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Interview with Maritza Rivas, Miss Costa Maya 2009 | Aug 17, 2009

Maritza Rivas Cruz with her crown.
Róger Solórzano Canales

Seconds after becoming Miss Costa Maya 2009, Martiza Riva's mind was filled with a positive nervousness. Eight days ago, she had arrived to the city of San Pedro, situated in Ambergis Cay, in Belize. She met a great number of interesting places, held an interview with the judges and trained for the final presentation. Not even an inflammation on her left ankle made her loose all her excitement. Another seven beautiful contestants who represented other countries of the region had the same hope as her in this beauty pageant. However, the destiny wanted this night to be hers. "And the winner of Costa Maya 2009 is...", 12 seconds of extreme suspense passed before the presenters said the final announcement. They first mentioned the country and then her name. "I was trembling when they approached me to give me the crown", commented the spontaneous Maritza Rivas during this interview to

The night of August 6 was the day that Martiza Rivas became the first Nicaraguan to win Miss Costa Maya, a regional beauty pageant which is held within the celebration of San Pedro´s International Festival. In this event, contestants from Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama often participate. In the 14 years of this contest, none of the candidates had ever won a crown and the prize for best national costume, but Maritza was the protagonist of that successful night of first times. Her gown was chosen as the winner one. "It was exciting because it was the first time that Nicaragua had won. I had the honor of being the bearer of that crown for my country," she said with a smile.

Months before, she had participated in the national beauty pageant Miss Nicaragua 2009 and was chosen as second finalist (third place). Right after that, the organizers of the event offered her to travel to Belize representing the country; she accepted immediately. "I thought it was going to be easy to win the crown because it was a small pageant," she stated.

In Nicaragua, she received a lot of support for her adventure: dresses for different occasions, casual clothes, hair design, work permit and a lot of good wishes from her friends, family, acquaintances and unknown people. She also received, six days before her trip, a dog bite on her left ankle which was fixed with 10 stitches. She was afraid that the doctor would forbid the trip because of that. Nevertheless, her doctor told her that she could go under her own risk. And she went. Now she jokes saying that it was the bite of luck.

Maritza began meeting the other girls during the flight to Belize. The Costa Rican contestant was the first to receive a smile from her, but as time passed she started getting closer with the Panamanian. "I started joking with her and became friends. We laughed about everything". She even happily remembers how the Panamanian contestant was the first one to hug her when she won the crown. "She told me: well done maricona!". A phrase she fondly remembers because "maricona" in Panama means "friend" but in Nicaragua it means "crybaby". The girls from Mexico and Guatemala were also very nice people to her.

She also mentioned that the most impressive places were the Mayan ruins of Altun Ha and the huge coral reef in the Caribbean waters. The eight candidates visited the ruins right after arriving to the country. Martiza was very impressed to see the ancient buildings. "It was out of this world. You come from the city and then you find this enormous structures. You don't have an explanation to how they could manage to build all of that during those days". On the third day, the contestants visited the coral reef, where she had to swim with sharks and multicoloured fishes. Her partners joked about being careful with the sharks because with her luck she might get bitten by them. But she went in the water. "I touched a small shark and a ray", she said.

Maritza explained that what helped her to win the competition was her very Nicaraguan charisma, which is filled with joy, honesty and simplicity. She stated that the interview with the jury was very friendly, with jokes and laughter. She even encouraged herself to respond in English and did great. "Thank God my English was fluent. Before that, I tried to speak it and had some trouble. But during the interview it was like my brain was lightened". Moreover, expressing joy in every occasion was the key element to help her win the best national costume. The judges took into account the design, the concept and the presentation.

She remembers that, despite the fact that few Nicaraguans live on the island, she always had a big audience screaming and clapping for her. The night of her triumph in Belize, the stage was located in a football stadium. She remembers she was shocked by the response of the attendees and the jury. All of them stood up and clapped for her smiling. While she was shaking, she walked around the stage with the crown on her head and a huge smile on her face, stoped in front of the attendees and observed on her arm the band that said "Nicaragua", she took it and kissed it.