Brains and beauty on display at pageant

POSTED: 04/10/14 1:01 AM

St. Maarten – When it comes to pageantry, the combination of beauty and brains can make a huge difference between one contestant and another. Both, however, were on display after witnessing the teen and senior speech and cultural wear competition this past Sunday at the Sonesta Great Bay Hotel and Casino.

While the results of what happened that day will not be known until the night of the pageant on April 23, most would agree that all of the contestants in the competition sponsored by TelEm, Motorworld, Manrique Capriles, and DIVICO were articulate in their presentations, and those responsible for the individual tutoring sessions of the participants should be commended.

On hand to judge the five teen contestants and the four senior contestants was Zahira Hilliman, Shirley Serbony-De Boer, and Silveria Jacobs; the MC for the evening’s proceedings was Fernando Clark. In the teen segment, the contestants Juleeza Veldkamp, D’Shanay York- Mathew, Jo-Anne Galva, Gadisha Gumbes, and Diofanny Diaz had three minutes to display their cultural costumes; all of which were elaborate.

An additional five minutes was given for them to address the gathering on the single topic, ‘I Have a Dream.’ All of the contestants took the opportunity to display national symbols on their floor length outfits; however, some went through great lengths in the area of creativity.

During the speech segment, the young contestants all showed that age was just another number; they all did extensive research and had ideas of their own that they would like to see materialize sooner rather than later.

Kelly White, Carlishia Philips, Kenecia David, and Bria Sorton were the four ladies that will be competing for the crown in the senior category. Just like the teens, the time limit was the same, but they were all faced with a two pronged challenge:  Here We Are and This Is Where We Want To Go.

White, the first contestant, had a unified approach and was attired in an outfit interlaced with flags of various nations and a matching head piece. On her chest, White wore a sign with the letters, ‘Welcome To St Maarten,’ boldly written and beneath the colorful African print there was a small painting of the courthouse.

Philips, who is no stranger to the stage and pageantry, wore a white outfit that was made plates with edges lined with sequins, plastic forks and spoons which was also spotted with sequins and interlaced with paper napkins to make it look like roses. To compliment the outfit which was made by Jasmine Philips from Team Survivors, Philips wore a matching bow on her neck and another at the top of her head.

David, the famous tamarind lady, also wore a floor length gown with parallel spirals laced with paintings of the exotic fruit. The pattern repeated itself around her neck, on her shoulder she wore a giant petal and on her head, she wore a matching wrap. The dark brown necklace and matching arm band matched the color scheme of her outfit and complimented her skin tone.

Sorton, also took the opportunity to display a variety of flags representing countries from as far as Europe, North America, the Caribbean, and South America. She certainly was a genuine representative of a multicultural society.

While the approach to the topic at hand may have differed, the objectives were the same. They all  say the necessity for change when they look at where they are now and where they want to be in the next few years.

At the conclusion of the competition, the lucky winners in the U-Kotex promotions were presented with their prizes from the proud sponsors. The winner in the mature category was Tamara Groenveldt,  Carlisha Philips was the winner in the senior category, Kenecia David  and D’Shanay York- Mathew was the winner in the teen category and they each received $1000. Also receiving prizes worth $500 was Luciana Raspail and Juleeza Veldkamp.

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