With the Miss Holetown Queen of the Festival pageant just two weeks away, delegates are gearing up for what promises to be an exciting show.
Organizer, Vaneta Ward, told Bajan Vibes the 35th edition of the pageant will be staged under the theme From the Olive Blossom to the Pride of Barbados.
The Olive Blossom is the name of the boat which brought the first English colonial settlers to Barbados. They landed at what is now Holetown in 1627.
All 34 former queens will participate in this year’s pageant through drama, dance and song, giving a visual journey of Barbados from 1627 until 2017.
Ward, who has hosted the show for the past 20 years, described her pursuit to help young women to excel as a “rewarding challenge”.
Over the years, she has recognized the importance of getting the contestants to work together rather than “eat each other”, despite their different personalities.
“We’ve had so many different personalities but you have to have a strong will, understanding, maturity in order to deal with these [contestants],” she remarked.
“On the night of the show, it’s usually very important for them to still remain friends because it’s a competitive thing. You have to prepare them mentally and physically, so it’s a challenge but it’s a beautiful one”
One challenge which Ward highlighted was the question and answer segment which can be nerve wracking for the girls.
“What I’m trying to do is get them to be more confident and realize that a question is just a question . . . it’s your opinion so just answer the question to the best of your ability,” she said.
However, she hopes that by the end of the competition, the girls will be more confident, especially when it comes to stage presence, and the best version of themselves that they can be.
The reigning Miss Holetown, Racquel Harewood, described her journey over the past year as enlightening but also a bit challenging as she is currently a final year Social Work student at the University of the West Indies.
Among other things, the experience has taught her the importance of time management as she has become more organized with her tasks.
The 25-year-old admitted that she was hesitant upon entering the contest because she was more familiar with the fields of modelling and fashion. The difference in pageantry, she said, was how particular it was in the areas of stances and posing.
She dismissed the notion that pageantry is simply about long hair and make-up, noting she worked really hard along with the other contestants and even developed more as an individual.
Working with children’s charities and giving media interviews were among her duties as Miss Holetown.
Another thing she learnt was the importance of remaining true to herself amidst the glamour and flare of the competition.
“Everybody else is taken so it’s always important to be yourself. That’s the easiest person in the world to be. Yes, you can develop and you can change and you can grow but never let it come to a point where you are not who you are deep inside your heart,” Harewood said.
“I think that I’ve done what I needed to do. This pageant has definitely helped me develop as someone who’s really interested in working with children . . . child and family services basically.”
Harewood said she feels confident passing on the crown to one of the six “beautiful young ladies” who eventually will be crowned.
The delegates for this year’s pageant are: Miss Outhouse Solutions Inc. Kaitlan Marshall, Miss Golden Anchorage Shaunice Griffith, Miss Mango Bay Hotel Alicia Lloyd, Miss Limegrove Kamaria Abboll, Miss Jordan & Jordan Associates Linesha Drayton and Miss Superstyle Shoe Shop Leann Skeete.
The Miss Holetown Queen of the Festival pageant will be held at the Frederick Smith Secondary School on February 19. The pageant will be broken down into the opening segment, talent, swimwear and evening wear, the question and answer segment and finally the crowning of the 35th Miss Holetown.