By Sydni Terradot, Louisiana
New Iberia native Sydni Terradot is a beauty – for a cause. On July 1, she was crowned Teen Miss Earth USA at the national finals in Las Vegas. With her title, she will be able to continue her mission of helping the environment by planting flowers and saving bees. “It’s a pageant, but a lot of girls have a platform to voice their concerns of our world and bettering our habits in our own community,” Terradot explains.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2020, Miss Earth is the No. 1 watched global environmental event, and one of the top three international pageants. This event is known as “Beauties for a Cause,” supporting environmental programs including World Missions Outreach, Puerto Rico missions and Climate Reality. As winner of Miss Earth USA, Terradot will represent the USA internationally in England this November.
Terradot began her journey to the national title last year, when she competed against 29 young women in the Teen Miss Louisiana Earth USA pageant. On Oct. 20, 2018, she won the event, stepping into her role of teaching her peers and mentees about the importance of recycling and protecting our planet. “We taught young people all about recycling,” she shares. “Only six percent of people in Louisiana recycle. We want to increase the amount of recycling in Louisiana. So, we teach kids that they should always try to reuse or repurpose items.”
Last year, Louisiana ranked second-worst among the states for environmental friendliness. Terradot hopes to change that - one step at a time. “We tell kids that pizza boxes are not recyclable,” she says. “We also teach them that when they go to the grocery stores, they should bring reusable bags or not use plastic bags. The main things in the ocean are plastic straws and plastic bags.”
Planting with purpose
As Teen Miss Louisiana, Terradot spent a busy year making public appearances and spreading her mission. Terradot’s platform is planting flowers and helping bees thrive. “You do this by planting and encouraging others in the community to do so,” she explains. “It makes the community so much nicer.”
On National Planting Day, August 7, she teamed with Hebert’s Garden Center, which donated more than 65 flowers to her for planting in New Iberia. “They have a lot of flowers and if they are not planted in a certain amount of time, they will die,” she explains. Once she nabbed the free plants, she went to different houses in her area and planted them. A friend accompanied her to photograph the beautification process. While Terradot knew several of these residents, some were total strangers to her. “People welcomed me,” she recalls. “I told them what my focus was, and pretty much all of them let me do it.”
Recycle. Reuse. Repurpose.
When she competed nationally, Terradot was able to voice her concerns about the environment. “A lot of people are uneducated about recycling, and that is one of the biggest issues in our state,” she says. “Also, there are a lot of parishes that don’t even have recycling bins.”
But, the new Miss Earth is determined to change that. Born and reared in Livonia, La. until age 5, Terradot met with the mayor and convinced him to provide recycling bins in his town. She also participated in LSU’s Earth Day, where she and Elite Miss Louisiana, Erin Husbands, set up a booth to educate children about recycling. The terrific twosome created a game where kids could become a superhero for their environmental know-how. “The kids had to guess what was and wasn’t recyclable, and if they got the answers right, they got to wear a superhero costume, get pictures and a certificate as a Superhero to Save the world,” Terradot explains. “It was really cool because some of the kids really learned a lot.”
Her royal year
This year was definitely an eventful one for the cause-conscious beauty. In 2019, she graduated from Catholic High in New Iberia, then was accepted to cosmetology school. Her career course changed when she won the national Earth USA pageant in July. On Aug. 8, she hopped on a plane to Atlanta, where she modeled at the World of Prom Market. Right after that, she flew to Washington D.C. to host the Mrs. Earth USA pageant.
After winning the national pageant, Terradot decided to take a year off to compete internationally in the Face of the World pageant, to be held on Nov. 16-17 in England. On November 13, she’ll fly in to get ready for the contest against more than 80 young ladies from all over the world. You’ll be able to cheer her on via live stream on her Facebook page, Teen Miss Earth USA.
In February 2020, Terradot is heading to Puerto Rico for a mission trip. While there, the beauty queens will be cleaning the beaches and the island for five days. They will also be recycling, as well as teaching the community about it.
As Teen Miss Earth USA, Terradot hopes to expand her platform of beautifying her community and beyond through social media, including Facebook and Instagram. “I want to expand that message around the state and not just New Iberia,” she says proudly.
Her ultimate goal is to make Louisiana – and the rest of the country – greener. “I hope to raise the recycling percentage in Louisiana,” she proclaims. “Moving forward, I hope to travel a little bit more and really educate the youth. By educating them, our future can be a little bit greener. That was actually the logo for the pageant – the future is green.”