On December 8, the 68th annual Miss Universe will take place in Atlanta, Georgia and air for the world to see on Telemundo. 92 women will compete for the highly-coveted crown and HOLA! USA had the opportunity to speak with one of the contestants Madison Anderson, who is proudly representing Puerto Rico.
Speaking to HOLA! USA, the queen of “La Isla del Encanto,” opened up about her process preparing for the competition as well as the recent headlines about the controversy among her competitors who discredit her for not being fluent in Spanish. She previously received criticism for her lack of Spanish skills after she was crowned Miss Puerto Rico. However, she has kept her head high amid all the criticism.
Born in Florida, Madison Anderson Berríos was forced to receive intensive Spanish classes and in little time, she was able to overcome the language barrier and learned enough Spanish ahead of the annual competition in order to satisfy her people in her Puerto Rican homeland.
HOLA! USA: Are you ready for the competition?
Madison Anderson: “I feel good, really nervous, but I’m ready.”
What’s your strategy to surprise the judges in Miss Universe 2019?
"I’m only going to show off my personality, that I’m a confident, transparent woman, genuine and that’s what I’m going to do to surprise them."
How’s the relationship between all the girls competing for the crown?
"We have a chat in Whatsapp and we all have a good relationship between us.".
Your mom was a beauty queen. How have you used that to your advantage?
"My mom was a beauty queen in Puerto Rico, so I have the best teacher in the world in that sense, and I feel really good about that."
What advice has your mom given you to win the crown?
"She tells me to be myself, that no one else is Madison, and I have to show the world who I really am. So I try to convey that in everything that I do."
And what does your dad say about all of this? Does he also support you?
"He wanted me to study and not go into the world of pageants or modeling, but he now understands that a beauty queen is more than just a pretty face, it’s a woman with a purpose. Now, he is incredibly proud of me."
Your first language is English and many Puerto Ricans have criticized you for not speaking Spanish fluently. What would you tell those people?
"At first they criticized me a lot, but now I have the support of my entire island. Of course, there will always be haters, but I have the majority support of my people. I also have fans around the whole world, so my language doesn’t limit me."
What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve faced dating with the language barrier?
"Definitely having to learn the language in such little time. I felt a lot of pressure and it was difficult learning Spanish because I know how it can be expressed in English and I want to say the same thing in Spanish. I learned that patience is key for this. I’m happy with the Spanish I’ve learned. Although, I still don’t speak it perfectly, I can communicate if I need to."
What social issues are important to you?
"I’m proud to have a platform to be a voice for my island, and I’m working with women and children en San Jorge Woman and Children Hospital as well as doing talks in schools to stop bullying and domestic violence."
What message do you want to send to the next generation?
"That nothing in the world is impossible. If I was able to do it, anyone can."