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.
Last month (on 7 August 2020) something amazing happened: I won an international pageant! I am your reigning Miss Regal World! Yeah, this girl from a town of 700 people in rural Saskatchewan won an international pageant!!!
To say I was/am honoured is an understatement. The finalists in the Miss division were all remarkable women and I was honoured to be grouped as a finalist with these ladies. There were 56 of us from around the world in the Miss division and I was honoured to be a Top 8 Finalist. The finalists included an NHS nurse, a full-time pageant coach, a NYFW model, and a wide range of diverse individuals from different career paths and countries. The one thing we have in common is that we’re all passionate about our respective platforms.
My platforms were epilepsy awareness (surprise, surprise 😉) and education for girls especially those in developing nations (also not a big surprise). I intend to continue to act for anti-racism during my reign (no surprise to anyone who knows me in real life or anyone who started following me because of my platform as International Ms Canada 2018) and to support small businesses especially those hit hard by COVID-19.
I guess it’s taken almost a month to write about this because I’ve been busy and not sure if this is reality or a dream. I’ve won local, provincial, and national pageant titles in Canada before. I even represented Canada when I placed in the Top 10 at an international pageant in the USA before… but winning an international pageant is completely uncharted territory for me. I have fantastic sister queens in the Junior Miss, Teen, and Ms divisions though and our director is a wealth of knowledge and support. ❤ But any readers who have experience in pageantry at the international level please feel free to contact me with advice or pointers! I need to utilize this year with an international platform to the fullest extent.
Ultimately I want to use my crown and sash to bring smiles to people through either in-person or virtual appearances especially for epilepsy groups and small businesses. Even more important, I want to make a difference in the civil rights movement. I want to be on the right side of history.
I can’t wait to write another blog and spill the tea on some of the different delegates I formed relationships with through this pageant! I have so many happy memories from the day I was first welcomed to the fold back in April and new memories with these ladies are continuing to be formed. Actually, just a couple days ago a delegate in the UK messaged me to let me know that she was listening to Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) by the Backstreet Boys and thought of me! 🥰 I felt so special that she thought of me, all the way across the Pond 💕
If you’d like to watch the crowning moment announcement it can be found on the Miss Regal World facebook page. The Miss division announcement starts at the 7:15 mark. Crowning Moment Announcement (7min, 15s) And yes, you heard that correctly, I was privileged to represent my parents’ homeland of Guyana in the pageant. They both became naturalized Canadians years before I was born but I’m still proud to be Caribbean-Canadian and Guyanese-Canadian.
Disclaimer: Don’t @ me! Due to COVID-19 we did *not* have 125+ delegates (across the four age groups) fly in to the UK from across the globe for an in-person pageant. The pageant was completely online this year. Next year the pageant will be in-person. I can’t wait to meet this year’s delegates who will be competing again next year and next year’s new delegates!
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.
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