ANISKA TONGE

Age: 27

 

Platform: 

After being hit by two category five hurricanes last hurricane season, the U.S Virgin Islands has seen a significant decline in after school activities and creative outlets for the territory's youth. We have so many amazing talents to showcase in the fields of music, dance, fashion, technology and even pageantry. My peers and the generation that follows are dedicated to our craft, but lack the necessary platforms to showcase these capabilities. As Miss USVI, I plan to execute workshops, programs and showcases, dedicated to the arts in partnership with local artists and government agencies, in order to develop and highlight our talents on an international stage. Through my platform, I hope to not only showcase our resilience, but also show that in the midst of chaos our light shines the brightest.

 

What IS YOUR FAVORITE U.S VIRGIN ISLANDS MEMORY>

My favorite USVI memory would certainly be hosting the St. Thomas Carnival parades for two consecutive years with the esteemed Athniel "Addy" Ottley and the wonderful team at WTJX. For us, carnival is a celebration of all the colors, creeds and cultures that are woven into the heritage and history of the USVI. Being exposed to that and being part of a such a historic moment is something I can look back on and no matter my mood or disposition, simply smile. As the late Nicholas "Daddy" Friday would say, "there's nothing more fabulous than a carnival in St. Thomas."

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ASPECT OF U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS CULTURE?

My favorite aspect of USVI culture is without a doubt the people. We truly are a family with quarrels, disagreements and differences but when we struggle we all struggle and when we succeed we all succeed. Nothing was more evident than this after the hurricane season of 2017. Near and far, we banded together, around our community to rebuild. I personally headed a mission, Project We Care VI-Hurricane Relief, that collected thousands of sanitary and everyday goods from Virgin Islanders across the world, that were allocated back home through local charities and foundations. We are such a strong and vivacious force because of our people.

IF YOU COULD HAVE DINNER WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

If  could have dinner with anyone it would be Ava DuVernay, film producer and director of iconic works of arts, such as "Selma", "13th" and a "Wrinkle in Time." DuVernay has defied what should be the limitations of race, gender and age, to become successful in the film industry and by doing this has inspired a myriad of storytellers, like me, to pursue dreams not typically meant for us. I’d love to discuss her path in overcoming self doubt and outside imposed limitations. Furthermore, I would like to hear her take on utilizing her resources and successes to create platforms for other amazingly talented women of color.

WhAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE "CONFIDENTLY BEAUTIFUL"?

To me, being confidently beautiful means embracing your inner beauty before all else. It means extending kindness and warmth, while exemplifying that beauty in our daily actions toward others, no matter how simple or small. To be confidently beautiful, is to love yourself enough to pursue your dreams with no doubt that you are capable or worthy of all that you desire. Finally, being confidentially beautiful is being a light to other women, encouraging and inspiring them to accept, love and live in the greatness of who we were created to be.

WhY DO YOU WANT TO BE MISS UNIVERSE UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS?

I want to be Miss Universe USVI to represent my country authentically and genuinely on an international platform, while inspiring and encouraging the young artists, entrepreneurs and academics of our territory to showcase the best of who we are. Miss Universe USVI means more to me than a title or a crown. Miss Universe USVI is my dream. It’s a dream of such magnitude for me that I’ve waited and prepared for years for the opportunity to represent my country on that stage. It is not about making it to Miss Universe, it is about making it to Miss Universe as Miss USVI, with my people, country and culture on my shoulders, showcasing to the world who we are and all that we are capable of.

TELL US ABOUT AN IMPORTANT PROJECT YOU'VE WORKED ON RECENTLY. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU? WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT? WHO DID IT HELP?

Recently The 4Her foundation, a non-profit organization I developed in 2012, held our 4th annual Belle of The Ball prom-package give away. Every year since 2014, we gift a graduating senior with an all-expense paid trip to prom; to date we have granted this to over seven young women from the USVI. Belle of the Ball has meant a great deal to me since its inception but this year was different and so much more special . After a disastrous hurricane season, our Belle had no prospect of going to prom so this year was far more pertinent and purposeful than any before. It meant the world to her and was a reminder of my true purpose and calling, which is to lead with love, and to help whoever I can in whatever I do.