The Jamaican beauties participating in the world's two top pageants — Miss World and Miss Universe — are now in the respective countries and all set for competition.
Miss Universe Jamaica Daena Soares left the island at the weekend and is now in Eilat, Israel for the competition which climaxes on December 12.
The organisers of Miss Universe confirmed on Monday that a contestant tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Israel. They did not identify the contestant, however Israeli news outlets have named Miss France, Clémence Botino, as the contestant and indicate that she has been isolated in a Government-run facility.
Reports further indicate that the majority of the 80 contestants expected to participate in the pageant have already arrived in Israel, and that the event will be held as planned under strict coronavirus protocols. The contestants will compete in national costume, evening gown, swimwear, and the interview.
Jamaica has never won the Miss Universe title; however, Yendi Philipps who placed second in 2010 and Davina Bennett who was third in 2017 have been the country's highest placing. Other delegates such as Miqueal-Symone Williams, Kaci Fennell, Christine Straw, Nicole Haughton and Sandra Foster have made it to the semi-final round of the competition.
Meanwhile, the other beauty, Khalia Hall, is deep in competition for the Miss World title in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Hall left the island on November 20 to participate in 70th edition of Miss World, with the finals set for December 16, at the José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum.
Co-franchise holder of the local pageant Dahlia Harris told the Jamaica Observer that in her conversations with Hall she is doing well and enjoying the experience, so far.
“I have spoken to her and she is very upbeat. She says she is absolutely enjoying the experience of meeting the other contestants from all over the world. She described it to me as one big international party. But while she is enjoying herself I know for sure that she is putting in the work for all the mini competitions and challenges that the Miss World organisation has planned for the contestants in the lead-up to final night,” she shared.
Harris confirmed that Hall has advanced to the semi-finals of the talent aspect of the competition. Reigning Miss World, Jamaica's Toni-Ann Singh took the talent competition at the 2019 contest and impressed the audience inside the ExCeL London in London on coronation night with her rendition of Whitney Houston's I Have Nothing.
Social media has been showcasing snippets of the popular head-to-head interview challenge in which Hall was featured where she was asked about her decision to switch from engineering to becoming a chef.
“My love for cooking started when I moved from rural Jamaica to capital city Kingston for high school. I didn't have cable television growing up because my father didn't allow us to have it, so when I went to Kingston I was so excited because I discovered a plethora of channels, one of which was Food Network. I could finally sit down all day on a Saturday watching all of the cooking shows and I imagined myself becoming the Jamaican Rachael Ray. But I don't think I would have turned cooking into a career had it not been for learning about how our food decisions impact not just our health as humans, but planetary health because it contributes to climate change as well as learning about the current state of health in Jamaica. So I see cooking as a tool to educate and inspire people to improve their lifestyle habits,” Hall told the interviewer.
Jamaica has won the Miss World title on four occasions: Carole Joan Crawford in 1963, Cindy Breakspeare in 1976, Lisa Hanna in 1993, and Singh in 2019.