Clarendon takes Miss Jamaica Nation 2014

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter

Sunday, August 24, 2014

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POOR production marred the inaugural staging of the Miss Jamaica Nation beauty pageant on Saturday night.

The pageant, conceptualised by Ken Williams who has long been associated with the Miss Jamaica US contest, came across as being amatuer and not a national event.

The one-hour delay at the start, the lack of a backdrop and decor on stage, as well as the uncoordinated manner in which the proceedings unfolded, made the nearly three-hour-long event a comedy of errors.

A prime example occurred when the audience was asked to stand for the National Anthem with some patrons inside the Courtleigh Auditorium already on their feet, Williams rushed on stage to announce that Sanchez was not in the house and therefore there would be no singing of same.

Williams’ efforts to establish a pageant in which contestants are devoid of enhancements saw 13 young ladies vie for the title — each representing one of Jamaica’s parishes, with Kingston and St Andrew sending one girl. At the end of the night it was the charming and intelligent Miss Clarendon, Kimberly McLeod, who took the inaugural title.

The popular Miss St James, Latoya Thompson took the first runner-up spot, while the bubbly Geri Graham from Hanover was named second runner-up.

McLeod certainly gained traction with her impressive pitch for the Vernam Field complex in her parish to become a major logistics hub. Her diction, ease of presentation and comfort with the English language was noteworthy.

In the dreaded question and answer segement, she again acquitted herself with her response to: what she appreciates most about Jamaican culture. Her response was matched by those from St James’ Thompson and Miss St Thomas Yohanna Kellyman.

Katherine Foster from St Elizabeth took the most congenial sectional award; most aware went to Thompson from St James; St Thomas’ Kellyman was adjudged most photogenic; while the award for the best evening gown design went to the creation by Hope Wade and worn by Miss Hanover.

What some of the contestants lacked physically, they certainly made up for in intellect.

Contestants in the more establsihed local beauty pageants could well take a page or the whole book, from some of these young ladies as it relates to speaking from the pageant stage.

Jamaicans love a beauty pageant and if this one is to flourish Williams and his team will have to put more effort into next year’s staging.





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