15 compete for Miss Universe Jamaica East crown
The 15 finalists in the 2023 Miss Universe Jamaica East pageant. (Photo: Rahyme Mckenzie)

Fifteen young ladies, comprising participants from the parishes of Kingston, St Andrew, Portland, and St Catherine, will compete for the title Miss Universe Jamaica East on Friday, June 9 at the Girl Guides Headquarters on Waterloo Road in Kingston.

The finalists were revealed to the public for the first time on Thursday night at the Footprints Café in New Kingston, where the girls were presented with their respective sashes by their sponsors.

This year, Unicomer through its Courts, Courts Optical, Lucky Dollar Furniture and Appliance Store and Ready Cash have thrown their support behind the pageant.

Tamonie Ford, brand manager, Lucky Dollar and Appliance Store, was pleased with the partnership.

Shan St Lucien performs Tessanne Chin's Hideaway at the sashing event. (Photo: Rahyme Mckenzie)

"A lot of persons are of the perception that pageants are just about parading, but we see it as more than that. We see the value of the relationship with the Miss Universe Jamaica Organisation at large," said Ford.

The finalists appeared in swimwear and later in cocktail dresses, much to the excitement of those in attendance.

Singer Shan St Lucien, a student at Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts, along with her guitarist Jared Ansine provided musical entertainment.

Simone Mahabeer, brand manager for Courts, offered that the pageant is one way to empower young ladies, hence her company's decision to come on board.

"I think the most important thing is that its all about empowering our young ladies. Especially in a time like this we need to uplift them and build them up. The pageant is so much more than showing that beautiful face or having a presence, but also that confidence, poise, that grace that we need to be bringing our young ladies up within the society," said Mahabeer.

She continued, "This is a big way in which we, at Courts, which is celebrating its 64th year, can give back and help others in a positive way."

Regional director and franchisee for the Miss Universe Jamaica East pageant Jermaine Blair said a lot of work has gone into getting the contestants prepared for the grand coronation.

"One thing that I can say is, it's a lot of work. Being able to contribute to the development of young women and to help them to come into their own, is an absolutely amazing feeling," said Blair.

A total of 43 girls came out for casting of which 15 were sashed, including twin sisters Tika and Tia Rutherford.

He said patrons are in for a treat at the grand coronation.

"We are hoping to have a really good show. Bacchanal Jamaica is sponsoring the opening piece costumes. We have a really good show lined up and we want patrons to come out and be wowed with an amazing show."

The winner is an automatic finalist in the national Miss Universe Jamaica pageant.

The current Miss Universe Jamaica East titleholder is university student Zara Holmes.

The fifteen finalists in the 2023 Miss Universe Jamaica East pageant are Anna Kay Curtis – Miss Courts Optical, Tyra Spaulding – Miss Mission Catwalk, Chavel Wilson – Miss One Fi Di Road, Dreonna Powell – Miss Ann Montgomery, Alicia Sewell – Miss Bacchanal Jamaica, Ramoneyea McKenzie – Miss Footprints Café, Lianne Fullwood – Miss Villa Fernando, Alexcia Burrell – Miss Courts Ready Cash, Ifa-Shanni Dehaney – Miss Fit Farm Fitness, Seanna'kay Wright – Miss Creative Brands and Concepts, Shanique Robinson – Miss Dunn's River Falls and Park, Deborah Gordon – Miss Gustazos, Imani Coleman – Miss Star Agency, Tika Rutherford – Miss Lucky Dollar, and Tia Rutherford – Miss Courts.

By KEVIN JACKSON Observer writer entertainment@jamaicaobserver.com

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