Belize’s Destiny Wagner was crowned Miss Earth 2021 during the virtual pageant finals held Sunday 21 November. She succeeded Lindsey Coffey of the United States, who won the title in 2020. Destiny bested over 80 other candidates in the competition to bring home the historic first Miss Earth title for Belize, the only English-speaking nation in Central America. It is a big step for the pageant industry in Belize because as a country it has only managed to place once, and that was in 1979 when Sarita Acosta competed in the Miss Universe pageant. But this time, Wagner not only placed, she captured one of the five international titles.
Following the announcement, Destiny who is from Punta Gorda, Toledo District in southern Belize shared how ecstatic she is to win the crown. “My country has never placed at Miss Earth before nor have we ever had an international crown,” she said. “So right now, this is what we needed and I am happy to represent such a gorgeous country. I am overwhelmed right now with emotions. The words and the gratitude, it’s very hard to express. But I am thankful.
“I’m someone who loves to be surprised and I think there is beauty in being surprised, especially if you are receiving a gift or an honourable mention. However what I don’t like to be surprised in is a natural disasters or pandemics such as the corona virus. That is a surprise that none of us anticipated, however, at the end of the rain there is always a rainbow and right now Miss Earth pageant is giving us that rainbow to fulfill the duties as a queen even during a virtual pageant.”
Wagner is a certified dive master and has worked with her community in the south as her family operates an N.G.O. feeding program in that municipality. Her passion for the environment was exemplified in the pageant. The entrepreneur and digital influencer stands for the sustainability of marine life. After the first round of question and answer, she was named as one of the top four finalists. She was guaranteed a crown, but she had one question left to answer. The final four were asked: “How far can technology go to help save the environmental situation we are in?” Here was her title winning response.
“I’m so thankful to live in a digital age right now because of technology we are able to spread awareness of things that are happening. Not only in my country but in other countries as well, however, technology can also be used to save my environment because by incorporating innovation in technology as well as sustainability, we can use those two things to come together. I am so thankful to be a woman now in 2021 and being able to have access to these things, such as solar energy and renewable energy. When mixing them together there is nothing we can’t do, so I am thankful to be in the digital age of technology and it will be used to save the planet.”
Destiny Wagner’s Miss Earth Journey
A Belizean public jaded by its pageant history was bursting at the seams with pride as 25-year-old Punta Gorda-born Destiny Wagner took the Miss Earth crown. To understand the magnitude and the immediate international spotlight her win represents for Belize, the Miss Earth pageant is one of the “big four” international pageants alongside Miss World, Miss Universe and Miss International. Belize has never won any of the “big four.” The only time it came close was in 1979 with Sarita Acosta who placed 7th at Miss Universe.
In this case, Destiny faced off against a record 88 other contestants in the virtual pageant. Representing a country whose name on a sash does not carry much weight, Destiny had to be outstanding with a real conservation record to outperform contestants from “strong sash” countries like Venezuela, Russia, the Netherlands, the U.S.A., Thailand, and Chile, several of them fan favourites.
On top of that, she was thrown into the competition with only days notice at the end of September after the original winner withdrew. With her beauty queen experience, she rose to the challenge and quickly became a favourite of pageant fans around the world who included her in their prediction lists. Weeks ago, their rally cry was that this was her “destiny” and in their eyes, her win simply represented destiny being fulfilled. Many cried when she won.
Destiny’s win also comes on the heels of the just-concluded COP26 with Belize and other Small Island Developing States taking center stage in the push to limit global warming, as well as the signing of the Blue Bonds that pivoted Belize onto the world stage.
The beautiful, humble and intelligent Destiny Wagner attended primary school in Belize then moved to the U.S. as a preteen. She earned a Bachelor Degree in Business Management from Pace University and has her own smoothie business in Punta Gorda. She and her parents started a Non-profit organization a decade ago to assist students from Barranco and surrounding villages via a feeding program and the provision of school supplies. She is dive certified and participates in environmental campaigns. She is a poet and published author.