judgeWendy Fitzwilliam
biography

A multitalented entrepreneur, lawyer, philanthropist, mother, author and Miss Universe 1998, Wendy Fitzwilliam has forged an exceptional – and eclectic – career that spans television production, entertainment, social activism, fashion, radio broadcasting, government and the law. A native of Diego Martin, Trinidad and Tobago, Wendy Fitzwilliam was born to Juditha and Noel Fitzwilliam. Juditha, a teacher, and Noel, a fire officer, raised her and her younger sister, Dionyse, with strong values, a tireless work ethic and a positive outlook – all key factors to which Ms. Fitzwilliam attributes her success. In 1998, Ms. Fitzwilliam made history when she became the third woman of colour and the second Trinidadian woman ever to capture the Miss Universe Crown. This victory, which came just two months prior to her final examinations at law school, set her on a path to become one of the world’s most celebrated and well-known media personalities from the Caribbean. She was admitted to the Trinidad and Tobago Bar in 2000. Ms. Fitzwilliam currently serves as host and co-executive producer of Caribbean’s Next Top Model (CaribeNTM), the latest incarnation of the global reality television phenomenon, America’s Next Top model (ANTM). Adapted in more than 170 countries, the franchise, created by model Tyra Banks, offers contestants the opportunity to compete for lucrative modeling contracts. In her dual roles, Ms. Fitzwilliam seeks to create compelling entertainment, by using her professional experience and insights to challenge, mentor and advise contestants. Recognizing the powerful ability of radio and the World Wide Web to educate and connect people, Fitzwilliam embarked on a project in 2009 to enrich the lives of her fans and listeners with DzThe Wendy Fitzwilliam Showdz. Co-produced by Heartbeat Radio for Women, the one-hour weekly radio show explores how – and what it means – to achieve your dreams. The show is currently in its tenth season. Airing Sundays from 10:00 AM –11:00 AM EST, this fun, inspiring and interactive program transcends culture and geographic boundaries, offering fresh and provocative conversation and insight from high-profile individuals from around the globe. The interviews reveal the unique challenges, entrepreneurial spirit and transformative moments of success of a star-studded guest roster that includes Recording Artist Gladys Knight, Author Barbara Taylor Bradford, Star Chef Marcus Samuelsson, Supermodel and entrepreneur Beverly Johnson, Television Journalist Soledad O’Brian and former Prime Ministers of Jamaica Edward Seaga and P.J. Patterson, among others. With its far-reaching online and mobile presence, the program enjoys increasing popularity with a global audience that exceeds 300,000 listeners per week. On Facebook, Ms. Fitzwilliam’s fan following has passed 128,000 and continues to grow daily. Ms. Fitzwilliam’s impressive achievements in the entertainment industry are matched by a passion for social activism that has moved her to champion a variety of charitable causes. In 1998 she was named United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/AIDS where she renewed her commitment to fighting AIDS and the stereotypes associated with it. Her dedication to this cause also led her to found The Hibiscus Foundation (THF), which seeks to heighten AIDS awareness in Trinidad and Tobago, while offering assistance, financially and otherwise, to children impacted by the disease. In light of her accomplishments, Ms. Fitzwilliam was also appointed the first-ever Red Cross Ambassador of Youth for the Caribbean. In this role, she has been privileged to address the world’s youth in various forums including the Summit of the Americas V. When not working, Ms. Fitzwilliam engages in her most rewarding role of all: mother to her son, Ailan. Her compelling memoir, DzLetters to Ailandz was first written as an extended love letter to her then unborn son.She was persuaded by her Manager to publish the frank and touching story, which went on to enjoy both critical and commercial success.