Wendy Marcelle Fitzwilliam (born 4 October 1972) is a Trinidadian lawyer, actress, model, singer, TV Host and beauty queen who won Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe 1998 became the second Miss Universe in history from Trinidad and Tobago and was the fourth woman of African heritage to capture the Miss Universe crown.
Wendy Marcelle Fitzwilliam
4 October 1972
|Height||1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Title||Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe 1998|
Miss Universe 1998
|Beauty pageant titleholder|
|Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe 1998|
Miss Universe 1998
Fitzwilliam modeled for local fashion designer Meiling in her teenage and early years. She won Miss Trinidad and Tobago. 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: Top 10 semifinalists Anna Malova of Russia, Andrea Roche of Ireland, Kerishnie Naicker of South Africa, Lymaraina D'Souza of India and Michella Marchi of Brazil, Top 5 finalists Silvia Ortiz of Colombia and Shawnae Jebbia of USA, eventual 2nd Runner-Up Joyce Giraud of Puerto Rico, and eventual 1st Runner-Up Veruska Ramírez of Venezuela.
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, the final answer portion 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. 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 United States.
Her dedication to the HIV/AIDS cause also led her to found The Hibiscus Foundation (THF) in Trinidad & Tobago on 6 September 1998. This organization was established to heighten AIDS awareness in Trinidad & 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 & 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 UniverseEdit
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 & 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.
She was appointed the Red Cross Ambassador of Youth for the Caribbean.
She is one of the judges of the reality television competition Caribbean's Next Top Model.
Fitzwilliam gave birth to her son, Ailan Andrew Panton in June 2006. She separated from his father, David Panton, in 2008. She currently resides in her native Trinidad and Tobago with her son.
- "Wendy Fitzwilliam, Miss Trinidad and Tobago, crowned Miss Universe", Jet, 1 June 1998
- Dowrich-Phillips, Laura (27 September 2009). "Memoirs of a former beauty queen". Trinidad Guardian. Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Retrieved 24 September 2010.