Monday, 9 December 2013

Maria Roman: From Starlet to Star (02)

Monika: In 2006 you won the 5th annual Quest Advocacy Pageant hosted by the Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team, gaining the title Miss Quest 2008. Was the competition tough?
Maria: What was amazing about this Pageant is that the focus is not only beauty but they are looking for a well-rounded individual who is involved in the community and that perhaps can act as an ambassador for Transgender Women and speak on key issues that the community continues to face. With that said this was my second time competing in Miss Quest I had originally competed in 2002 and lost the title to my beloved friend Alexis Rivera who we lost last year.

First year as runner-up in Quest 2002;

Most satisfied with? Best talent, best evening gown or best swimming suit. I received the Connie Norman award which was named after a amazing pioneer for the transgender community. This was the second time I was awarded this category so I was very honored and proud. Well the categories for Miss Quest include Personal Style, Business Wear and Evening Gown. There is a total of 7 categories and to my shock I took 6 out of 7. Who would have thought! 
Monika: Which outfits/dresses did you choose to wear?
Maria: For my personal style I wore a fitted black little dress very sexy with really describes my style and a bright orange gown for evening wear. 
At the Parade as Miss Quest.

Monika: What was the prize?
Maria: The price was 1,000 dollars and a year full of activities representing the title including being in a float on the largest Gay Pride Parade in the country Christopher Street West. 
Monika: Did you make friends with the other contestants?
Maria: I feel I have made life long friends and eventually began working at the agency as a Risk Reduction Counselor for transgender woman were I still work now going on three years.

All Past Quest Winners, including Maria last year.

Monika: The pageant was established by APAIT in 2002 with a view to facilitating a community level intervention designed to encourage the development and empowerment of the often marginalized transgender community. How do you find their work?
Maria: HIV continues to devastate our community APAIT has committed efforts in ensuring education and empowerment to Transgender Women Of Color who continue to get infected in alarming numbers. They also have created programing that assist Women in finding resources including housing and mental health. Now that I am an employee here I see firsthand how our programing is changing lives and empowering transgender women to make better decisions regarding their sexual health.

Behind the scenes of Quest.

All the photos: courtesy of Maria Roman.
© 2013 - Monika 

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