Winner of Miss Indigenous Panama 2024 - Cristel Jiménez

1,494Views 0Comments Posted 10/07/2024

Cristel Jiménez, a girl from the Cerro Coco community in the Ngäbe-Buglé region, stands out for her simplicity. She has skills and talent. All of those qualities made her the winner of Miss Indigenous Panama 2024.  The fifth-year student of Banking and Finance at the Autonomous University of Chiriquí is preparing to highlight the culture of her ancestors. She will represent the country in the Abya Yala Indigenous Beauty Pageant that will take place in Panama from September 5 to 7, in La Manzana, Casco Antiguo, Panama City.  Indigenous people from countries such as Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Chile, Colombia and others will participate in this activity. Activist Bartolina Sisa is her inspiration in this pageant, she admits.  Miss Indigenous of Panama, Jimenez added, that she seeks to highlight the roots and worldview of the different ethnic groups in our country. “I have been given the opportunity, although it was not in my plans, and I feel very happy and grateful to God for this time.  It is a great honor to carry the band of the Ngäbe-Bugle region.”


She is currently preparing to master public speaking, studying about the different indigenous peoples of Panama, as well as the native languages ​​of each one. “I plan to highlight the dances of our people, since each one of them is a different story of struggle.”  Jiménez has a big challenge ahead of her, as she represents the groups that conserve “80% of the biodiversity found in the indigenous territory. This is a reality and shows that we are guardians of our natural resources and we respect our animals. We do not allow the exploitation of lands, as this also harms human rights.”  Bravery, perseverance, intelligence, responsibility and love for her culture are the qualities that Cristel Jiménez believes will give her the merit to be crowned winner of the Abya Yala Indigenous Beauty Pageant.  Cristel Jimenez was chosen to represent Panama for her qualities, talent, charisma and humility, said Anselmo Urrutia García, creator and director of Indigenous Beauties of Panama. 


García explained that the initiative was born in 2010, through a futsal tournament, where the girls were cheerleaders. Because the girls wanted to do different activities, modeling was promoted, thus forming Gunas Models.  “By 2013, the first pageant was held at that time, the title was Miss Guna Models, and only Guna girls participated. This format improved over the years, since girls from other indigenous communities participated. In 2016, the idea of ​​holding a pageant with indigenous girls from other countries was born. When girls from other indigenous communities were included, the name was changed to Indigenous Beauties of Panama, an idea of ​​the students themselves, and it remains that way to date.”


During the development of Beauties of Indigenous Panama, according to Urrutia, there has been little opportunity for young women to participate in other types of pageants due to the economic aspect. “In view of this situation, I said to myself: why don’t we create our own space, under our own criteria? The National Pageant for Indigenous Girls was born, with the purpose of highlighting our indigenous cultures, to make known an empowered young woman, with talent and beauty in the indigenous style.  This was also thanks to the advice of the office of indigenous peoples of the University of Panama.”  “The truth is that since 2010, when this started, what is reflected now was the dream of that time. There have been many challenges, starting with resistance. Others would have already abandoned this project, but I am here firmly because I believe in the vision of it.” 


Another important challenge for Indigenous Beauties of Panama is the economic part, because like any event or contest, it has its cost and as the years go by, the costs increase and getting sponsors is the most difficult thing to obtain, especially when it is an international contest because it entails an even greater expense, Urrutia stressed.  According to the founder, one of the fundamental bases of this initiative is to maintain the interest of young people in the project.  Over all these years it has been possible to maintain it, thanks to the fact that mothers and young people have found a space in which girls can show all their talent and empower themselves.  The contest is cultural, it innovates with fashion, modeling, "and we seek to attract the public's attention, so they can attend and learn about our events. A key basis is that the participants know that the main thing is our identity.  It is more than a catwalk, it is an encounter with our roots," she concluded.