Stunning Xamiera Kippins won Guyana its first ever Black San’ Bang-A-Lang Regional Swimsuit Pageant when she took to the catwalk in St Kitts on April 16, last. The 21-year-old beauty not only won the crown but did a clean sweep of winning all the categories as well.
The Black San’ Bang-A-Lang Swimsuit Pageant has been in existence for five years and was named after the rural community festival in the town of Sandy Point, St Kitts. This year the pageant broadened its local aspect to a regional one.
In an interview with The Scene, Xamiera let us in on the 411 of becoming Miss Black San’ Bang-A-Lang Regional 2017, how she got there and where she plans on going.
“I’m the first Miss Black San’ (regional) and I’m honoured to be a part of history. I’m very elated. The win was very surprising and it made me very happy,” Xamiera gushed weeks after she won the crown.
The former Stella Maris Primary pupil confessed she was never the “girly type” or the glitz and glam girl but found herself among the boys climbing trees and playing video games. She reminisced though of when she was just a little girl, and sat with her mother year after year in front of the television watching pageants and as soon as they went to commercial breaks she would run into her bedroom to practice what she had seen.
“I’ve always loved pageants especially the evening gown segment and always thought that someday I’d be a part of pageantry,” she said while confessing that initially it looked unlikely since many times she preferred to do what the boys were doing. Her first pair of heels like many ladies was her mother’s, which she often slipped her tiny feet into and modelled around the house. She was only five when she took to walking in them or at least that is as far back as she remembers.
Xamiera, who arrived in St Kitts last, said she had less time than the other contestants to learn the routines but worked closely with personal trainer, Alphonso Henry of AH Consultancy in St Kitts to prepare for the big night. She explained how frenzied it was, “The training was very hectic. The majority of the time we were training from late in the afternoon up until about ten in the nights and after that when all the other girls went to bed, I had my own personal rehearsals so I was rehearsing from then up until 3 am… It was hard work, it really was.”
A look at the pageant video shows a young woman confident in her own body who took each segment head on. Being a model, made strutting the catwalk much easier for Xamiera and when it came to working the various swimsuit categories, she put on a show for each one, capturing the attention of the crowd who responded with cheers and applause. Throughout she remained patriotic and made a show of highlighting Guyana from her feathered fans to her vibrant and colourful ‘Mighty Macaw’ costume embellished with a thousand crystals to the world famed one drop falls, the majestic Kaieteur Falls, clenched between her busts in a painting.
This particular costume stood out because of its colours. The length to which renowned national designer, Randy Madray went in highlighting every detail made it distinctive in every way possible; but it was Xamiera’s expert walk and her poise that made all of it come alive.
Randy, who was present during the interview, explained that he took the materials with him to St Kitts and Nevis and made the costume in that one week including the other swimsuits, one of which produced a sort of matrix-look and literally left viewers in awe. This particular costume won ‘Best Designer Wear’. Although this is the first regional pageant, Randy was no stranger to the Miss Black San’ Bang-A-Lang Pageant. He had designed for some contestants in the local leg and knew firsthand what it took to bring home the crown. He was also the artist responsible for the painting of the Kaieteur Falls as part of emphasizing a national pride and had just half an hour to finish. He added that they were to have a professional artist go along for the trip but because they were financially restrained he was unable to accompany them.
Xamiera first competed in a pageant last year. She won the Miss Fitness Paradise and copped other awards like Miss Bikini 2016 and Miss Best Legs 2016. She then participated in the Miss Guyana Universe pageant last year though she didn’t place. Her platform was ‘Establishing Positive Body Image and High Self-esteem in Youths and Adults’. She kept it as it was deemed the best suitable platform for this recent competition since it coincided with the whole fitness aspect the pageant was trying to portray.
Xamiera said that she views pageantry as a platform where women gain a sisterhood, where their confidence is renewed and found and adds that she has grown too as an individual since participating. The 5ft 9 inches model has come from being self-conscious, having once been taunted in school about her teeth and height, to now totally rocking confidence.
However, not much is being done for pageants she believes. She believes that should the ministries get more involved, tourism will be boosted holistically. The major challenge is finance and getting sponsorship some of her sponsors pulled out at last minute just before she left for the pageant.
She has her sights set on winning the Miss Universe title in a few years and becoming a business owner in the fashion industry.
In her online portfolio she mentioned a phrase that she seems to be totally loving and living: “I learnt that practice makes you better and not perfect because you can always better your best.”
This young woman is an epitome of ambition, determination, optimism and thoughtfulness.
Since her win she has been contacted to represent Guyana in other international pageants. Although it hasn’t been confirmed as yet and the list cannot be disclosed, Xamiera says she will be participating in more pageants this year.
Xamiera will be representing Black San’ Bang-A-Lang at the Caribbean, New York Fashion Week, faces of the Fashion. Among other prizes are a cash prize of US$1000 and the latest handset. Her other awards were: Best Vintage Swimwear, Best Designer Swimwear, Best Identical Wear, Best Battle of the Brushes, Best Top Model and Best Onstage Interview.
She garnered a whopping 885 points, miles ahead of first runner-up Seydina Allen from Haiti (797 points), second runner-up Cariela Liburd of St Kitts and Nevis (786 points) and third runner-up Roushelle Reign of Jamaica (782 points).
Xamiera is currently working on creating an organization called ‘Love Yours’ in hope of promoting her platform and it will be in the form of a mentorship programme for youths. She’s since worked with the ‘Boys Rock, Girls Rule Foundation’ and did talks on personal care and hygiene along with motivational talk at a ‘Just Youth It’ conference for the Come Alive Youth Network.
Her inspiration, she humbly shares, is her mother. “I’m mostly inspired by my mom. She motivates me in everything that I do. She’s a very strong woman and she teaches me that I should always go after what it is that I want. She teaches me perseverance and she teaches me that I should always have faith. My family is very supportive. They’re always supportive in whatever I do, they’re my biggest fans. I believe that they’ll always be there for me; I see that in everything that they do.”
Another person Xamiera admires is Maya Angelou. “…. I see a lot of her in myself. I feel like I’ve been inspired by her work so much and I’ve read about her work so much that it has actually become a part of me.”
Xamiera is a full-time international model attached to Traits Model Management and is a professional dancer also.
The former Bishop’s High School student is conscious of healthy living and prepares her own meals. At first she used to measure every bit to ensure she had a balance diet. She loves to eat curry and sweet potatoes and have more than a gallon water every day. She also works out five days a week and rests on weekends.
Her hobbies include: dancing, reading (mostly spirituality books and suspense), cooking, going to the gym, hanging out at the park enjoying nature and gardening.
Her pet peeve is people who chew gum loudly.
Clips of the pageant can be viewed on the Black San’ Bang-A-Lang Facebook page.