Pageant veteran Soyini Fraser won the Miss Guyana Universe 2016 title after stiff competition from thirteen other beauties on Saturday night at the Marriott Hotel.
Scheduled for a 6:30 pm start, the pageant didn’t commence until 7:55pm with an instrumental of the national anthem done by the Guyana Police Force on steel pans. This ran straight into the Introduction Segment where the fourteen delegates appeared in short-flared nude and silver coloured dresses. The contestants were: Malika Russell, Soyini Fraser, Iman Jaisingh, Odessa Grogan, Ariella Basdeo, Meleisa Defreitas, Ashley Cameron, Ayana Whitehead, Ashley John, Aysya Kelly, Rafieya Husain, Xamiera Kippins, Denisha Rogers and Keleisha Kelly.
MC’s Georgetown Deputy Mayor, Sherod Duncan and his co-host introduced the judging panel which comprised Uma Bux, Rosh Khan, Christa Simons, Donna Sinclair, Vishnu Doerga, Fatima William and Aria Hamilton.
Soon after, the delegates paraded in their Kandace Pelletier swimwear, each accessorized with a pair of illuminated butterfly wings while New Yorker, Serena Nicole sang ‘Mermaid Fantasy’.
The ladies had been judged prior to the pageant in preliminaries held a few weeks ago leading up to the competition. This included the contestants being interviewed by the judges and evaluated in the Talent Category. From the preliminary round the top ten were: Rafieya Husain, Ashley John (the crowd favourite), Xamiera Kippins, Ayana Whitehead, Ariella Basdeo, Odessa Grogan, Iman Jaisingh, Soyini Fraser, Denisha Rogers and Meleisa Defreitas.
After a twenty-minute break, the greatly anticipated Evening Gown Segment began where all fourteen delegates reappeared onstage, exuding elegance and poise while flaunting their gowns.
First up was Rafieya, a former Miss Guyana World, who worked a unique red lace bust and brown/black flowing leopard and floral printed gown. Ashley’s silver outlined bust and a red feathered-look of a gown drew ‘oohs’ from the audience. Xamiera rocked a semi-transparent, beaded gold piece decorated with silver around the neckline. Ayana enticed the audience with her black lace gown with a pale yellow backdrop matching her bleached hair. Ariella strutted a glittering blue and silver backless gown. Odessa Grogan presented a flowing pink gown with a pink/brown/gold beaded waistband, Iman elegantly displayed her simple but yet sophisticated white beaded-lace piece. Soyini appeared in a striking red gown falling in ruffles at the bottom (a Sidney L. Francois piece) while Denisha glided gracefully across the stage in her off-white beaded gown. The category concluded with Meleisa floating across the catwalk in a royal blue gown with a beaded bustier and a fish tail.
Serena returned to the stage performing an original ‘Geni’ doing a belly dance accompanied by special guest dancer, James. Soon after, James did his solo of a break dance and then it was the announcing of the top five.
Soyini, Rafieya, Ariella, Ashley and Ayana completed that list and each was tasked with answering two questions during the Question and Answer Segment. They were each given the same first question “Why do you think you should be given the opportunity to become the Miss Universe Guyana 2016?” Each got a different second question. Soyini’s and Rafieya’s answers eclipsed those of the other ladies during this segment.
Overseas artiste, Dublin then serenaded the crowd and the top five with ‘GT Woman’.
This led into the Awards Segment and then, Miss Guyana Universe 2015, Shauna Ramdyhan’s final walk and the announcing of the runners-up and queen: Ayana [4th runner-up], Ashley [3rd runner-up], Ariella [2nd runner-up], Rafieya [1st runner-up] and Soyini crowned the queen.
Other awards went to Malika Russell [Miss Congeniality], Xamiera [Fitness Month Award], Rafieya [Best in Interview], Ashley [Best in Elegance & People’s Choice Award], Soyini Fraser [Talent Award] and Ariella Miss Beautiful Heart Award.
Soyini is also a former Miss Earth Guyana , 1st runner-up at the Miss Guyana World 2011, Miss United Nations 2012 & Miss. Jamzone 2014. She is a public relations officer at Hits & Jams TV. The Miss Guyana Universe 2016 will be representing Guyana at the Miss Universe Pageant in the Philippines slated for January 1st, 2017.
All runners-up will be receiving a half scholarship to the New York Performing Arts Academy while the queen will be receiving a full scholarship. They will also be getting the opportunity to travel with the queen to special events held worldwide and they get to keep their Kandace Pelletier Swimwear. Other consolation prizes for the final five include Gaskin & Jackson bracelets and training for future pageants.