Winning Miss Multiverse 2022 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana has been such a transformative experience for me. Going in, I had no intentions of winning, my only goal was to leave better than I came. I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew is that it wasn’t going to be easy and there was some fierce competition.
We first arrived at Casa de compo to stay at our Americas Next top model style luxury villa for the show. It truly felt like stepping into the movie scene of “Mean girls”. The contestants are put to the test with a mix of planned chaos, psychological mind games, interviews, hidden agendas and challenges cleverly designed to generate spontaneous TV reality, drama, confusion, emotions and to bring in-and-out of focus the contestant’s genuine personalities.
You could tell the candidates were there to win. Everyone had their game face on, so it was a little hard to connect with anyone at first. I could tell immediately that some girls didn’t like my best personality trait “overly talkative bubbly individual”. I knew that this journey was going to require one or two key friends along the way but there wasn’t much downtime before we dove right into our first challenges. luckily, when the going got rough. It was the love and support of my friends and fans that pushed me through.
The very first challenge was the IQ test, packed with questions that seemed to have multiple answers that could all be correct. At this point, we all wanted to know the intelligence of the other girls, so we can team up with the smart ones. I was glad to find out that I had an above-average IQ, and very pleased with the results. It was truly a great way to test our intelligence.
Big Blue Monster
This was an intense obstacle course over the water! This challenge was not only physically demanding but the path was also covered in soap!! The heat was on me because I was chosen to be, one of the two team captains, with the task of selecting a number of team members, but after a crazy “reality show twist”, the team I had originally chosen was swapped out for the opposite team. It was now my job to lead the “team of women I had discarded” who didn’t necessarily want me to score a victory. I knew these ladies were going to sabotage our team along the way. On top of that, the captain of the opposite team chose to run against me during the challenge, and she was the toughest competitor in her group compared to little me. In the end, I ended up beating my opponent pretty badly and leading my team to victory. Not only was I a team captain of the winning team, but I came in second place for the recorded fastest time. I made it through the first challenge with flying colors. It’s always best to take chances and bet on yourself because you never know what could happen.
What started out as a beautiful day four-wheeling through the beautiful nature in DR turned into a match for survival. After a day of visiting places like the devil’s throat, we arrived on a beautiful beach with no idea of what was to come next. We were divided into two teams, each given three items to stay overnight in the jungle. We first had to choose survivor’s pack A or B to camp on the beach: (A) has a jug of water, a lighter, and bug spray; or option (B) with a machete, a box of matches, and two bags of chips. Our team ended up with option B “the machete”.
I felt like I went full beast mode and could’ve survived a week out there if I needed to. We had to build a shelter, and start a fire to stay overnight with intense winds, and I had never even been camping before, but I grabbed that machete-like “G.I. Jane” and took charge. We built a beautiful shelter out of palm trees, leaves, and twigs before sundown and created a fire that lasted all night. We slept in shifts so that one of us could keep a lookout and keep the fire going. I ended up sleeping with a coconut as my pillow and woke up to the sunrise on the beach wondering if the other team had endured the challenge. We later found out that one of their team members had actually quit marking my “second victory” as a team leader. This strategic challenge really was a turning point for me in the competition. It really showed me that I had what it takes to be Miss multiverse, I am the kind of woman that takes charge, an effective leader. All previous self-doubts were gone and replaced with confidence. I felt like Miss Queen of the jungle!
Our goal was to make the scavenger hunt so difficult that the other team couldn’t even make it past the first clue. We definitely succeeded in that goal as the other team never found our first clue. It was truly a brain twister and after I kind of felt bad about how difficult we made it but I knew we would win. Our team was able to solve the scavenger hunt in under 15 minutes. I was overall very happy with my team for this challenge. There was a lot of teamwork involved and we created a difficult scavenger hunt without disagreement or drama. At this point, we were feeling on top.
We learned to surf at the Cabarete Eco-Lodge with an amazing instructor that gave us a breeze 15-minute instruction before we got into the water for the surf challenge. I grew up in Miami, but never learn to pick up a board even though my mother was a surfer, so this was redemption for me. One of my biggest fears was that I would be the only girl to not get up on the board.
I was wearing a bracelet that was given to me by my friend before I left, that said. “your power is you” I took a deep breath, and I said to myself this will be the wave. I start paddling out, and just as I’m about to stand up on the board for the first time the bracelet slipped off in the wave and left me which was very symbolic for me, my power truly is within myself, and I have everything I need to succeed.
Something I thought was going to be a complete fail ended up being a complete win. We also modeled designer clothing at the Costa Norte fashion weekend. Cabarete truly had some of my favorite parts of the entire experience.
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana
Getting to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana felt like reaching a celebratory milestone. It felt so good to get to the newly renovated rooms at hard rock Hotel and Casino. We went from the jungles and ecological adventures of Samana to the many dining options of this five-star resort. We meet the hotel guests and let them know about her final show at the resort. I met so many interesting people from all over the world. It’s truly its own little melting pot.
We took a trolley ride to the new water-park, played at the casino, went bowling, and played at the arcade. There is so much to do you can keep yourself busy all day. But my favorite part was the swimming pools and the beach, being out in the Caribbean sun on the white sandy beaches of DR. It’s the type of sand that you want to do a full-body Mud mask in. To wash off all that sound, equipped with multiple thrills for all ages.
Last women standing
The last woman standing challenge is one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. the last woman standing is a Navy seal base training that we are put through while a trainer yells in our faces trying to get us to quit. I made it in about 30 minutes before my body couldn’t take it anymore. I truly tried my best. I was sore for about three days after. Some of the girls were certified-trainers or professional athletes. I knew that they would persevere in this challenge. Though I am a dancer and performer, none of that could have prepared me for this drill. The girls were sweating and crying. I couldn’t even imagine what they were going through after the first two hours. This mental and physical challenge really pushed us to our ultimate limits.
The charity challenge was really exciting for me because I love giving back to the community. I truly hope to be a philanthropist one day. The Miss Multiverse organization is creating a community center in a remote area called Yamasa in the Dominican Republic. The children of Yamas have to travel several hours to attend school. Most end up not attending at all. After-school activities are not an option so The Miss Multiverse Organization hopes to give these children the opportunity to further explore their passions and skills. The community center will include several rooms like huts to accommodate those who would like to come and give back by offering their skills and teaching ability. We had to create a business plan that would further help the growth and success of this project. We got to create an extensive business plan on how we aimed to help the children of Yamasa. Learning about the lives of these children I’ve realized that a huge hindrance to the success of adolescence and young adults is a limiting mindset. Mental health and a supportive community are key to feeling capable of success.
We spent our Halloween at the famous Coco bongo in the Dominican Republic. I was so happy we got to celebrate with 1000s of people and be part of this unforgettable show. There were performers flying through the sky, crazy dance numbers, and a lot of audience interaction. However, there was a surprise waiting for us; what we thought would be a fun, relaxing night ended up being a surprise challenge. one second, we were dancing in the VIP; the next, we are being called to perform on stage. This was no ordinary stage. It was a stage elevated high above the entire club over the whole crowd. We had to give them our best show on the runway. My training as an actress came in handy, I learned how to read my audience quickly and give them the best performance. I had a lot of fun on stage and the audience loved it too!
Waking up on the day of the finals was so bittersweet. Miss Multiverse was truly the hardest thing I have ever done in my life; but on the other hand, I couldn’t believe that this amazing experience was coming to an end. My brain was muffled with stimulation and I grew so much as a person. I tested my strengths and weaknesses. I tested my skills under pressure and in new environments. Best of all I learned to endure in the wild which was insane for a city girl like me.
As we got closer to the final show, I was getting butterflies in my stomach. Thankfully I’ve learned how to use it to my advantage. I am an actress living in New York City. I have been a singer for over 9 years and performed in many countries around the world. So of course, I asked and got the opportunity to sing my favorite Adele song on the stage of the Hard Rock during the show. I was feeling great on stage. It was like everything I had just worked so hard for was finally coming together. All the newfound confidence in my abilities carried me down the stage. I felt like it was all meant to be. I have been competing for over 5 years getting second or third. This time, I gave it everything I had. It was all or nothing at this point. I really had no idea what was going to happen. All the girls were amazing in their own way. As they called me and Miss Australia, the last two standing I was squeezing her hands so hard. I couldn’t even breathe. It felt like the longest few minutes of my life and all my adrenaline was pumping.
Finally, they announce my name and I just screamed at the top of my lungs. It was such an amazing moment with fireworks and fog it was straight out of a movie. It was so surreal I felt like whoa finally it was really happening. I really learned that what you put in you will get out. All my years of hard work had paid off. It’s such an amazing feeling to achieve a dream. This was an unforgettable one-of-a-kind experience that changed me as a person. I’m so grateful to the team of the Miss Multiverse Organization for creating this “out of the box” reality show-style competition for modern women.
I can’t wait to see what the future holds with my new title Miss Multiverse 2022. You can find me on Instagram @missmultiverseusa or TikTok @stephanielyyn