The theme was Shine Like A Diamond, and the ten young women in the pageant organized by the National Disabilities Unit certainly illuminated the Needham’s Ballroom at the Hilton Barbados on Sunday night.
At the end of the night, Samantha Prescod (Miss Martindale’s) was deservingly crowned Miss Shine Like A Diamond, the first pageant in Barbados solely for women with disabilities. Prescod’s infectious smile and graceful elegance captivated the audience and the judges, as she also received the prize for Best Gown.
For her talent, Prescod, who is deaf, performed a dance to Rihanna’s song That La La La.
Best Talent went to Nakira Goddard (Miss Planet Fashions Inc.), who is hearing-impaired. She performed a beautiful dance to Concrete Angel by Martina McBride. Goddard was also named second runner-up.
What was impressive was that the majority of the ladies who were hearing-impaired or deaf performed dances for their talent. This was facilitated by their feeling vibrations of the music through the wooden stage. And they did perform as though they could hear every word and every note.
First runner-up was Alicia Wharton (Miss National Union of Public Workers). The Best Interview prize too went to Wharton, who is also hearing-impaired. When asked about the charity she would like to work with in her reign as queen, she confidently identified the Homeless And Vagrants Society.
Wharton expressed a desire to help out the homeless by giving them food, clothing and shoes. She added she would also give of her time to improve their lives until they could help themselves.
The pageant, which was the brainchild of Roslyn Hurley, indeed proved that disability is not inability. Hurley, the Special Envoy For Persons With Disabilities, who has plans of making this event an annual one, said the Shine Like A Diamond pageant was just the beginning.
She also has dreams of taking the pageant beyond these shores, making it a regional spectacle.
In her remarks, President of the Senate Senator Kerryann Ifill noted that the pageant would allow the public to see there was beauty in all of us, and be also a reminder that we are all “fearfully and wonderfully made”.
The ten contestants, whose disabilities included hearing and sight impairment, Down’s syndrome and cerebral palsy, certainly left an indelible mark on all who attended, shining beyond their disablities like the queens they all are.