Pageant season

It’s that time of the year again when the air grows thick with competition and rivalry as a magnitude of pageants unroll.

Miss Bartica Regatta and Miss Linden Town Week were crowned during the Easter season and the Mother and Daughter Pageant concluded only last week. Miss Guyana World 2014 will be crowned in a few weeks’ time and Miss Jamzone Guyana and Miss Jamzone International will soon be launched. Mr and Miss Guyana Talented Teen have just concluded the application process; Miss Emancipation and Miss Amerindian Heritage are just on our doorsteps and before the year is out Guyana will be see the crowning of a representative for the Miss Universe Pageant.

20140118boxIn addition, other ‘kings’ and ‘queens’ have been selected: Miss and Mr Teen Guyana United Nations, Annasawsha Mann and Vincent Shelto have recently been selected and are awaiting sashing; Miss Guyana Earth Stacy Ramcharan was selected and sashed a few weeks ago and more recently Miss India Guyana Divya Sieudarsan was sashed.

On the whole, the average Guyanese no longer gets too excited about pageants. Perhaps it’s the overload that has underwhelmed us. However, since the more than 10 pageants listed above represent but a small fraction of the pageants actually held each year, given our small population, before long nearly everybody will be/would have been in a pageant. And the rest of the population will have worked at designing the gowns and costumes, fashioning the ‘one of a kind’ crowns (how many can there be?), taking the pictures, doing the interviews, writing the stories and yes, basically being underwhelmed by it all.

Few and I mean very few of the large number of pageants are well run. Years of poor preparation, both by the contestants and by the organisers are responsible for most pageants being of ill repute. We have all seen it year after year where organisers and franchise holders sign on contestants who are clueless – can’t walk, have no striking looks, poor diction, no poise among other things – and thrust them on stage after a few weeks of ‘training’. There they stumble, stutter and embarrass themselves.

Yes, the pageant directors who do this are unscrupulous, but surely contestants don’t just wake up one morning and decide to enter a pageant. So some of the onus is on them as well to prepare themselves from this year for next year’s pageant. There isn’t too much on offer here, but classes are available in hair and skin care, etiquette, modelling and perhaps a few other relevant areas. But one of the most important things a would-be pageant contestant can do for herself is read. (Here’s the thing girls: attending university and being an aspiring whatever doesn’t cut it. If you’re ill-informed, you will lack eloquence and you have no business being in an ‘intelligence segment’.) She should also research other pageants, look at body types, join a gym and volunteer – do something meaningful – her platform should not be something pulled out of a hat, or a topic the pageant organiser gives her. It should be something she is passionate about and involved in; otherwise it just comes over as rehearsed and fake, which it is.

There have been rumours too, about contestants who cosy up to pageant directors and franchise holders. Can it be worth it? To have a crown and a titles for a year and stigma for perhaps the rest of your life?

I’m no advocate for pageants, but I truly believe that the minute the contestants straighten up and really bring it, pageants will improve and the slack directors/franchise holders will be forced to run off fair pageants or give up hosting them. That might not be such a bad thing. (To be continued…)

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