Solange's crowning glory

Monday, October 02, 2017

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TWO Saturdays ago, Solange Sinclair was the toast of the evening inside the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston. She walked away with the crown and title of Miss Jamaica World 2017 and the opportunity to represent her country at Miss World in Sanya, China, on November 18.

For the 24-year-old, winning the title had always been a childhood dream, but when it came down to the finals, she took nothing for granted.

“It was always a dream of mine since I was in high school,” she told the Jamaica Observer. “After a while I got to understand pageantry and that these women are going off and representing Jamaica as an ambassador. However, I never played into it until this year when I came back from a trip to Africa and I was thinking, I've just come back from the Motherland [and] there is so much more that I want to do...so much I don't know. As I am thinking about this, the pageant director Kandi King reaches out to me and asks if this is something I would be interested in.”

She described the coronation night as a mix of nerves, excitement and anticipation. And when it came down to those final moments, it became clear that this would be that defining moment and the turning point in the life of one of the finalists.

“It definitely came as a surprise. Knowing the ladies, I understood that everyone was intelligent, everyone is beautiful, everyone was bringing their own story and background to this competition. We all had an equal fighting chance — everybody just looked drop dead gorgeous in their gowns. It was very intense and it was just myself, Sasha (Henry) and Brianne (St Juste) who stood up there as the final three and one of our names was going to be called — it could have been anyone of us,” she noted.

Hailing from Montego Bay, Sinclair attended Mount Alvernia High School, then moved on to attend university in Massachusetts, majoring in journalism and languages — she speaks Spanish, French and Portuguese. After university she moved to Los Angeles where she worked in public relations and marketing for a number of film companies, including Universal Studios and Warner Bros.

Sinclair is granddaughter of legendary Hollywood actress Madge Sinclair, who became known to Jamaicans from her work on the hospital drama series Trapper John MD, where she played Nurse Ernestine Shoop.

Madge Sinclair's acting credits also include Cornbread, Earl and Me, Roots, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Coming to America, The Orchid House, and The Lion King. She died from leukaemia in 1995, two years after her granddaughter Solange was born. The beauty queen's father is the actress's elder son, Wayne.

“Her voice stands out for me. I was two and I can't tell you what else I knew at that age, but I know that it just isn't what I've heard on TV because I have a different memory. Her voice, from what I remember, had this very strong echo and that is very different from what I hear on TV. There is also something very elegant, strong and pronounced in that memory that I have of her,” she muses.

Sinclair is proud to carry on what she described as some of her late grandmother's best traits.

“I think that her will power to fight against all odds and continue with what it is that you want to do. She was an actress in a time when women were considered second class; black women were not given much of a thought. On top of that she was a Jamaican black woman... she was working in Hollywood and it wasn't even like she was an American following her dreams — she was a complete foreigner who stepped outside of her comfort zone. She had one vision and that was to put Jamaica on the map through her acting — anywhere she went she wasn't just an actress, she was a Jamaican actress. So that will power to fight against the odds and overcome whatever challenges runs through my veins as well.”

With Miss World only weeks away, she is preparing herself to take on the challenge in China

“I only have about three weeks left in Jamaica and I am getting myself ready mentally and physically. Physically through Spartan Health Club. I am also working on my project as I really want to make some impact. I will be fighting for young girls and women who fall victim to sexual abuse, rape and human trafficking. It is quite a phenomenon here in Jamaica and on the global scale, but there is little attention brought to it, so I definitely want to raise awareness during my year.”

“I am also taking with me the spirit, rhythm and pride of Jamaica. We are a people of determination. Look out world, Jamaica is coming and she is definitely going to make her presence felt,” said Sinclair.




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