By Aminta Kilawan-Narine
For the first time, the Miss World Guyana pageant will be promoting Guyanese diaspora applicants from the United States. According to the 2011 American Community Survey, there are over 270,000 Guyanese residents living in the United States thus, sourcing potential Miss World applicants from the U.S. is now a priority for event organizers. As such, Ravi Ramkeesoon, entrepreneur, was named as the organization’s United States Managing Director. In this capacity, Ravi will be leading marketing and outreach initiatives in the region.
Each year the Miss World Guyana organization tests over 50 candidate’s understanding of the world, their personality as well as their abilities in sports, debate, talent, multimedia, confidence and community service. Ten finalists are then selected and appointed to an administrative region of Guyana. On coronation night, one is selected by a group of esteemed judges to represent our country on the international stage at the Miss World competition. The overall winner will represent Guyana in Thailand at Miss World.
This year, candidates from the United States are encouraged to submit applications. Select applicants will then be invited to a casting event in New York City on March 17th.
“In Guyana, and the Caribbean region, there are very few platforms available that spotlight young women. Miss World Guyana is one of them. The brand represents female empowerment. We believe the event also serves as a mechanism to showcase national talent and can be utilized as a professional springboard. In addition, representing Guyana on the Miss World stage is an accomplishment onto itself one that will last a lifetime,” said Ramkeesoon.
On the Miss World pageant’s uniqueness, Ramkeeson said that “the Miss World brand overall embodies the idea of multi-dimensional beauty. It isn’t only a question of physical features. It’s also about talent, education, poise, athleticism and community service.” The winner therefore, would be someone that embodies each of these types of “beauty” – inner and outer. As for whether pageants are often misunderstood, Ramkeeson stated that while some people associate pageants with bikini contests to be honest, that notion is outdated. “The ideal winner would be Wonder Woman and that’s the type of young woman we’re asking to apply,” Ramkeeson highlighted.
Guyana has had tremendous recent success on the Miss World stage including top 10 overall finishes by Rafieya Hussain in London in 2014 and Lisa Punch in China in 2015. Perhaps the most notable success story on the Miss World stage can be attributed to Shakira Baksh (Caine) who represented Guyana at Miss World in 1967 and finished third overall. She then launched her career in modeling in London and appeared in films such as The Man Who Would be King alongside Sean Connery and Michael Caine.
Reigning Miss World Guyana winner, Ambika Ramaraj said upon winning the crown, “I was overwhelmed to be honest; there was a combination of shock, of relief, joy, anticipation of what comes next. I was just kind of saying in my mind ‘Is this real? Did I really do this?’ I was so grateful in that moment; the work that myself, my family and supporters put in had paid off, and I now had an opportunity to advocate for a cause that I wouldn’t have been able to advocate for on the scale that I did.” Ramaraj continued to indicate that one of the most rewarding things of being Miss World Guyana, was the opportunity she had to highlight the importance of mental and physical health.
Guyana has still however, not crowned an overall winner in its history. Perhaps 2019 is the year to change that.
THE DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS is March 10th
Website and applicant form below:
· Website: www.missworldguyana.gy
· Application link: https://form.jotform.com/missworldguyana/miss-guyana-2019-semi-finalist-entr
· Key Criteria: Any 17-26 year old, natural born female who has at least one Guyanese born parent, who possesses good moral character poise and charm should apply.