“A childhood dream has been realized and I’m so happy that I was able to accomplish this,” Miss World Guyana 2018 Ambika Ramraj said.
“It really feels great to be Miss World Guyana given all the work put into it for the two months prior to coronation night. It was something that was always in the back of my mind but what really pushed me [into participating in the pageant] was the need for self-growth. I was at a point where nothing was changing for me and I was tired of it. I knew the Miss World Guyana competition in particular would help me grow and introduce me to new things.”
May 25 was the night Ambika’s world changed as she reveled in the glory of the glittering crown on her head. It was a long-awaited moment for the 19-year-old model and former Queen’s College student. She had savoured it again and again but up until now, only in her dreams.
So as not to jinx it, Ambika had secretly signed up to participate in the pageant. Later, when she did share her secret, her parents were completely supportive. It was her second pageant, her first was in 2016 when she attended School of the Nations where she copped the award for Miss Photogenic.
Training, she confided, was a rollercoaster. Some days she felt as though she was making great strides and other days were deemed terrible, but she became aware of what her strengths and weaknesses were. Yet good or bad, she is grateful for the opportunity and said that having the other contestants, who she calls her ‘Super G Pageant Sisters’, at her side, really helped to make things less difficult. She had not trained with anyone for the entirety of the pageant. She did some work with Randy Madray, who was her official designer, as well and Keith Allicock, an executive member of
Traits Model Management. Together they were all trained by Niketa Campbell, but for the most part Ambika did training on her own.
Asked if she believed she was a front-runner, Ambika said this was an on and off thing for her since there were so many possibilities when it came to who would be queen. There was something amazing about each contestant that could have made any one of them the winner, she said, adding that although she knew she had her strong points reflective of times she was doing great and thought herself to be a front-runner, there were times she would look at the other contestants and see their beauty, intelligence and talent and wonder how she could ever compete with that.
Yet, she kept reminding herself to stay focused and that she was not in competition with the other young women, but instead was competing with herself to become the best version of herself she could possibly be.
In finding her best version she had a few gains of her own. “I’m much better now, I believe, at public speaking. I’m not as shy anymore about it. I’ve gained a hefty amount of life lessons… I fell down a few times, literally and figuratively, but I’ve learnt to always get back up and keep going. I’ve also gained a newfound love for classical music. We were asked to check it by the National Director Mrs Martindale, and when I did, I became hooked.”
Ambika had been playing sports for a number of years so this particular segment would naturally be her favourite, yet it became one of her challenges during the Sports and Fitness Segment at the Lusignan Golf Course. It was a rainy day and the grounds were slippery and soggy, making it much more difficult for the girls. Right at the start of the segment she slipped and fell but got back up and continued. But her mood was dampened throughout the other parts of the segment. However, she learnt from this and admonished herself that there was no reason one slip up should affect her performance afterwards. “I told myself, ‘you need to pick yourself up and push to make up for the slip up and don’t let it govern all you do henceforth.’”
Entering the pageant for her has been like joining a sisterhood and these girls would be a part of some of her best memories ever. Prior to the coronation night the contestants took a trip to Skeldon where they all stayed together in one building. This was a turning point in their relationships and certainly moulded and boosted their friendships. Ambika shared that this experience allowed them more time to talk and learn about each other, where they really bonded. One night they played a game of ‘Taboo’ that required teamwork. This engendered incredible teamwork and harmony among them.
Along with the crown, Ambika won three awards: Performance Evaluation, Multimedia and Top Model. In keeping with the international segments, contestants were evaluated based on how well they marketed themselves on social media, MobStar and Regional Ambassador’s Page. Following a series of postings, they were instructed to post through storytelling. Performance Evaluation was constantly judged throughout their pageant journey. This particular award saw them being judged on time management, communication, sportsmanship, administrative obligations and conduct.
Ambika did exceedingly well, as she also placed in the top three for the remaining awards, which included talent for which she did an oriental dance piece.
Leading up to coronation night, comments on the Miss World Guyana’s Facebook Page showed that the Aquarius stunner had a number of supporters rooting for her.
When asked what she took away from the pageant, Ambika had this to say, “Always be true and honest with yourself. Never try to be someone else, just try to be a better you.”
With regard to the Beauty With a Purpose Project, Ambika believes there’s much to be done and will be doing fundraisers in respect to this along with many other events to help promote mental and physical health improvement across the country. She noted that she plans on improving her public speaking skill, working on being more fit and everything else she could possibly do to excel on the international stage.
In addition to the title and crown, Ambika and with the other contestants each received a scholarship from the language institute. Other prizes are still being sorted out.
Growing up, though she was never a child who was glued to the television, she would find a seat in front of one whenever the international pageants were aired. Ambika’s dream to one day walk the international catwalk has finally begun.