When beauty and brains come together, Dr Jamilah Forde would probably be the result. The stunning 27 year old, who celebrated her birthday just yesterday, is the epitome of an amazing woman.
This year, in a sense, the medical doctor created history, having entered the Miss Universe Barbados pageant for two consecutive years. Both times she was first runner up.
In an interview with Today’s Fashion, Forde said she knows that to some the decision to enter the pageant a second time may have appeared unorthodox but, for her, she just had to give it another try.
She explained: “I’ve always wanted to do Miss Universe Barbados. I hadn’t aged out at the time, still haven’t and I still had the dream. I’m not the type of person to give up. I’m not a quitter. I’m very persistent. And I didn’t see the point in not doing it and then wondering what if.
“That would irritate me because not having an answer irritates me. At least I had to know for myself that I tried and I gave of my best and that’s fine for me. Not trying that’s just not acceptable.”
Jamilah said although placing second wasn’t the result she wanted, “life goes on and I’m taking it all in stride because everything happens for a reason.”
“Life doesn’t change for me much following a pageant. Life still goes on. I still have my career and my patients to look after. I still have school. Life pretty much goes on,” she said.
“I’m happy that I decided to go for it again. I’m really happy with my performance. I know I gave of my best. It wasn’t the outcome I wanted but that’s life. Life happens and you just keep going.”
And it’s for this reason that she firmly lives by the philosophy, “Just keep going”.
She explained: “One thing that I would have applied so far that’s very pervasive would be to just keep going. I don’t like inertia or feeling like I’m stuck in a rut.
“If I’m too comfortable in my day-to-day life, then something is wrong. I just have to keep going. It’s not enough for me to just be enough. There has to be more. You only have a certain amount of years so you have to make each one count.”
Participating in Miss Universe Barbados was not the first time for Forde and pageants. She told Today’s Fashion she has been entering and winning pageants since she was 14-years-old.
“I started at Harrison College in 2005. I was 14 and I won that pageant. That pretty much opened the Pandora’s Box for me to want to do more of them. So I kept going. From there I went to interschool, won Miss Barbados International when I was 16. That allowed me to compete overseas in regional pageants,” she revealed.
But as much as she loves being on stage, Forde said if it ever came down to choosing one or the other, she would choose medicine because that was her first love.
“I think I could do both. But if I had to pick one or the other, I think I would do medicine full time for sure because it’s my passion and I love it. Modeling and pageants is something I do for fun,” she said.
“But I couldn’t see myself doing it every day for the rest of my life. I love helping people, interacting with people, having that level of purpose in my life.”
Speaking with much passion in her voice, Forde said she absolutely loves being a doctor and wouldn’t trade it for the world. “Love being at work. I find peace when I’m at work, which a lot of people don’t so I know this must be the job for me. I find being at work very relaxing, the only thing is the lack of sleep,” she said with a chuckle.
And given that she loves pageants which require being in front and interacting with large crowds, it’s quite surprising that she doesn’t like crowds. It’s something, she says, medicine crafted out of her.
“I actually don’t really dig crowds because I spend my whole day interacting with so many different people and seeing so many different people, that when I have my own time, I’m either by myself or in a very small group.”
In terms of advice to young ladies who would want to follow in her footsteps, be it in pageantry or medicine, Forde advised them to just be themselves.
“It’s so easy to compare yourself to everything and everyone in this world but just stay focused. There’s only one you, be that you. Be self-assured, be positive and be peaceful. Once you are self-assured, nothing and no one else can change you. Once you know what you’re about, then nothing can beat that,” she said.