Under the directorship of Missosology Guyana (an organisation that says it is committed to pageantry in Guyana and its diaspora) the gorgeous Divya Yabindranauth was chosen to represent Guyana at the Miss United Continents in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Divya, winner of last year’s Miss World Guyana People’s Choice and Multimedia awards will be competing against contestants from a number of other countries from September 8 to September 23.
The 22-year-old migrated to the United States when she was 13 years old, but her passion for humanitarian work in Guyana has seen her travelling back and forth. From a tender age Divya had seen the struggles of people in her country and had vowed that one day when she was old enough, she would make a difference. Three years ago, she joined forces with Saving Hands Emergency Aid, Inc (SHEA), a non-profit organisation aimed at providing financial medical assistance coupled with pro-bono or subsidized medical treatment for families in need. As the Regional Director for Guyana, she assisted with finding treatment services, raising funds, meeting with patients (especially children), and interactions on a one-on-one basis.
She did all this while being a fanatic about fashion and modelling, following various pageants on the television and YouTube, but never for a minute thinking she would be strutting the catwalk someday. “I never thought about competing in a pageant before until two years ago when a close family friend asked me if it’s something I’d like to pursue. I took it as an opportunity to showcase my talent and to be able to give back to the community,” Divya said in an interview with The Scene.
This led to her competing in the Miss World Guyana 2016 Pageant. She described her first pageant experience as life changing. It allowed her to make new friends she calls her pageant sisters and to be exposed to their cultures. They were all able to meet on one level though they came from different backgrounds in society. More importantly, she added, she’s become a better version of herself and is a more rounded individual.
Competing at the Miss World Guyana also afforded her the opportunity of highlighting her humanitarian work which resulted in her being in the top three for the Beauty With A Purpose Project. “I was able to share my experiences working with patients who were in critical condition [with burns, cancer, brain tumour among other illnesses] and others who weren’t able to afford medical treatment and show the process they had to go through and how they recovered. In addition, I was able to raised approximately $1.4 million from friends, families and supporters through my online crowd-funding campaign to aid those in need of urgent medical care,” the queen said.
Just last Thursday, Divya visited the Shaheed Boys and Girls Orphanage in Kitty, Georgetown and distributed little bags of goodies to the children there. The Scene made that visit with her as well and witnessed the sheer joy on the faces of the children as they received their little packages. Divya’s face mirrored the children’s, knowing that though her gesture was small it was responsible for all the excitement and smiles. “My platform is medical outreach under the theme ‘Saving Lives; Bringing Hope for the Underprivileged’. It means a lot to me when I get the chance to help those who cannot help themselves. Being able to be a part of an amazing charity that can help those who are in need medical treatment is just so heart melting,” she shared.
This has also been a time of reflection for her where she’s been able to reflect on how fortunate she is and is more appreciative of what she has.
For the woman she’s grown into, she gives much credit to her family who she deems her biggest supporters and her backbone in all she does.
The beauty is greatly inspired by Bollywood queen and former Miss World Priyanka Chopra who she says is a true ‘Beauty With A Purpose’ and one with great compassion, selflessness and someone who contributes tremendously to her community and the world on a whole.
Divya, who hails from Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo was raised by her grandmother. Her education began at Vergenoegen Nursery School and continued through schools, Philadelphia Primary, Professional Primary School (PLC) and Comprehensive College. During her time in high school in the US, her determination and focus was to finish in three years as she desired to syndicate her junior and senior year in one in order to graduate early. By studying meticulously, keeping up good grades and remaining on path she was able to do it.
While in high school, she had participated in Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), a programme established to promote healthcare initiatives and to aid in the development of medical skills for students. According Divya, it was always her lifelong dream to become a nurse but the sight of blood makes her feel faint so all of that changed and her humanitarian work is the closest she gets to fulfil that dream of hers.
When asked what she believes is a most important attribute a young woman should possess, she responded, “Confidence. I strongly believe that confidence is the foundation for everything in life and it is our confidence, or lack of, that directly affects how we do everything in life.”
This confidently beautiful young woman is currently pursuing a degree in engineering.
At the moment her short-term goal is copping the Miss United Continents title and she has begun training which should become even more rigorous starting first thing next week. One of her main sponsors is Gold Palace which has been behind her since she first entered pageantry. Her national costume and evening gown will be done by the talented and renowned designer Randy Madray.
For hobbies the talented Gemini loves doing makeup artistry and belly dancing.
“Winning the crown and title of Miss United Continents 2017 means everything to me. I will use the opportunity to continue my charitable mission with the SHEA Charity in providing better medical care for the under privileged in Guyana. I will use this platform to showcase the beauty of Guyana to the best of my ability but more importantly, I will strive to be a role model for the next generation.”