Twenty-five-year-old Berbician stunner Faydeha Cathylyna King won the Miss Black San International title on April 1, when she competed against eight other young women in the Sandy Point Town of St Kitts, also winning three of the four categories.

Last year this time, Xamiera Kippins had won Guyana its first Black San crown and done a clean sweep of winning all the categories. This year she happily crowned a fellow Guyanese.

In a sit down with The Scene, the queen expressed her joy at winning the crown adding that it has always been a dream for her to win an international crown.

The Skeldon tomboy who can easily climb a coconut tree, has no problem strutting in six-inch heels. The Miss Black San Pageant was not her first and she has been known to finish as queen or a runner-up most of the time.

To date Faydeha has competed in ten pageants locally and in the Caribbean. She made her debut in the Skeldon High Pageant which she won. Later, she participated in the Miss Corriverton Pageant (Queen), Miss Region Six (Queen), Miss Jamzone 2013 (first runner-up), Miss Bartica Regatta 2013 (Queen), Miss Universe Guyana 2015 (second runner-up), Miss Caribbean Culture Guyana (Queen) and Miss Global International Guyana (second runner-up).

“Growing up I always saw pageantry as a pretty girl thing and never saw the intelligent part of it, but when I got into pageantry I realize that people underestimate it. For you to be a part of pageantry you always need to be on your toes. Most of the times the girls to contest the pageant have to have a big heart because we advocate for the less fortunate, abuse victims and other issues that need to heard,” Faydeha said.

The queen who once attended Corriverton Primary had upon writing the Secondary School Entrance Examinations secured a spot at Queen’s College but because of financial difficulties attended for only a year. She completed her secondary education at Skeldon High.

As mentioned earlier, winning an international crown had always been a dream of Faydeha’s but because of the investment that comes with entering pageants she had long given up. In fact, according to the Aquarius beauty, she realized that she was investing way more than she was getting out of it so she settled for the runway, another passion she had fantasized about for a long time. She worked closely with Traits Model Management. Then in December, when Faydeha was part of the launching of the Guyana Carnival at the Marriott Hotel, top designer Randy Madray, who was responsible for recruiting a representative from Guyana for the Black San Pageant, ran into her and insisted that she be Guyana’s representative. Faydeha was reluctant at first but Randy persisted, and she gave in.

“When Randy sees something in you, he’s usually right. He has a knack for recognizing these things. Many of the girls that he would have worked with would have climbed the ladder in pageantry or modelling,” she said.

After this, training began. Although some of the training was done in Guyana, most of it was done in St Kitts. The routine, Faydeha noted, was much different from Guyana’s strut, stop and pose. It included spins, and a “kind of a jump”. She had initially showed up to attend the preliminary activities leading up to the big night but found herself in some rigid training. Most days she was taken up with activities where the contestants met ministers of St Kitts and other prominent people but as night stepped in training began. Faydeha said that sometimes she got back to her room around eight at night, managed an hour of sleep, then trained until three or four in the morning.

The young woman noted that on pageant night she realized that she was one of the crowd’s favourites. This pageant, she said, motivated her to never give up on her dreams. The Black San Pageant’s categories were Identical Swimwear, Vintage Swimwear, Creative/Top-Model and Battle of the Brushes. Faydeha won the last three categories. Randy who was the official designer was the artist to take on the Battle of the Brushes Category where he depicted through his art the Golden Frog found at the Kaieteur Falls.

To persons wanting to enter pageants but not sure, Faydeha shared that if one can see onself having the qualities for such and capable of taking on the responsibilities they should go ahead. “Definitely pageantry isn’t just about being a beauty ambassador but finding your passion and advocating for people and highlighting issues. It is also a fun way to get into the spotlight.”

She added to this her favourite quote: ‘Life doesn’t have a remote so you have to get up and change it yourself’, a saying she tries to live by.

Pageants have benefits, Faydeha shared, like travelling, meeting new people, being exposed to different people and their cultures. It was pageantry that led to Faydeha wanting to become a social scientist having advocate for delinquent children and victims of domestic abuse. She worked along also at the Sophia Training Centre.

Now that the queen is back home she can return to her life here where she is a final-year student at the University of Guyana just completing her studies in Social Work and a first-year student doing her Master’s in Psychology. Faydeha and two of her friends just recently set up ‘Family Life Connections’ on Brickdam in the YMCA compound. The project seeks to help persons who are abused in anyway, need counselling, are affected by mental illnesses, have domestic issues and need help with family planning. Family Life Connections also networks for persons wanting jobs, directing and applying for persons seeking to learn new skills. However, because Faydeha and another colleague are still at university the building is not always open, but she encourages persons to give them a call and once a meeting time is set, they will be there to offer whatever help they can.

Through this pageant she has learnt more on poise, etiquette and body language and gestures, Faydeha added.

Having a love for height, she had the opportunity of making another dream come true, which was zip lining.

The queen’s inspirations are Meleesa Payne and Caribbean Next Top Model Producer, Wendy Fitzwilliam. But the biggest would be former US first lady, Michelle Obama. “I’m so inspired by her. I listen to her every morning on YouTube. She tells you how to overcome challenges in life and that you need to continue pushing.”

Faydeha hopes that her business will be one that will make an impact on the people of Guyana and will be a household name in soon time to come. If things go as planned, then she will be hosting a pageant in her hometown.

Faydeha took the opportunity to acknowledge: AH Consultancy, Tariq Drew, Wycliffe Clarke and Vickell Edwards, Tiffany Richards, Jevon Romney and Jackiema Flemming, all of St Kitts, who have been of great help to her. “I’d also like to thank my mom Carol Melville, my friend who I call my angel Odessa Moffatt, my two sisters Jamillah Jones and Tekesia Taylor and the past queen Xamiera Kippins; she has been nothing but nice to me. I want to thank my sponsors as well: Traits Model Management, Zoon, That Look Boutique, 592 Dresses, Shamar Hescott Photography, Randy Madray, Rose Blush Makeup Artistry and Cuteness Glow Salon and Spa.”

Faydeha along with her crown won a cash prize of a US$1,000 along with other consolation prizes. Coming in at second, third and fourth places respectively for the Black San Pageant were Trinidad and Tobago, St Martin and St Kitts and Nevis.

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