At just minutes to midnight on Sunday, November 5, Cindyann Khan was crowned the new Miss Guyana Talented Teen, and Oshay Roberts the first ever Miss Princess Guyana before a large gathering at the Promenade Gardens.
Back on August 3, both pageants were launched by Director of Simpli Royal Pamela Dillon. They were originally to be held separately, but were later integrated. This was the first time that Pamela decided to have an open-air pageant, which she later said could have been excellent but would have to settle for a “good”.
The event which was scheduled to begin at 4 pm, did not get underway until 6.50 pm, finally shushing the noisy and impatient audience. However, the playing of the National Anthem was the last thing that was heard clearly through the sound system. Almost everything that was said afterward through the mics was inaudible making it impossible for persons at the back to hear anything at all. This infuriated most of the parents of the contestants.
To begin the evening’s proceedings, the contestants of the Miss Princess Guyana decked in white did an introductory dance while introducing themselves. Some of the contestants used the faulty mic while some did not. Contestant number three, Ena Joaquin, never had a chance as the judges stopped her to allow technicians to try and fix the mic she was using. But they then mistakenly skipped her and went on to the next contestant.
The Miss Guyana Talented Teens next filed onto the stage dressed in black to introduce themselves. However, they were one short: Gabriella Whittington had dropped out.
This led into the Talent Segment in which the princess and teens alternated. First was Naomi Pillay doing a dramatic piece; Lisette Glen did a dance that told the story of a girl being abused by a friend of her mother’s, burnt, but going on to achieve her dreams; Sheltisha Dawson danced to Mariah Carey’s “Hero”; and NaShava Thompson did an integration of a spoken word, “I Can” and danced to Whitney Houston’s “On My Own”. Ena Joaquin, in keeping with her Disney theme, danced to “Who I Am Inside” from the film Mulan; Cindyann Khan did a spoken word on Climate Change that talked about us destroying our earth and admonishing us to be responsible inhabitants; Nyomie Sampson drew all ears when she sat down at the piano and played and sang Chainsmokers’ cover of “Don’t Let Me Down”; Reanna Chase sang “I’m Every Woman”; while Kiara Jarvis danced to Poonam Singh’s “GUYANA”; Jackie Jaxx’s “Guyana” was sung by Melissa Ferreira and Oshay Roberts the youngest at eight drew encores and screams from the audience when she sang Katie Perry’s “Roar”.
While the contestants prepared for their next segment, the audience was serenaded by the new Miss Cultured Guyana Romichelle Brumell, but because of the technical difficulties not all could be heard clearly which was the reason the next singer, Tiffany Bonner chose to sing Alicia Keys’ “Superwoman” on the lawn without the mic and instead of onstage.
Naomi, whose persona was Cinderella, presented the story of a princess who was always kind and respectful despite how she was treated by stepmother and sisters. Sheltisha, as Jasmine, was a princess who was a dreamer and one who stood up for what she wanted. Ena (Mulan) told of a brave soldier who fought for the honour of her land in the place of her ill father. Nyomie spoke of Pocahontas, the young girl who kept the peace between two countries. Kiara as Rapunzel told of a princess who was separated from her parents at birth but concluded that their patience and determination brought them together in the end. Closing the princess’s presentation was Oshay who spoke of a diligent Snow White.
In the teens’ presentation, Lisette spoke on her ‘Women In Medicine’ platform noting that there are more than 50 female doctors in Guyana and gave a list of positions in medicine that women have taken up. NaShava did her bit on ‘Women in Telecommunication’ and highlighted a few Guyanese women in this field. Cindyann presented on ‘Female Scholars’ in different careers and finished by saying “May we know them. May we be them and May we raise them.” Reanna brought to the attention of the audience, ‘Women in the Home’, whose value and worth are not diminished by their position. Finally, Melissa decked in romper, safety boots and helmet talked on ‘Women in Engineering’. Although she had a memory block during her presentation, she did manage to finish with a list of Guyanese engineers.
After this all the contestants modelled costumes designed by Paul Burnette and accessorized with jewelry by Angela Augustus.
A 15-minute intermission was filled with a cover of “Stay With Me” by Shebiki Solomon.
Soon the stage was filled again with elegance and glamour as the 11 beauties of both pageants graced the stage in their evening gowns and then answered questions in the intelligence segment. They each answered two questions.
Naomi said she will take away from Cinderella’s story, her kindness and how respectful she was. For her second question she said the most fun part in the competition was wearing her beautiful blue and sparkling gown.
Lisette was asked who she was and if she did get into medicine which area would it be and who would she emulate. She said she is a fifth form student who loves socializing and interacting and she would want to be a gynaecologist, emulating her cousin who is a doctor at the Diamond Hospital.
Sheltisha was asked which part of the pageant she hated the most and if she was Jasmine, what would she do differently. She replied that she hated being shouted at during the training when she didn’t get something right, but added that it has made her a stronger and better person. For her second question she answered that if she was Jasmine she would stand up to her father, follow her heart and respect herself.
NaSahava’s question had to do with why she would want to have a career in the oil and gas sector. She said she wanted to do so to break the stereotype of men only being engineers and to her next question surrounding how women have helped in telecommunication, she stated that women have made great strides and have been able to create high speed internet at a faster rate.
Ena was asked what she learnt from the pageant preparation, to list Mulan’s friends and say how they helped her. She said she learnt from her character to believe in her dreams and follow them. She gave a list of Mulan’s friends and said that they saved China from its enemies.
Cindyann was asked to tell of one of her flaw and how it has helped her to which she said her flaws inspire her. Her other question was if she did not become a doctor what she would want to as a career instead. She replied that she would be a doctor, so she can help the sick.
Nyomie was asked to share a day in her life and to also state whether they were any similarities between Pocahontas and the Amerindians. She said that her life is pretty busy as it included chores, school, piano and swimming lessons. She added that just as the British wanted to invade Pocahontas’ tribe’s territory, the Europeans did the same to the Amerindians when they came here.
Reanna was asked what she would do differently if she could do it over again to which she replied she would be more attentive and active. She was also asked which one area as a stay-at-home-mom she would want to do if she became one. She said it would be managing the household.
Kiara was asked to list her supporters and what Rapunzel could share with her to be a better person. She replied that her supporters are her two teachers and her mother and pertaining to Rapunzel, she would learn to be confident in herself and live her dreams.
Melissa’s questions surrounded her cherished memories of the pageant and which sector of engineering she was most intrigued by. She replied that she will cherish memories of learning to walk in heels, to dance and being able to talk onstage with confidence. She also said she would want to get into civil engineering as it deals with roads and infrastructure.
Finally, Oshay was asked about her best pageant experience and to list the names of Snow White’s best friends. She said her favourite part was singing and Snow White’s best friends were the dwarfs.
Once the judges had tallied up the scores, Oshay was announced the new Miss Princess Guyana with Kiara finishing second and Naomi, third. Cindyann was announced the new Miss Guyana Talented Queen while Melissa was announced first runner-up and NaShava second runner-up.
These announcements were much to the disappointment of many persons who thought their girl should have won. Many were not in favour of Oshay winning the crown and said so. Many used slurs and indecent language to show their displeasure. There were also rumours of relatives throwing bricks at one of the judges’ vehicles.
At one point during the announcing of the winners, one of the princesses, Sheltisha began to cry uncontrollably. Persons notified the pageant director who said she was supposed to keep it together and that queens don’t cry. Persons were heard saying “Let her cry”. She was eventually taken off the stage by relatives.
In a later interview, Pamela said that all of the girls were told that there could only be one queen and one princess and that no matter how hurt they were, they were not to show it but to be supportive of the queen. She further said that she had no problem if one of them could not keep it together, but she could have left to cry in the bathroom or waited until after because although it was not intentionally done, it was stealing the spotlight of the winners.
She also said that this was the first time the pageant was done open-air and there were some glitches. She is not sure if there will be another open-air event, but says the pageants will continue and will be annual.
Cindyann will receive a computer, vouchers, and beauty products among other prizes while Oshay will receive a work station, a tablet and other prizes.
For special prizes Best Talent went to Oshay and Cindyann; Best Personality to Sheltisha and Cindyann; Best Gown – Oshay and NaShava; Best Presentation – Oshay and Cindyann and the Miss Congenialities were Naomi and Reanna.