|Beauty pageant titleholder|
|Born||Wendy Marcelle Fitzwilliam
October 4, 1972
Diego Martin, Trinidad and Tobago
|Height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|Title(s)||Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe 1998
Miss Universe 1998
|Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe 1998
Miss Universe 1998
(born Wendy Marcelle Fitzwilliam on October 4, 1972) is a former Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe, the third woman of African heritage to capture the Miss Universe crown and the second Miss Universe in history from Trinidad and Tobago.
Fitzwilliam was born to Juditha and Noel Fitzwilliam, one of two daughters. She grew up in Jade Gardens Diamond Vale, Diego Martin and attended Diego Martin Girls R.C before attending St. Joseph's Convent in Port of Spain.
Wendy modeled for local fashion designer Meiling in her teenage and early years. At age 25, she participated in the 1998 Miss Universe pageant held at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. She beat off challenges from the other semifinalists: Russia, Ireland, South Africa, India, Brazil, Colombia, USA, Puerto Rico and eventual first runner-up Veruska Ramírez of Venezuela, who would prove to be her main competitor.
Fitzwilliam's regal air and perfect evening gown presentation won her the favor of the judges and made her the favorite to capture the crown that night. However, once the final 3 were announced, her halting final answer led people to suspense, since there was a deadlock between her and Ramirez of Venezuela, who had won the swimsuit competition with the highest score ever seen at the time and gave a straightforward answer. Because there were eight members on the panel of judges and no way to break an eventual tie, the decision promised to be a nail-biter.
In the end, Fitzwilliam prevailed and became the first contestant in history to win wearing a bikini in the swimsuit competition, denying Ramírez that title as well. Her win came 21 years after another Trinidadian, Janelle Commissiong, who also happened to be the first Miss Universe of African heritage, captured in 1977 the crown for her country for the first time. Fitzwilliam is, thus, the second titleholder from Trinidad & Tobago and the third of African heritage, after Commissiong and biracial Chelsi Smith of the USA.
Her dedication to the HIV/AIDS cause also led her to found The Hibiscus Foundation (THF) in Trinidad and Tobago on the 6th of September 1998. This organization was established to heighten AIDS awareness in Trinidad and Tobago and to give assistance, financially and otherwise, to children’s homes in Trinidad.
She was the international spokesperson for Clear Essence Skin Care and made several notable television appearances having hosted segments of “Wild On…” for E! Entertainment Television and the Miss Universe Special for the same network.
She made appearances on “Live with Regis and Kathy Lee”, “The Magic Hour”, “Politically Incorrect”, “The O’Reilly Factor”, CNN’s “Talk Back Live”, Trinidad and Tobago Carnival” for BET, “The Johnny Cockran Show” on Court TV, Soca Monarch Finals for CNMG with Danny Glover and Chris Tucker, among others.
After Miss Universe
She was the Vice President of Investment Promotion at the Evolving TecKnologies and Enterprise Development Company Limited (E TecK), a state-owned company in Trinidad and Tobago. She is also attached to the Trinidad Guardian's Guardian in Education: Making a Difference project, a series of motivational school tours that also features former World Champion sprinter Ato Boldon and cyclist Michael Phillips, aiming to promote the development of the country's diversity.
Her dedication to hard work is not just limited to her career, and over the years she has lent herself greatly to her passion for human and social development by championing various charitable causes both big and small.
A highlight of her social work came when she became appointed the Red Cross Ambassador of Youth for the Caribbean. This is the first time the Red Cross has appointed anyone to this high honorary office. In this capacity she has been afforded the opportunity to address the World’s Youth globally, most recently as the keynote speaker of the Summit of The Americas V in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
Wendy gave birth while unmarried to her son, Ailan Andrew Panton in June 2006, and separated from his father, David Panton, in 2008. She currently resides in her native Trinidad and Tobago with her son, Alain. She decided to write a book about her experience of becoming pregnant out of wedlock and the subsequent rejection she received from the father of her son. She has launched "The Wendy Fitzwilliam Show" on Heartbeat 103.5fm (Trinidad) which airs on Sundays at 10am -11am.
- "Wendy Fitzwilliam, Miss Trinidad and Tobago, crowned Miss Universe", Jet, 1 Jun 1998
- Dowrich-Phillips, Laura (September 27, 2009). "Memoirs of a former beauty queen". Trinidad Guardian (Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago). Retrieved 2010-09-24.
- Official Website, Official Website
- Facebook Fanpage, Official Facebook Fanpage
- Wendy Fitzwilliam, UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador
- eTecK, Evolving TecKnologies and Enterprise Development Company