After months of grueling practice, the night we’ve all been waiting for was finally here. The five contestants, Anika Chambers, Auri-Mae Thomas, Donella Blackman, Christal-Ann Downes and Akylia Blackman prepared backstage for the competition. The MCs for the night, David, Ayeisha and Jenielle along with the performers rehearsed. Everyone’s legs were shaking, nerves were rattling and the anxiety of each audience member filled the air as we awaited the beginning of this highly anticipated pageant.
The opening dance, expertly choreographed by CHTM’s dance instructors, Safiya and Tashawna, set the tone for the night, as it exuded passion, excitement and a touch of class. Immediately following was the introduction of each contestant. This was a defining moment for the girls as they had only one chance to make a lasting first impression on both the audience and judges. With confidence I can say “Well done girls!” Their speeches were everything I expected and more.
The Goddess Wear segment which followed showcased their creativity. Never have I seen such gorgeous designs and the best part is…they made their outfits themselves!! Each contestant went all out for this category and graced the stage with a triumphant glory as though they were saying to the audience, “Yes, I made it myself in case you were wondering!”
Up next, the Casual Wear segment. Each contestant brought her own style and flare to the stage as she modelled her outfit to the audience and the judges, hoping to prove that she had the best ensemble of the night.
Finally, my favourite part of the competition, the Talent segment! It began with a heartfelt and tear-provoking rendition from Anika of Jessie J’s “Who You Are.” Her performance was adjudged Best Talent. It was well-deserved if I must say. Auri-Mae, Donella and Christal- Ann all did monologues that evoked various messages for the audience. The last contestant, Akylia switched it up. She performed a dance entitled “Rhythms”, which was choreographed by Shanice Gittens, Miss CHTM 2015.
Adding to the array of talent portrayed by the girls was Mark-Andrew Coke. I don’t think my post would really do justice to the night or be complete if I didn’t mention his performance. Whilst there were other great entertainers throughout the night, Mark’s performance stood out the most for me. He performed “Troddin”, his own composition, as though he had been performing for years. It was truly amazing!
Ahhhh yes…next the swimwear segment. The fitness sessions done by myself definitely paid off for the contestants. My goodness did they “slay!” The swimsuits worn by the contestants hugged their bodies in all the right places causing the crowd to erupt in a frenzy as they strutted across the stage showing their toned physiques. The uniqueness of Donella’s swimwear, hand-made by Latifah Forde, worked in her favour as she was given the prize for the Best Swimwear.
The last garment segment of the night was finally upon us, Formal Wear. The girls came dressed to impress and they didn’t disappoint. The contestants all looked beautiful and well poised in expertly tailored gowns with intricate designs. Donella seemed to be a crowd favourite as well as a favourite of the judges as they awarded her another prize for Best Formal wear.
Immediately following the formal wear category was the most detested part of the night……the dreaded Question & Answer segment. One by one, the girls pulled a question from the basket and answered to the best of their ability amidst the piercing eyes of the audience and attentive faces of the judges. All the contestants gave intelligent and thought provoking responses.
It was time for the judges to deliberate. It seemed like eternity as we waited anxiously for the crowning of Miss CHTM 2016. Finally, the results were in….and they are:
Miss CHTM 2016- Donella Blackman
1st Runner Up- Anika Chambers
2nd Runner Up- Auri-Mae Thomas
Heartfelt thanks go out to all who worked so hard to make this event as memorable as it was. To our sponsors, friends of CHTM, performers, contestants, MCs, judges, choreographers, fitness instructors, modeling instructors, photographers, makeup artists, contestant support teams, audience, and everyone else I may have failed to mention – THANK YOU!
by Dionysia Andrews, BSc. Tourism Management, 2016
Photography by Keshae Bovell and Dionysia Andrews © 2016