing right now.
Q: One of the things about FTC is that we offer 100% of classes in English and in Spanish. I know you’re bilingual…
A: You know what that says to me, that you guys are accepting multi-cultural diversity and that I think is beautiful because, nowadays in this generation, we are globalization. This is a melting pot, and how beautiful that this school is accepting of all languages.
Q: We also have a lot of students here that come from other countries that want to better themselves. What is one message you send to those students?
A: That to me is bravery and that the universe listens to brave, so continue being brave and courageous and fight for what you’re passionate about. Fight for what makes you happy and, most importantly, strive for what you’re passionate about.
Q: How do you deal with the stress of being Miss Universe?
A: Praying. I pray and talk to my family and that gives me peace. Solitude, reading a book… For me, my element is water so anytime that I am lucky to be in Puerto Rico, I can just go outside and walk to the beach, and that fills me with new energy. Definitely solitude refills my energy and also being with my family. There is nothing like love. That definitely helps in this preparation.
Q: Is there any message you want to send to the students at FTC?
A: Be true to yourself. Be true to what you’re passionate about and what you want to do in this life, and focus on that. Put all of your energy, and love, and passion into exactly what you want to do. That to me is success. And I want you all to lead an example for others and come into this school and follow your passion, because it is contagious, and it is inspiring. You don’t know who you’re inspiring just because you’re following your passions.