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Miss Puerto Rico winner grew up in Florida and doesn’t speak fluent Spanish. She says she represents a ‘new generation.’

Miss Puerto Rico winner grew up in Florida and doesn’t speak fluent Spanish. She says she represents a ‘new generation.’
Madison Anderson Berríos, la nueva Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2019, fue criada en Orlando, Florida. La joven asegura que ella representa una nueva cepa de boricuas en la diáspora que mantienen sus vínculos con la cultura y tradiciones puertorrique?as. - Original Credit: Wapa TV (Wapa Tv)

Madison Anderson Berríos was crowned Miss Puerto Rico on Thursday night, but she’s different than any of the other past champions in the Miss Universe-affiliated pageant.

Anderson Berríos is a Puerto Rican who lives in Florida. She was not born or raised on the island, and she is not very fluent in Spanish.

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That’s made her a target of criticism by some on social media questioning what it means to be a real Puerto Rican, but she brushes off any negative comments.

“I am representing the new generation of Puerto Ricans who do not need to live in Puerto Rico or speak Spanish. If you were born in the United States, you are not less Puerto Rican,” she said in a phone interview with El Sentinel Orlando. “These are feelings that you carry anywhere. That’s the new generation of Puerto Ricans,” she added.

The new beauty queen said she is proud to represent not only the Puerto Ricans on the island, but also the large diaspora community that feels close ties with the Island.

Madison Anderson Berríos is crowned Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2019 on Thursday night.
Madison Anderson Berríos is crowned Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2019 on Thursday night. (Cortesia / Cortesa)

As for how she felt competing against women who were born and raised on the island, Anderson Berríos insisted that “I don’t feel different from the other candidates because I’m Puerto Rican too. I represent the women here, but also those who live abroad.

“I always carry Puerto Rico in my heart, but being able to come back now, represent my island and tell my story, it’s very special for me,” she said.

Anderson Berrios went to the Miss Universe Puerto Rico pageant with experience in other competitions.

In 2014, she participated in Miss Teen USA and two years later represented Puerto Rico in Miss Grand International. In January, she was the first runner-up in the Miss Florida USA contest, although she has always identified herself as Puerto Rican.

“I still cannot believe it,” the Florida-raised Puerto Rican beauty queen said about her victory.

Anderson Berríos was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and three months after her family moved to Orlando where she grew up and attended Dr. Phillips High School and Chancery Charter High School.

“It’s my dream. This is not just for my beautiful people of Puerto Rico, but for the diaspora because being Puerto Rican is carried in the blood,” she said in an interview with Wapa TV, the television station who broadcast the pageant.

Anderson Berríos said, "I believe that honesty is the best way to contribute to a better world ... I want to be a voice for others, and to see in me an authentic and genuine person. I am a marketing and public relations student; I would like to combine my passion for communications with my social work. I have participated in the creation of documentaries aimed at raising awareness about social problems such as domestic violence. Once I finish my studies I would like to run my own company. I have visited five continents; learning about different cultures is one of my greatest passions.”

In addition to Anderson Berríos, Miss Morovis, Hazel Ortiz, was another Puerto Rican who was representing the many boricuas who have had to leave the island. Ortiz, daughter of Orlando’s District 2 commissioner, Tony Ortiz, made it to the top 10 finalists. Ortiz had moved to Florida with her father when she started her education at the University of Central Florida.

Now Anderson Berríos will start her preparation to represent Puerto Rico in the 68th Miss Universe international contest that will take place in December in South Korea.

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