Webster Student and Debate team star Daniela Piazzi will use her opportunity to advocate for youth empowerment
Working as a waitress at the age of 12, speaking six languages and double majoring in international relations and media communications, sophomore Daniela Piazzi is not the stereotypical pageant girl.
Piazzi will represent Aruba in the 2019 Miss International pageant hosted in Tokyo this October.
Miss International, a three-week long competition, focuses on an exchange of cultures. Contestants will share the issues facing their own country and what their country can bring to the world in multiple sessions. Piazzi plans to use the pageant as a platform to express her passion for youth empowerment.
Piazzi said representing her country, rather than being judged solely on beauty or talent, is what she likes about the pageant. She will compete with 84 women from countries across the globe.
Piazzi’s mother, Michelle Boset, said Piazzi has always been mature beyond her years. From age three to 11 her family lived in Argentina. Piazzi haggled with taxi drivers in Spanish when they tried to ripoff her American mother who did not pick up the language like she did.
“She grew up really fast,” Boset said. “If it weren’t for her, I couldn’t get around [Argentina]. She would look at the meter and tell the taxi drivers ‘you owe my mom 10 cents’ if the numbers weren’t adding up.”
At 16, she started her own destination wedding planning business, Aruba Hostesses. She planned six weddings in the course of one year.
“I would connect these women from abroad with all the right people in Aruba,” Piazzi said. “And I would charge almost nothing past expenses because I just enjoyed it so much.”
Piazzi said she begged her mother to take her to cocktail parties with her so she could network with adults. She said she always enjoyed working and did it to keep busy, not to make money.
In 2015, Piazzi won runner up in Miss Teen Aruba and won Miss Beauty World in the Dominican Republic. After winning Miss Beauty World, Piazzi received an offer to host her own broadcast news show in Aruba called 15on15. She had 15 minutes to talk about whatever she wanted.
Piazzi chose to use her passion for youth empowerment to feature peoplein Aruba under 23 years old who had their own businesses or started their own nonprofits. She also featured talented artists, musicians, poets and entrepreneurs all under 23.
This summer Piazzi plans to start Young and Talented, a nonprofit organization in Aruba that gives starter grants to kids who dedicate themselves to the community in Aruba.
“Sometimes kids [in Aruba] have these dreams, but they just can’t achieve them because of monetary reasons,” Piazzi said. “So this will be a really nice first step.”
Celena van der Linden competed in the Miss Teen Aruba pageant the year before Piazzi and supported her throughout the process.
Van der Linden said Piazzi’s biggest strength is her determination.
“[Piazzi] is the type of person that when she makes her mind up to do something, nothing can stop her until she achieves what she wants,” van der Linden said. “No matter what others say.”
Boset said in past pageants Piazzi always stayed away from the drama and helped the other girls with what they needed. One time another contestant’s makeup artist didn’t show, so Piazzi stepped in and did the makeup herself.
“She’s the girl that’s going to help everybody,” Boset said. “I see her being a leader amongst the girls.”
Piazzi said she believes win or lose, competing in this pageant will help her make connections with diverse people from around the world and lead her to new opportunities. She said every pageant she competed in before led her to her next adventure. This led her to say yes when asked to represent Aruba in the Miss International pageant.
“I don’t want to regret anything,” Piazzi said. “Everything I’ve said yes to in life has brought me to where I am today. And I just know that something great is going to come out of it.”