Fifteen vie for Miss Jamaica World 2021
The 15 finalists in this year's staging of the Miss Jamaica World pageant.(Photo: Garfield Robinson)

THE Miss Jamaica World beauty pageant returns this year after a one-year break due to the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus. Fifteen young ladies will compete for the crown on September 26 at the grand coronation show tentatively scheduled for the Little Theatre in St Andrew.

Speaking at the sashing of the finalists held at Jamaica Pegasus in St Andrew yesterday, co-franchise owner Dahlia Harris said two new elements have been introduced in this year's pageant.

“We are mirroring the Miss World format as best as possible. So, we've introduced the head-to-head challenge as well as the multimedia challenge that they have at Miss World,” Harris shared.

“I think that, just the way in which the lessons were learnt — preparing the ladies from early heading into the coronation show, even the way that the training programmes happen — we want to ensure that whomever is Miss Jamaica World, when she goes to Puerto Rico for the Miss World finals everything will fall in place for her,” she added

The 15 finalists are: Khalia Hall – Miss General Foods Supermarket, Shinell Mills – Miss TM Ross Beauty, Mazika McDermott – Miss Knutsford Express, Jahvel Byfield – Miss Len's Catering, Melessa Vassal – Miss RETV, Shaedance Facey – Miss Interlinc Communications, Pickqueena Burrell – Miss PA Benjamins, Chantelle Bieisay – Miss Jamaica Pegasus, Kerrion Erskine – Miss The Mushroom, Justine Graham – Miss Jamaica Observer, Brithney Clarke – Miss Nationwide News Network, Dominique Shorter – Miss Fontana Pharmacy, Mauritian O'Sullivan – Miss Island Bridges, Toni-Ann Lalor – Miss Whitter Village, and Jamelia Rookwood – Miss LP Azar.

Jamaica's representative to the 2019 Miss World pageant, Toni-Ann Singh was crowned Miss World in December 2019. She is still the reigning title-holder of both Miss Jamaica World and Miss World.

Fifteen designers selected by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation will provide a mini collection for the Miss Jamaica World Top Model fast track competition.

“I'm excited about the designers. Each will prepare a mini collection for each girl for our Miss Jamaica World Top Model, which is how they do it at the Miss World level,” said Harris.

The designers include Grace Kelly, Janseen Graham, Mickayla Salmon, Saffron Brown, Lucien Harrison, Derrick Stewart, Ricco Vassell, Anita Alcott, Moses Fennell, Pebbles King, Lisa Kay Campbell, Tonii Dyce, Terry Ann Smellie, Romario Clarke and Mercy-Ann Copeland.

Both Singh and Julia Morley, chariman and CEO of the Miss World Organisation, will be in attendance at the Miss Jamaica World finals.

According to Harris, it has been challenging securing sponsorship for this year's pageant.

“One of the disappointments we have is that when we won Miss World in 2019 a lot of people said if they knew we needed assistance, we should've reached out and they would've helped. We reached out, we didn't get the assistance we thought we would. But, we're pressing on and we feel that it's most important to make sure we develop the young ladies, and that's what we're working on.”

The finalists were selected in July and have since undergone training in speech and deportment from the likes of veteran broadcaster Fae Ellington and Simone Clarke-Cooper, runway training by Jermaine Dyer, as well as social media training by Shane Bennett.

Said Harris, “We really wanted to prepare the girls before going public, making sure they were ready, and I think today they showed that they were ready. One of the things I am pleased about is the girls have come from all over Jamaica. Most of the contestants are rural girls, truly representing Miss Jamaica World,” Harris added.

BY KEVIN JACKSON Observer writer

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