Aquaila Rupan, who went by the stage name ‘Miss Buxton Spice’, was crowned Miss Mash Queen Guyana 2017 on Sunday last in what played out to be a very competitive competition where she faced off with beauties who fought for the crown ‘tooth and nail.’
In the end she held her nerve and won the nod of the judges at the National Cultural Centre.
The pageant opened with an indigenous group performing a folk dance, followed by an Indian dance. This made way for the costume category where the contestants paraded onstage in their bright and glittering costumes made by local designers.
In the swimsuit segment, the six contestants enticed the crowd strutting their stuff on stage in their beach outfits accentuated with feathered fans. It was model, Ashanti Jasper in her blue Randy Madray two-piece who secured the Swimsuit Award.
In the next segment, talent, five of the six contestants chose to do solos beginning with Gabriella Chapman singing a Juke Ross song, Younette Stepheny followed with “Guyana” by Jackie Jaxx, Romichelle Brumell, who did Pamela Maynard’s “Lost, Lonely and Helpless” was one of the best singers and had the crowd murmuring, “she could sing,” Ashanti sang “Guyanese Wine”. But it was Aquaila who bagged this round, taking the Best Talent Award with her spoken word piece “I Live Within a Queen,” which she wrote.
After an intermission, came the glamour of the night where the contestants modelled their gowns, portraying grace, serenity, and poise. In this segment they worked their way onto the stage holding masquerade masks to their eyes before picking up champagne glasses.
Gabriella wore a shimmering peach fishtail designed by Randy Madray; Younette, a blue and white satin gown
finished with ruffles designed by Nelsion Nurse; Romichelle, a black lace gown with gold from the neck to the bust designed by Mark Junor; Ashanti, a pale yellow gown with sequins at the bust designed by Maxi Williams; Aquaila, a pink and gold bedazzled piece and which ended in pink, white and a light yellow chiffon that was designed by her sister Natalya Thomas; and Janeil Cumberbatch, a red fishtail gown that was called ‘Scarlett Hibiscus’.
The stunner of this round was Younette who won Best Evening Gown and with her ravishing smile stole the Miss Photogenic Award as well.
For the question and answer segment, the host, Oral Welshman, provided each of the girls with two questions. The best answers seemingly came from Gabriella and Romichelle which were received well by the crowd. Aquaila, who stuttered in one of her answers, still managed to cop the crown as she would have garnered more points in the preceding categories.
Aquaila’s two-part questions were: “Give us a small quote that keeps you going and what it means” and “Describe Mashramani, comparing it to a Buxton Spice Mango.”
In response she said, “Eventually we’ll all end up where we’re supposed to” before explaining “That means to me that, at the end, we will fulfil our purpose. We just have to work towards what we are, whatever we think is our purpose, and follow God, and believe in God that He will lead us to whatever our purpose is.” In the second part reply as to the comparison of a ‘Buxton Spice Mango’ to Mashramani she responded falteringly, “Buxton Spice Mango is very sweet, and very spicy and it originated in Guyana. Mashramani is a Guyanese thing, it’s spicy, it is sweet, with all the different colours, the Calypso music that we produce. It’s entertaining and very sweet to everyone.”
During interludes the crowd was serenaded by Samantha Grant, Jada Harry (a contestant in the Junior Calypso Competition), Charmaine Blackman and Kenrick Cheeks and dancers.
The night concluded with the crowning of the queen; and because of the 11-year hiatus, Miss Indigenous Heritage Queen 2015 Shenica Ambrose crowned Aquaila as the Miss Mash Queen Guyana 2017.
Aquaila won an undisclosed sum of cash, a trophy among other prizes including jewellery and gift vouchers. She was also awarded Miss Personality. The crown was sponsored by Randy Madray’s Designs. She will represent Guyana at the JC International Mash Pageant at the Miss Caribbean Carnival Show in Antigua at the end of July.
Gabriella (was also awarded for the most ticket sales) took first runner-up and Younette second runner-up.