It was as if the new Miss Universe Barbados, Lesley Chapman Andrews, had a premonition that she would be wearing the coveted crown last Saturday night.
In response to being asked “Where do you see yourself in five years?” in the Top 5 segment, she said: “In five years, I will be a former Miss Universe Barbados and a former Miss Universe.”
For now, part of her dream did indeed come true. The 26-year-old freelance marketing consultant was overwhelmed with emotion and cried tears of joy when she was announced as the winner of the competition. In addition to the coveted crown and title and over $100,000 in prizes, Chapman Andrews claimed the Miss Congeniality title.
However, as Chapman Andrews was on stage basking in her win and waving to her many adoring fans and supporters, some dissatisfaction with the judges’ decision was evident throughout the crowd. Many questioned how the judges could have got it wrong again by placing Dr Jamila Forde as first runner up for the second time.
Some were overheard saying, “How them could do that to the girl twice? I feel like Jamila deserved to win, I don’t understand.” Forde, who competed last year, told the audience in one of her responses that her reason for reentering the pageant was because it was a lifelong dream to hold the Miss Universe Barbados title and represent her country on an international stage.
Following the show, she posted a message to her fans thanking them for their support. “I was first runner up again . . . I just wanted to thank everyone who has supported me from the time I decided to re-enter until now. It has been a crazy journey and it’s over now and I think that God knows what’s best,” she said in a video.
Despite the disputed result, the nine contestants who participated, battled it out fiercely on stage and appeared to have a grand time.
Director of Media Relations for the franchise, Gaynelle Marshall, told the media following the show: “This had to have been one of the most competitive pageants I can ever remember witnessing. It could have been anybody at that line, it took somebody to dip their head and win it tonight.
“And that to me is testament to friendly competition in a ladylike way and also that they really wanted it. You really have to be hungry for it and give it your all. Your all may not be what gets you over the line but once you know you have maxed yourself out 110 per cent, there’s victory in that,” Marshall added.
Of the nine ladies who crossed the stage, making the Top 5 were Chapman Andrews, Forde, Shanice Mason, Che Greenidge and Shahida Lynch. Greenidge did so crutches and all. She was involved in a car accident on her way to a rehearsal but was determined to cross the stage.
She told the audience: “A dream of mine was to be in this pageant and this was not going to stop me. Once the organizers made sure I could compete, I went ahead.”
Marshall said she was truly proud of Greenidge who walked her walk and talked her talk. “Che always spoke in a positive light. Always about hope and never giving up. No one thought Che would have been the walking example of what she talked.,” she said.
Marshall added: “She really did walk her walk and talk her talk. While it was horrific for us at first to find out what happened, once we were sure she was okay, she said she was going to cross, we had to make it our business to ensure that she got across safely and so she could fulfill her dream and watch her dream come to light.”
Making the top three in addition to Chapman Andrews and Forde was Mason.
Other competitors were Mutamuliza Cutting, who took the People’s Choice award, Ta-keila Rochester who won Miss Photogenic, Alicia Trotman and Shadae Watson.