Bright colors filled the stage as the eight contestants of the Miss Costa Maya Pageant left the audience in awe with their cultural costume presentations, flirted in their swimsuits and captivated everyone’s attention with glamorous evening gowns. In an emotional evening for Michelle Estrella Nuñez, she was able to capture the Miss Costa Maya title for Belize.
Since the first time she stepped on stage to compete for the title of Miss San Pedro in 2014, Michelle Estrella Nuñez has had the support of her humble town, San Pedro. In 2016 she represented Belize in the Miss America Latina del Mundo pageant, gaining even more experience and growing her fan base to include the rest of the county. Last night Belize was rooting for their queen and they were not disappointed.
Michelle took to the stage with admirable confidence and portrayed the best version of herself in her smile, in her walk and in her words. Her vision for empowering the young women of our community was evident even in the presentation of her cultural costume. She personified the Mayan Godess of Fertility, Motherhood and the Moon, Ix Chel, in a vibrant ensemble that embodied the feminine light she dreams of seeing in all Belizean women.
During her journey to the Costa Maya Crown, Michelle vulnerably shared her story of struggle, explaining how it strengthened her and led her to pursue pageantry as a way to give herself confidence in the face of challenges. This she said, is her final pageant, but her work empowering the women of this community is far from over. She plans on continuing her studies and becoming a social worker for the island.
During the question and answer segment when asked what would be her greatest contribution to her country, she once again focused on her passion to aid young women:
“The most that I can offer to my beautiful county is to continue empowering young ladies on this island and tell them that they are beautiful, because we are all beautiful and I am here standing tall because I am beautiful and I want to represent that for the rest of my country," stated Michelle.
Cultural Costume Competition
Miss Belize Michelle Nunez
Miss Costa Rica
Miss El Salvador
Competing for Miss Costa Maya 2017 were: Miss Belize Michelle Nuñez, Miss El Salvador Iris Yazmin Guerra, Miss Guatemala Lesly Fernanda Flores Sagastume, Miss Mexico Ximena Cardoso Gutierrez, Miss Costa Rica Glennys Medina Segura, Miss Nicaragua Danielle Nicole Hodgson Joseph, Miss Panama Maria Fernanda Jaspe and Miss Honduras Andrea Nicolle Salinas Godoy.
Best National Costume: Miss Belize, Michelle Nuñez
Second Runner-up: Miss Nicaragua Danielle Nicole Hodgson Joseph
First Runner Up: Miss Panama Maria Fernanda Jaspe
Master and Mistress of Ceremonies were Eiden Salazar and Tanya Arceo and judging the pageant this year were Charlie Croughwell, Karen Bevans, Augustin “Gus” Tabony, Sandra Glower Solis and Ben Popik.
The Ballet Folklorico de Quintana Roo was responsible for the entertainment during the pageant as they presented rich Mestizo cultural performances. Reina de La Costa Maya 2015/2016 Gabriela Vanessa Salazar Valle was not able to crown her successor due to a family emergency; she had to return home to Honduras unexpectedly just prior to pageant night. Privileged of crowning Michelle Nunez was Miss Belize Costa Maya 2016 (in which the pageant was cancelled due to Hurricane Earl) Miss Yadira Argueta and former Miss Costa Maya 2000, Sandra Glower Solis of El Salvador.
Evening Gown Competition
On behalf of Ambergris Today, Congratulations Michelle. We are proud of you and are looking forward to following the next chapter of your journey as you continue to be an inspirational Belizean woman. We leave you with Michelle's first words as Miss Costa Maya 2017
“Dreams do come true, you just have to believe in yourself!”
Michelle Nuñez with sister Savanna, mother Josie and brother Ramon
Cultural Costume Designers Roberto Pasos and David Matus
Michelle Nuñez with pageant trainers Enrique and Victor