Shannon Harris is the first woman in nine years to be crowned Miss Universe Barbados.
The 21-year-old shone brightly last night at the highly anticipated show held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre – the first competition since Jewel Garner was crowned in 2007.
After two hours of fierce competition, the international model signed to Elite Model Management beat out her 13 fellow delegates and walked away with $115 000 in prizes, inclusive of the coveted $10 000 crown.
Jamiliah Forde was the first runner-up while second-runner up was Christina Yearwood who also earned the title ofMiss Congeniality.
Harris was shocked, but ecstatic, when she was declared the winner.
“It’s a surreal moment. I feel like the crown belongs to me. I’m very, very happy,” she said.
The young lady later took to social media to say that she was “thankful beyond words”.
“I’m so grateful for everyone’s support on this journey. I’m excited for this opportunity to further represent my country. Most importantly, also to help teach, motivate and inspire other individuals. Thank you so much,” she wrote.
Harris’ answer in the question and answer segment no doubt helped her on her way to victory. The question: “The Miss Universe organization’s mantra is all about empowering young women across the globe to be confidently beautiful. What does confidently beautiful mean to you?”
Harris replied: “Someone who is true to themselves always, someone who is strong, driven, but is humble and compassionate to others because honestly, a great heart is most important . . . . Someone who knows their flaws and is willing to embrace them because that’s what makes them unique.”
The other winners in the competition were Melanie Thorpe who was judged Miss Photogenic while Anique Herbert, who was also in the top five, won the People’s Choice Award. Also finishing in the top five was Ukweli Wilson.
The girls and the audience were serenaded by singing sensations Nikita Browne and Jaeesha Samuels.
Franchise owner of Miss Universe Barbados, Brian Greene said he was very pleased with the way the night turned out and was happy that it came off without a hitch.
After a one-week break, Miss Universe Barbados Harris will begin the gruelling preparation for the Miss Universe show on January 17, 2017.