“My mother has called me ‘Miss Universe’ since I was 2,” admits Tricia Homer ’04 with a laugh. She is now just one contest away from the possibility of making this title her own, worldwide. In November, Homer was crowned Miss U.S. Virgin Islands, eligible to compete for the Miss Universe title at a pageant to be held in Bangkok, Thailand, May 30. The government major at Wesleyan had begun pageant competition in her teens, winning the title of Queen at her high school. At Wesleyan, she pursued dance (always her passion, she says) as well as African American studies and spent a language-acquisition semester in Mexico. She led a government seminar in her senior year and spent another semester in Morocco, where she studied French and Arabic languages, as well as the role of women in third-world economic growth.
After Commencement, she decided to prepare for the Miss U.S. Virgin Islands competition, aware that she could use this high-profile position topromote youth arts education. The contest featured six segments, including a personal interview covering a wide range of current topics, an introductory speech stating her goals, and an impromptu question-answer session. Winning those three segments earned her the “Miss Intellect” title. When she won the cultural costume segment, she clinched the title. Now, Miss U.S. Virgin Islands finds herself making about five public appearances a week—as well as embarking on fundraising projects for the trip. Her hope, she says, is to see lots of Wesleyan faces in the audience, cheering her toward her Miss Universe dream.