beauty · Canada · Clothing · Community · Cultural Appreciation · Culture · Fashionista · First Nations · Heritage · History · Indigenous · Media · Modelling · Pageants · Uncategorized · Western Canada

Toast… Honouring the Past. Inspiring the Future.

I’m so excited to share with you the interview I did with Toast! The article is part of a throwback series done by Bill Stevenson (who doubles as the photographer). You can find the entire article on the Toast website by clicking HERE.

This shoot was done in June 2020 (following Covid reopening guidelines). I did not win the Miss Regal World pageant until August 2020 but Bill proposed the idea of having a Miss Regal World interview as a standalone segment of the throwback issues. I was honoured to be a part of this and to share about my Guyanese heritage, what I’m up to now, and my plans for the future.

In this interview we touch on the societal perspective on pageants, racism, and the importance of personal authenticity and how that is the key to success.

The featured outfits in these photos were created by Indigenous designer Faye Thomas. I encourage you all to research the origin and significance of First Nations ribbon skirts. They are rich in history and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a relevant photo shoot.

beauty · Community · Culture · Entertainment · Pageants · Uncategorized

The Scary Truth Behind Pageant Security

It seems that many state/provincial-level pageants are taking place soon. And some international pageants will be taking place soon too. Some pageants such as the international Galaxy pageants and Miss America have been postponed as a preventive measure to keep COVID-19 from spreading between delegates who would then take it back home to their state/province or country (hello second wave).

COVID-19 causes some logistical problems for delegates. For example, if a pageant is being hosted somewhere that has a mandatory 14 day quarantine on new arrivals the delegates have to budget for an additional two weeks of food and accommodations. Or they may have to quarantine after returning home from the pageant.

But there is a problem with delegate security that has been around since long before the novel coronavirus hit and will be around long after COVID-19 is under control. Let me tell you the story of when I was a judge at an international pageant. This is more so applicable to delegates who are travelling to another country to compete rather than delegates who are travelling within their home country.

This is a firsthand account of what I saw a few years ago when I was a judge at an international pageant. This pageant had delegates fly in from different countries across the globe, from five different continents. Of course, in order to enter the country that hosted the pageant they needed a valid passport. One night I went to the director’s hotel room and I saw two stacks of passports on her nightstand. That immediately made me uneasy. I asked why she had the delegates’ passports and she said it was for security because she would be held responsible if anyone ran off and stayed in the host country illegally.

I’m going on the record as saying that I do NOT believe she had nefarious plans when she took the passports away from the international delegates. Even still though, the logic didn’t make sense. If someone has the resources and/or connections to abscond in another country they could have a fake passport and fake ID made. But even with no ill intentions it was wrong to confiscate passports from the delegates who were coming from outside of the country.

Pageant delegates: LISTEN TO ME! Never, ever hand over your passport to someone. Keep your passport on you or in your hotel vault. Never give anyone else possession of your passport. For your own safety, never let anyone have your ID especially when you are in another country. Also keep in mind that your passport is not yours to hand over to someone else. On both the inside cover and the first page of my passport it is clearly stated that my passport is the property of the Government of Canada. As such, I cannot just give it to someone else. But aside from my passport not being my personal property, it is incredibly unsafe to give someone your passport. Again, I do not believe this particular pageant director had bad intentions when she confiscated anyone’s passport but there are some people/groups who hold fake pageants used to attract beautiful women from around the world who they then force in to prostitution or human trafficking.

I’ve competed internationally and when I competed in the USA the pageant director did not ask for my passport. She knew I was coming from a different country and would have my passport with me but she did not ask to hold on to my passport during the days leading up to the pageant or from the pageant until the day I returned to Canada.

Ladies (and gentlemen competitors), I’m one of you regardless of if we compete in different pageant systems or different countries. I’m a Sash Sister, Sashionista, Sister Queen, Pageant Girl, or whatever term you want to use. I want you all to be safe while travelling. I want each of you to get home safely. I want you to have a safe and enjoyable pageant experience. Fundamental to all of this is your safety. Do not give your passport or any other government issued ID to anyone. Before you leave home make sure to confirm in writing that you will not be asked to hand over government issued ID to any pageant officials upon arriving in the host country. Print out that email so you can show it to any pageant staff who asks for possession of your ID.

We need to watch out for each other. Please listen to what I’m saying. I know from seeing it in person that some pageants will ask for possession of your passport upon your arrival. I also know from personal experience that some pageants do NOT ask for possession of your ID. Be smart and be alert if someone asks for your ID. It’s not your property to just hand over and it’s not safe to just hand it over. Even if the person asking for your ID doesn’t have ill intentions, your passport may not be safe. As I said, the stacks of passports were on the pageant director’s nightstand, not even in the room’s vault. Myself and other female pageant staff had access to the passports. Did hotel staff also have access to the passports when we were out at events and appearances in the weeks leading up to the pageant???

National pageant directors: You need to talk to your pageant delegate about her safety before she leaves home to compete in an international pageant. Parents: You need to talk to your children about safety while abroad. Even if your child is a legal adult she/he may not be aware of the dangers of travelling internationally for a pageant. You need to discuss rights and responsibilities before they leave. Delegates: Use your common sense.

I wish all of my fellow pageant delegates the best in their respective competitions. May you be the best version of yourself, make new friends, have fun, learn about different cultures, stay safe, and return home safe and healthy.

beauty · Clothing · Confidence · Entertainment · Evening Gown Competition · Mental Health · Recycle · Reuse · Uncategorized · Upcycle

Do You Wear the Dress or Does the Dress Wear You???

With COVID-19 turning our world upside down, several pageant directors have made the responsible decision to either cancel their local and provincial/state level pageants or postpone them to a later date. As a result, a lot of pageant girls are selling their BRAND NEW pageant dresses. This is because by the time their new pageant date comes around the dress will be “last season”.

But does the dress really matter? Of course the length and fit matter. A pageant dress should be altered to fit the wearer like a glove. It should not be baggy or tight. It should also be the appropriate length- not too long, not too short.

I personally don’t think that the dress’ brand name or how old it is makes or breaks the Evening Gown Competition. The delegate should be the focus, with the dress being secondary. Let me give you an example: In 2018 I competed in the International Ms Pageant. International Ms is the top ranked pageant in the Ms division according to The Pageant Planet. I wore a dress which I had purchased in 2009 that was from the 2008 collection of a now defunct bridal fashion line. It was not my first time wearing that dress and I won the Best in Evening Gown Award! There were other delegates who were wearing brand new dresses, dresses that were way more expensive, and custom made dresses. But my dress made me feel happy and that happiness radiated on stage. The judges picked up on that.

Whether it’s in day-to-day life or on the pageant stage, clothes do NOT make the woman. How you feel and carry yourself is what matters. I still have my 2008 dress and I can’t wait to wear it again!!! Here are some photos of other times I’ve worn it.

2010. Holding the train.
2015. The train was likely down but is not visible in this photo.
2018. I wore the train down for the Evening Gown Competition at the International Ms Pageant.
2018. I had the train in a bustle for the awards part of the pageant.
2018. If I had known that I would win Best in Evening Gown I would have left the train down in all it’s satin and sequined lace glory.

And that, my friends, is the tale of a ten year old dress helping me snag the Best in Evening Gown award at a prestigious international pageant. That dress was literally twenty fashion seasons old! Clothes don’t matter. How you feel and how you carry yourself are what really matters. Sell your dresses and buy new ones later if you want, but make sure you’re always in the state of mind where you can rock anything regardless of what the people around you are wearing. xo

beauty · Culture · Health · Heritage · Modelling · Self Acceptance

Loving a nose that isn’t “beautiful”… An actress/model’s perspective.

When I was younger there were so many times I desperately wanted a rhinoplasty (nose job). I was mocked because of the bump in the bridge of my nose and the bulbous tip. A nose job was definitely on my To Do List. Now that I’m older I’m so damn proud of this nose! This nose is the product of generations of my ancestors who I never had the privilege of meeting. This is the nose of people who were taken from their homeland and used as indentured labourers in a new country. They were brought from India to the Caribbean and had to earn their freedom. If they passed away before paying off the cost of their passage, their children had to work of the cost of the trans-Atlantic trip. My ancestors were the poorest of the poor in India and wanted to make a better life for themselves in the Caribbean. They were oppressed in the new country too. YET THEY PREVAILED. And I have the privilege of wearing the nose that they wore!

Ultimately every natural aspect of one’s appearance is the product of one’s ancestors. Whether it’s skin color, hair color, hair texture, freckles, height, or WHATEVER else, there is a story behind it. If you’re of Irish lineage and you have freckles that you don’t like, think of your ancestors who survived the Potato Famine and passed their freckles on through their descendants; you have the privilege of wearing their freckles! Whatever the physical trait is that you don’t like, there is an ancestor who had that trait and that person has a story that you might want to brag about. Hate your hair? What about that man or woman in your family tree who started a small business and provided for his/her family while wearing that same hair! Hate your height (or lack of height)? What about that person a few generations ago who served in World War II and despite his height (or lack of height) he contributed to The Allies winning! Whatever your physical trait is that you’re struggling to accept, there is an individual or a people group that had that trait and they were pretty darn awesome. Think of their awesomeness and embrace their physical uniqueness. It’s cool that YOU have the physical evidence of being linked to that person in the family tree or in world history!


This nose may not be the standard of beauty in the Western World or even in India but it is the nose of my ancestors and I am proud to wear it every day.

Thanks to Sanja (StudiO 2:22) for capturing my profile in this pic.

Photo by Sanja Jovic Filipovic (Studi0 2:22)