Last Saturday night saw the sashing of the 6 contestants who will be vying for the Miss India Guyana crown and title later this month. The even32t, which was attended by some 200 guests, was hosted at the Ramada Georgetown Princess Hotel.
This is the second year that the franchise is being run by National Director Hashim Alli. The Scene this week reveals the ‘Sensational 6’ as they have been dubbed – Hemwantie Seodat, Diana Ahmad, Dianna Persaud, Rashena Hanif, Sandeka Rampersaud and Sharona Haniff.
Hemwantie Seodat considers herself to be friendly and career oriented; she is sometimes referred to as a bookworm. “Because of my experiences, whether good or bad, I have grown to be someone that society is proud of. Growing up in a Hindu household, going to temple, being a part of each festival, taking part in school programmes and attending Saraswati Vidya Niketan have all made me appreciate my Indian culture a whole lot more,” Hemwantie said. “The values that have been instilled in me will guide me always. They have led me to join organisations such as Nirvana Humanitarian Foundation and Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh where charity plays an important role. I was involved in many such humanitarian projects and it is definitely a joy to fill an emptiness or help someone in need. I received a scholarship from the Shri Devi Global Humanitarian Mandir in2015 to pursue my tertiary education. As such, I volunteered to teach at their computer centre in Tuschen to help make children computer literate.”
Hemwantie participated in the Miss World Guyana 2017 Pageant where she finished as one of the top five finalists and was also the Beauty With a Purpose winner. Currently, she is a final-year student at the University of Guyana reading for a bachelor’s degree in International Relations. She is also the Vice President of the Hindu Society at the university.
Diana Ahmad was brought up in a humble, Christian home, as an active member of the St Andrew’s Lutheran Parish. She is an only child. Diana graduated with honours from the Queen’s College, with passes in 10 subjects at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examination, inclusive of 6 distinctions. She later moved on to the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination but left due to financial circumstances and began working as a banker. Diana has been in the banking industry for the past 9 years and is also a lecturer. With a packed schedule she is also a member of the Association of Business Executives (ABE) and the Institute of Commercial Management, where she has received Diplomas in Business Management and Project Management. In addition to these, she holds a degree in Marketing with the ABE.
Diana’s journey into pageantry commenced in 2015 when she participated in the Miss Universe Guyana Pageant emerging as the first runner-up. She is also a model and is sought after by designers locally and internationally.
Dianna Persaud is a determined young woman who always believed that one’s past does not define who they are, and it certainly did not for someone who dropped out of school some years ago. She returned to school and graduated with honours and as the valedictorian of Camille’s Institute, Class of 2017. “I also participated in Miss World Guyana 2018 and was honoured to be a finalist,” the 21-year-old said. “My biggest desire is to house less-fortunate children and restore their hope for a better life because they are the future. I have a passion for teaching and learning new things. The best way I express myself is through music. My motto is and quote is ‘Your past doesn’t determine your future.’”
Rashena Hanif attended the Al-Ghazali Islamic Academy, where she was a part of the Inter-school/Inter-class debate team and was in awarded Student of the Month in September 2014.
She then went on to study Pre-Law, Sociology and Psychology at the School of the Nations College. There, Rashena had a lot of life-changing experiences and opportunities. She took part in 2 service projects during her first year: ‘The Tiger Bay Service Project’ and ‘Sophia Juvenile Delinquent Centre Service Project’. Rashena assisted the children with their homework, played games and had discussions on social problems. Rashena believes that working with community projects is a good way for anyone to give back as they not only create an impact on those targeted, but make you realize that the simplest things in life can have a large impact. While still in her first year she was afforded the opportunity of attending the London International Academy in London, Ontario, Canada, to do a Winter STEM Course; School of the Nations College assisted students of London International Academy with their robot. Rashena has a soft side for children. In order for them to become the best version of themselves, they need the guidance and opportunities like extra curriculum and even pageantry to express themselves. Rashena has since taken up makeup artistry and her talent has blossomed into doing makeup for friends and photoshoots as a part-time job. She also enjoys modelling and dancing. Rashena has had the opportunity to grace the stage with JewanKaNritya Dance group and has done face modelling for makeup artists. Rashena says that if she is given the opportunity to represent Guyana in the international arena, she would work wholeheartedly with her organizers to bring out the best in herself and her country. She is confident that Guyana can win the title again and even bring home some awards as long as the mission is to showcase Guyana’s rich culture, diversity and
sustainability of heritage through their beauty ambassador.
Twenty-three-year-old Sandeka Rampersaud was born and raised on the island of Wakenaam. Being the youngest of 3 girls in a family of ardent Hindus, Sandeka attended the Melville Mandir where she participated in singing, learning to play the drums and harmonium; she also learnt Hindi. She attended the Essequibo Islands Secondary School and later pursued a diploma in marketing at the University of Guyana graduating in 2016. She is currently an employee of the Embassy of the Argentine Republic and is an intermediate linguistic student pursuing Spanish. Sandeka grew up listening to stories of how life was for her great-grandparents who came to Guyana to work on the plantations. The Indian culture imbedded in her was the fundamental foundation of her development and greatly influenced her to pursue Indian dancing. At the tender age of 5, she embarked on her first on-stage performances and to date she has won countless dancing competitions. She is a senior member of the Nachgana Academy of Dance. With her inquisitive mind, Sandeka wishes to explore every avenue to learn about her culture and its preservation as she continues her journey.
Sharona Haniff comes from the village of Clonbrook. The former Miss Guyana Talented Teen Queen is currently pursuing ACCA Professional Accounting Certifica-tion. Music is her life and she uses her talent to bring cheer to those around her. Sharona lives by the words of Shakespeare “If music be the food of love, play on”. Family is the bedrock of who she is and reflects the values that she represents. Sharona is an avid member of her local mandir and participates in cultural programmes across Guyana. She is also an animal lover and whenever she is not bogged down by daily routine, she spends her time volunteering with various charitable organisations. Sharona believes that through education and God she can reach her full potential, which will enable her to assist youths, children and mothers to develop their capacity. She believes that everyone has a special purpose and with proper guidance and encouragement they can pursue their dreams, contribute positively to society and become the best version of themselves.
The Miss India Guyana Contestants were sashed by the reigning queen Shoshanna Ramdeen.
The event, which was hosted by the current Mrs India Guyana Shivanie Latchman, lasted an hour and a half and saw the contestants outfitted in pieces by Colours of India each giving a brief introduction.
Guests of honour were Indian High Commissioner Venketachalam Mahalingam and the wife of the Prime Minister Sita Nagamootoo, both of whom made brief remarks. Mahalingam spoke about the collaboration between India and the High Commission. He also elaborated on the contestants participating in classes at the Swami Vivekananda Culture Centre noting that this will allow them to closely connect with their roots and traditions. Nagamootoo lauded the contestants for being ready to represent Guyana while having a charitable purpose. She also spoke about pageantry being the platform to have a voice but more so about the values and discipline that come with it.
Also in attendance were 6 of last year’s Miss India Guyana contestants, including the Top Three. In addition, past beauty queens – Samantha Singh (Mrs India Guyana 2016), Vena Mookram (Miss World Guyana 2017), Roshini Boodhoo (Miss India Guyana 2011) and Devi Ramcharitar (Miss Guyana Sari Queen 2008) were also among the guests.
Come tomorrow, this year’s contestants will go head to head with last year’s contestants in a Duck Curry Cooking Competition to see which batch will emerge the winner. The event is slated for the Everest Cricket Ground and general admission is free. Later in the evening there will be a grand cultural show put on by the Miss and Mrs India Guyana Organization. Naya Andaaz Performing Arts and Ishara Dance Troupe will perform among many others. Food and refreshments will be on sale.
The Miss India Guyana Coronation is scheduled for May 26 in the Ramada Georgetown Princess Ballroom. The contestants will vie in the Introduction, Indian Wear, Evening Gown, Talent and the Intelligence categories.
This year, the organisation has added a new initiative to the pageant to award 3 past beauty queens of Indian descent. The Woman of Substance Award will recognise the efforts of women who have uplifted and fulfilled Indian culture through pageantry and entertainment.
Meanwhile, the pageant winner will go on to represent Guyana in Mumbai, India at the Miss India Worldwide Pageant from September 7 – 12.
The organisation used the opportunity to acknowledge Amanda’s Bridal Guyana, Andrew Arts, Chandra Indian Fashion House, Ramada Georgetown Princess Hotel, Everest Cricket Club – Guyana, Colours of India, Saajid Husani Photography, Nachle Designs, Eye Candy By Mel, Knights Production, Kimmy Mohabir Stage Décor and Pageant Coach Alicia Bess.
For purchase of tickets and ticket locations, interested persons can contact Hashim on the Miss and Mrs India Guyana Organization Facebook page.