Velonique is Miss Kgn and St Andrew
Velonique Bowen (centre), Miss Kingston and St Andrew Festival Queen 2022, is flanked by Seana’Kaye Wright (left), second runner-up, and Aaliyah Myrie, first runner-up, at the occasion’s grand coronation held at the Little Theatre in St Andrew last Sunday.

HER passion for the culture was the deciding factor that pushed Velonique Bowen to enter the Miss Kingston and St Andrew Festival Queen Competition.

Last Sunday, she emerged the winner during the grand coronation show which was held at the Little Theatre in St Andrew. Her runners-up were Aaliyah Myrie and Seana’Kaye Wright for second and third place, respectively.

“I entered because I am a lover of culture. From as long as I can remember, I’ve always considered myself a naturalist and I’ve always been at the forefront with anything pertaining to culture. I thought that by entering the competition it would prove the love that I have for the country and [it would allow me] to be put in a position to be an ambassador for the culture where I could execute some plans that I have to preserve the culture,” Bowen told the Jamaica Observer.

“I feel our youths are moving away from our traditional culture and more into global culture. We still need to retain some aspects of our culture. I also entered the competition for growth. I was a bit apprehensive to enter, however, I decided to sign up and follow through,” she continued.

Bowen, who copped three of the five sectional prizes — Most Culturally Aware, Social Media Popularity, and Most Aware — said her experience in the pageant was a rewarding one.

“The overall experience was superb. I met 11 other contestants who are so brilliant and competent. I had fun with the experience and we got training from all angles. I felt purposeful,” she said.

Velonique Bowen, newly crowned Miss Kingston and St Andrew Festival Queen 2022

Asked what she felt gave her the edge in taking the crown, Bowen said: “I must say, the other ladies were brilliant and very cultured young ladies. I think what may have given me the edge was that I am passionate about getting the title because of what I wanted to do with it.”

She has big plans to get the youth more connected to Jamaican culture during her reign.

“During my reign I want to bridge the gap between our youth and the older generation. I believe that the youth are being sidetracked by international or global culture. They are watching Netflix instead of watching Jamaican-produced shows or plays, and they also don’t know the Jamaican folk forms such as kumina. There’s some amount of apprehension to accept aspects of our culture. I want to use my skills as a communications strategist to meet them where they’re at. I want to use social media to execute campaigns to educate the youth and inform them of so many aspects of our rich culture,” said Bowen.

A past student of the St Andrew High School for Girls, Bowen recently completed her bachelors in journalism at The University of the West Indies, with a minor in cultural studies. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in cultural studies with an aim to pursue a doctorate.

She presently works as a broadcast journalist at CVM Television.

Bowen will go on to compete in the Miss Jamaica Festival Queen Competition, which is one of the highlights of the Jamaica 60 celebrations.

BY KEVIN JACKSON Observer writer

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