Madison Anderson Berríos: ‘To be Puerto Rican is much more than just a language’

By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: @PCorreaHenry

Special to The Star

“I think sometimes, we have this human error to just judge on the physical and not take the time to really get to know someone and to see what values and qualities one possesses. Through my reign, I was able to show my charisma, show ‘mi valentía’ (my courage), my strength, the desire I had to represent Puerto Rico every single day.”

This is what Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2019 Madison Anderson Berríos said confidently to The Star on Monday as she prepares to give her crown to the next queen that will represent the Island on Thursday at the television special “Te Ofrezco Mi Corazón” at 7 p.m. on Wapa and Wapa América, as there will be no traditional pageant due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everyone would have loved to have a traditional pageant, but I think how I am leaving and giving my crown and passing it to the next queen really would describe my whole year. It has been real breaking and changing the mold on what it is to be a beauty queen and I think ‘Te Ofrezco Mi Corazón’ really symbolizes that as well; it’s very unconventional but beautiful in its own special way,” Anderson Berríos said. “I won’t be missing the final walk because this program is just so beautiful, it’s exciting; we have to adapt to the new reality that we are living and we have to look for the positive through this unusual situation.”

Anderson Berrios spoke joyously to the outlet about her experiences representing the island and every Puerto Rican citizen that has become part of the Diaspora on an international platform, moreover, she said that she feels satisfied to be able to show to the public who she really was, even if she had naysayers deny her reign at the beginning.

“To be Puerto Rican is much more than just a language, it’s the love that you have for your country, the love that you have for your people, your traditions, your culture, your mannerisms, I think that people were shocked to see that my mannerisms were super Puerto Rican because I wasn’t raised in Puerto Rico; I was raised by a Puerto Rican family in Florida, but that doesn’t take away ‘mis raíces’ (my roots),” she said. “There’s 5.5 million Puerto Ricans living outside of the island, there’re 3 million on the island, and people who identify with ‘la diáspora’, people that have been able to identify with me has been so powerful. I was so happy that I was able to represent them through my actions and through a lot of love because I’m not one to judge people who wanted to judge me; this has been a learning experience for everyone.”

On the other hand, she said that being Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2019 “was the greatest privilege and honor to be able to exchange with others, inspire the youth and bring back something positive to Puerto Ricans.” As for what she will miss the most as the queen, she said that she will miss every single member of her team, being on interviews and photoshoots, and being able to have the name of the island on her chest.

As The Star asked for a response to the critics against Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi, the queen said that she was able to empathize with her.

“I identify with what she was experiencing in my own special way, but I would also focus on the positive things people had said about her, she made it in her own special way representing her culture, we need to focus more on that and to have more tolerance and respect for different diversities of beauty,” Anderson Berríos said.

As for her future after Miss Universe, Anderson Berríos said that she is excited as she is involved on a project that is still in the works and expects “bringing a lot of happiness and celebration to my island”, likewise, she told The Star that she will keep advocating to create awareness against domestic violence and fight for equality, justice and women’s rights for the rest of her life.

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