Haitian-American Lisa Drouillard to represent Haiti at Miss Grand International

  • Posted by Marina Vatav
  • August 15, 2014 7:29 AM EDT

Born and raised in a Haitian family in Brooklyn, NY, Lisa Drouillard, 22, will represent Haiti for the first time at the Miss Grand International contest to take place this October in Bangkok, Thailand.

This is not her first pageant. Lisa began participating in beauty contests at the age of 14, and in 2010 was crowned Miss Teen New York, making her the first African American to get this title. This led to her being given a Proclamation on Haitian Flag Day by Marty Markowitz, the then Brooklyn Borough President, as well as being awarded a Citation at City Hall.

Proud to be Haitian

Although Lisa grew up in the US, she speaks Kreyòl and is proud to be Haitian.

"I grew up in a Haitian household. I know everything about Haiti from my grandmother, and I love my culture so much that I said to myself: Let me give Miss Haiti a try.”

"What makes me proud to be Haitian is this: just being American is awesome, but when you have another culture behind, it's an added bonus as a person. I feel lucky to be Haitian. I'm super proud of that because our story is amazing, being the first black country to be independent and then helping other countries to achieve that goal as well," says Lisa.

She believes that the discipline she received from the Haitian culture helped her achieve many of her goals.

Bringing proms to Haiti

Drouillard thinks that the Diaspora can contribute a great deal to the betterment of Haiti. She decided to get more involved herself. She travels to Haiti every 3-4 months and is in the process of establishing her non-profit organization to bring the idea of “proms” to Haiti.

"They do not have proms in Haiti."

"I wanted to find a way to celebrate our beauty and happiness instead of the usual portrayal of Haitians suffering, because Haitian people are really happy people. I wanted to find a way where I can help celebrate that,” shared Lisa

Peace in the world

A student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Lisa plans to advocate for world peace if she wins the big title.

"If I win Miss Grand International, I plan to focus on world peace. And one of the situations I want to tackle is the Haiti and Dominican Republic issue since there is a conflict between these two countries. I'm not saying I will personally fix it, but world peace being my platform that is definitely something I would want to look more into."

Lisa is an optimist and a motivational speaker. Her message to the Haitian youth is:

"No matter where you are, keep in mind that your location does not pave your destination. So keep going, keep striving, and believe in yourself because anything can happen."