When it comes to local pageants Miss Guyana Universe has always been the most anticipated; there must be a great deal of pressure on the wearer of this crown and to a lesser extent, the Miss Guyana World title holder as well.

It has been decades since Guyana has had any real success at either of these international pageants – not counting the years that no local contestant was entered.

20140201boxLet’s agree that there is no shortage of beauty in Guyana. We have had winners at other less well-known pageants, but we have not made even the first cut in either Miss Universe or Miss World. Why do we keep trying? Exposure? Or do we have something to prove? In terms of exposure, so far it’s the contestant and not the country that gets any of that. And those who do get it deserve it because it’s obvious that they push and press and earn it for themselves.

The Miss Universe Pageant has come a far way from the days when married contestants with children (Miss India and Miss USA in the 50s) or underage ones (15-year-old and 17-year-old) or contestants who had not even won their national pageant snuck in unnoticed; or when voluptuousness was applauded. This is the age of technology where we live in each other’s faces, so to speak; anything not on the up and up would be noticed and quickly.

In some countries, contestants train for years in numerous local pageants and finishing schools before taking a shot at the big crown. For them, it pays off.

Guyana, on the other hand, continues to enter contestants who lack the slickness, the glibness, that extra special something that catches the eye and the push to be really noticed by the international media, but we keep sending them anyway. Why?

We’ve got to get to the stage where we stop sending contestants crowned one month before the international pageant with cobbled together wardrobes and no help or support. The only contestant in recent times who had a long period of preparation was Arti Cameron and it was by default. She had missed competing in 2011 because of poor organisation by those who were supposed to get her to the UK and subsequently competed in China in 2012. For all her beauty, poise and preparation, she did not make the cut.

Meanwhile, when crowned, local beauty queens are expected to reign for a year. Yet they quickly disappear from the public view, unless they undertake to promote themselves.

For instance, why is the Miss Amerindian Heritage not the face of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs? Shouldn’t she be touring the villages, settlements and reservations handing over the brush cutters, solar panels and outboard engines? Shouldn’t she be used to speak to her fellow Amerindians about the ills of domestic violence; to promote health care and the like? What? We’re crowning an Amerindian beauty just for the sake of it?

Also, why aren’t the images of Miss Guyana Universe, Miss Guyana World and others on billboards and in advertisements?

I could go on and on about every pageant, but I’m sure you get the picture. There should be purpose to these pageants and if the winner is to reign for a year then so she should, rather than be tossed into mothballs and pulled out again in time to crown the next year’s winner. We don’t offer our winners national exposure but we expect them to get it internationally. Yeah. Right.

Guyana has been at this long enough. It’s time to develop a real pageant industry and stop holding scrappy little competitions or give it up altogether.

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