It’s Renaissance time again and this year 11 mature women are set to vie for the crown in what has become a much-anticipated pageant by persons of all ages. The Ms Renaissance pageant is billed for October 24 at the National Cultural Centre and this week The Scene introduces the contestants:
Excellence Dazzell, Delegate Number One:
Many may know this 29-year-old mother of two as Osiea Paris, Guyana’s representative at the 1997 Caribbean Song Festival in Barbados where she copped the second position. Excellence permanently changed her name by deed poll earlier this year after she had a dream. She explained to The Scene recently that Osiea means delicate and tiny and it was for this reason that she did not like her name. However, she did not have the boldness to change it. But she was finally encouraged to take the plunge by her husband.
Excellence, the administrator at the Philbert London Ministries said this is her first pageant, something she always wanted to be a part of but was never able to fit the height criteria. Excellence who also plays a part on popular radio series Merundoi said that at first she wanted to drop out because of the hectic schedule the pageant entailed but was persuaded by a Ms Renaissance fan. She told The Scene that the training is not hard, nor is walking in heels as this is how she makes up for her lack of height, but finding the time to practice is difficult. So far she is enjoying the training as it is educational and she is enjoying meeting different personalities. This pageant, she said, has given her a social life. Excellence loves peace and singing in her spare time. She will be singing on pageant night.
This mother of four is a confidential secretary at the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and this is her first pageant. Her decision to enter the pageant followed the bidding of relatives and friends and the fact that it was designed for the mature and professional women. According to Maxene, her positive outlook on life and artistic ability are aiding in her preparations for the big night. For her this pageant focuses on the positives, the cultural awareness, and achievements of the matured Guyanese woman and gives an opportunity to express the values, which had been extended by education, work and cultural experiences. Being in the pageant gives her a sense of purpose “even as it brings out my hidden potential and allows me to showcase my talent and inner beauty”. Unfortunately with her work and her academic studies she hardly has spare time but when there is some, Maxene likes to interact, sing, read, listen to music and dance. She already holds a certificate in Secretarial Studies and a diploma in Computer studies and is now reading for a diploma in Public Management at the University of Guyana. While she has confidence, Maxene admitted that getting that crown would be a challenge since all of the contestants are beautiful and all have the potential to wear it. She will be performing a dance on pageant night.
At age 29, Roslyn the mother of a six-year-old daughter has accomplished a lot academically and is still striving to achieve more. She had certificates in masonry and plumbing from the Government Technical Institute (GTI) and a certificate in Industrial Relations and Social Studies from the Critchlow Labour College. She is also a graduate at the Cyril Potter College of Education, where she also had some training in special education needs in disabled children. Starting this month, she is reading for a degree in Education at the University of Guyana.
Currently a teacher at Diamond Primary School, Roslyn a resident of Grove, East Bank Demerara told The Scene that she was motivated to enter the pageant by a former contestant, relatives and friends. She describes herself as a very outgoing person who loves to look at television, meet new people and sightsee.
She has visited places such at Lake Mainstay, Essequibo and Linden. So far, Roslyn says that she is enjoying the dance practices, weekly exercises and walking sessions. Like most of the other contestants this is her first pageant and she is nervous cannot wait for pageant night to arrive. On pageant night she will be performing a steel pan rendition in her bid to grab the judges’ attention.
A 29-year-old mother of an eight-year-old son, Monique is very excited about Ms Renaissance which is her first pageant. An analysis programmer at the Guyana Power and Light Company (GPL), Monique told The Scene that it was a former contestant who persuaded her to enter this year and so far she is not regretting her decision. According to her, the pageant is a plus for her social life and as a lover for fashion and modelling, she was not reluctant to enter. Another reason was the fact that there was no swimsuit segment.
At first Monique’s son was sceptical that she has what it takes to wear the crown but as time goes by he is getting more confident that she could be that person. This pageant she said is teaching her a lot about life in a fun way.
With this pageant she is learning the art of time management. The modelling practices, exercise routines, educational sections on various topics and speech perfection are what she is enjoying so far. She told The Scene at first she was nervous but “I can’t predict my feelings on stage pageant night”. Monique holds a degree in Computer Science from UG is currently reading for a degree in Clinical Physiology at the American University of Peace Studies. Her talent on pageant night will be a dramatic monologue.
The mother of a nine-year-old girl Pamela rose above her grief after her mother died in May this year and decided to remain a contestant in the pageant. According to her she now sees this pageant as an honour to her mother. “I contemplated dropping out but I remembered her saying, be strong and don’t give up. When you start something finish it,” Pamela said. This gave her the strength to continue her quest for the crown. A counsellor at the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security, Pamela, like her daughter, is very excited about the pageant.
She is enjoying the training sessions and is particularly pleased that the preparations are not clashing with her job commitments. As of now her daughter is her biggest fan and would correct her when she errs while practicing.
Pamela has been trained in hotline and face-to-face counselling and has a diploma in computer studies from the National Database Management Authority at the University of Guyana. She at one time attended adult aerobics classes at the National School of Dance and plans to return in the near future. Pamela said she is enjoying socializing with the other contestants. A former contestant in the Mother and Daughter Pageant, Pamela was crowned Mashramani Queen on several occasions.
A registered nurse at the Georgetown Public Hospital, Althea was always fashion conscious and had a love for modelling. In her teenage years, she was crowned Queen of the Fashion Elegance Pageant. Now the mother of two girls aged one and eight years old, she has decided to vie for the title of Ms Renaissance because she is confident of her ability to win. Like most of the other contestants she has found the training educational and at the same time she is able to “relax and have fun”.
The sessions in makeup application are what she finds most interesting as that is something new to her. Althea loves to read, cook, eat and make friends in her spare time. She told The Scene that she is excited but at the same time filled with nervousness as she is part of a competition. However she has the confidence that she has what it takes to be the next queen. “Everyone is on the same level.
We all have what it takes to be queen,” she said. This is a pageant that she would encourage mature professional women to enter because the training sessions are very educational and the pageant helps women build their confidence.
Forty-two-year-old Nicola is a field coordinator at the Ethnic Relations Commission and Ms Renaissance is her first pageant. A former media practioner, Waldron was inspired to enter by a former contestant.
She told The Scene that she decided to enter because it was a pageant for the mature professional woman, a category she falls into. So far, Nicola is enjoying the dance and exercise routines as well at the walking perfection excercises. She described herself as having ‘a serious eating disorder’ since her diet is made up of lots of fruits and sometimes vegetables. Nicola has excellent relationships with the other contestants who have all been supportive of each other. “I am confident, but let’s see what will happen on pageant night,” a visibly excited Nicola said.
In her spare time she prefers to looks at educational television programmes such as CNN, BBC, National Geographic Explorer and the history channel. Nicola worked in the print and electronic media but left since she felt she needed to channel her energies elsewhere.
She holds a degree in Communications from the University of Guyana and is currently attending computer classes. She is a proud member of Women Across Differences, a non-governmental organization which focuses on the empowerment of women. On pageant night her talent piece will be a dramatic presentation.
Yoland Moore, Delegate Number Eight:
Yoland on pageant night will bring her modelling experience to the stage. She was a model at the Guyana Fashion Weekend and the Genesis Fashion Show last year and this was her inspiration to enter Ms Renaissance. A trained teacher and the holder of a degree in Public Management from the University of Guyana, Yoland had found the educational seminars very exciting. She said the sessions which included talks on healthy foods and HIV/AIDS brought some awareness to her. She is also a certified dancer and will be showing her skills on pageant night. Yoland says all the contestants are helpful to each other, and she likes that.
At 32 years old, Latoya has found herself in a pageant for the first time. She had toyed with the idea of entering last year but did not follow through with it. However, this time around she was encouraged by friends to enter. Her friends are her biggest supporters right now and they will be at the NCC on October 24, to give her their full support. Latoya is a receptionist at the Eureka Medical Laboratory and Family Clinic and is currently a third year public management student at the University of Guyana. Duck curry, which she can expertly prepare, is her favorite dish and during her spare time she likes to watch movies and listen to music. For her the pre-pageant training has been hectic but at the same time very interesting. Latoya told The Scene that she is enjoying the make up sessions and the talks on a variety of topics including HIV/AIDS and how to manage money. She expressed the confidence that she has what it takes to be queen.
A freelance journalist, Claudette is excited about the pageant which she was asked to enter by a Ms Renaissance organizer and eventually persuaded by her daughter. She sees Ms Renaissance as a pageant that offers an opportunity to benefit from the enriching activities and the experience it affords. She told The Scene that it also adds “that extra finesse” to her total mature image. At 50, she describes herself as an “unassuming, assertive and humble” senior journalist. She believes it is never too late to realize or achieve your dreams as long as you keep your focus. Claudette has almost 20 years experience in the local print, radio and electronic media and was at one time working at the T&T Mirror and the Punch, an entertainment newspaper. She recently presented the First Look News on HBTV Channel 9. Claudette, as a single parent, guided her three children through to tertiary education ensuring that they became career persons. She is an executive member of the Environmental Community Health Organization (ECHO), an advocacy NGO in the fight to stem global warming. This grandmother of three enjoys reading, dancing, singing and gardening in her spare time.
Though the preparations have been exciting they have also been challenging, but Deborah has opted to stand firm and ensure she is on stage on pageant night. A trained teacher and owner of the Dominion House reading programme, she is also a member of the National School of Dance, Classique Dance Company and is an instructor at Dominion House. According to Deborah, a mother of four, it took a lot of persuasion from a former contestant for her to enter the pageant. For her despite the challenges, the pageant is a really interesting experience that will last for the rest of her life. She sees it as the platform not only to display the essence of womanhood but also cultural heritage and talent. Deborah has the confidence that she will perform well on pageant night but pointed out that it’s up to the judges. For her the walk routine is really exciting as it has brought out the lady in her, helping to improve her posture and how she wears an outfit. A specialist in phonics and reading and a trained teacher, Deborah like to spend time with her children whenever she gets the chance during her busy schedule. She loves food but jerk chicken and calaloo cook-up with okra and fried fish are at the top of the list. Her husband and children are her biggest supporters but she will be depending on God and “what I have” on pageant night.