Maria Terlaje is 2020 Miss Northern Marianas Earth

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NINETEEN-YEAR-OLD Maria Lael Terlaje was crowned 2020 Miss Northern Marianas Earth in the Hyatt Regency Saipan Ballroom on Saturday night.

Due to Covid-19 pandemic directives, Exquisite Productions held the second edition of the annual pageant virtually.  The coronation was livestreamed on the Miss Northern Marianas Earth Facebook page.

Two weeks before the coronation night, contestants Arianne Cabrera, Zoe Stephanson, Julia Biton, Maria Terlaje and Kaitlin Borja competed virtually in the swimsuit, evening gown, native costume and question and answer portions.

Videos of each portion were posted on the pageant organizer’s Facebook page. (

Besides winning the 2020 Miss Northern Marianas Earth crown, Terlaje was also named Miss Friendship, No-Make up Challenge-Natural Beauty awardee, Environmental awardee, Best in Native Costume, Best in Swimsuit, and Best in Evening Gown.

Julia Biton, who represents Tinian, is this year’s Miss Earth-Air. She was also named Miss Photogenic and People’s Choice awardee.

Miss Earth-Water is Zoe Stephanson who also received the Exquisite Star Award.

Miss Earth-Fire is Kaitlin Borja while Miss Earth-Ecotourism is Arianne Cabrera.

In the Q&A portion,  contestants were told “to list three examples on how you would promote your advocacy during this pandemic.”


From left  Miss Earth-Ecotourism Arianne Cabrera, Miss Earth-Water Zoe Stephason, 2020 Miss Northern Marianas Earth Maria Terlaje, Miss Earth-Air Julia Biton, and Miss Earth-Fire Kaitlin Borja. Contributed photo

Terlaje, who is  attending Northern Marianas College, said she is for “inspiring education, action and friendship, and implementing passion.”

“With inspiration…it motivates education. With passion it will inspire knowledge to have our children act…It pushes the children to be involved in our community,” she said.

Biton said she will promote her advocacy by posting videos, sharing photos and relaying information through social media. “We have been set back in…meeting people face-to-face. We are relying on social media and technology to get our message across and [try] different ways [to] help protect and preserve our environment.”

She said preserving environment can start in everyone’s home.

Stephanson, for her part, said she will rely on social media to promote her advocacy, which is redefining the waste management system in the CNMI.

“I believe it is the best way to promote my advocacy through sharing educational videos and demonstrations and other tips with people…. My advocacy is about having a categorized waste management system in their own homes. We can perform the activities at our own homes without having to spend much and without having to get other resources from elsewhere,” Stephanson said.

Borja’s advocacy is sustainable development. She said she will promote the use of eco-friendly products. “For example, the use of metal straws instead of plastic straws. For buildings, they should be energy efficient.”

Cabrera will use social media to promote sustainable ecotourism. “Even after this pandemic, [social media] will always be there, especially for younger generations. It is the best option where I can advertise my advocacy.”

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