At least one of this year’s Miss Universe contestants is eager to form a lasting partnership with her Barbados competitor.
Insisting that the annual glitzy affair was more than attractive women parading on stage, Miss Universe Jamaica 2019 Iana Tickle Garcia said while she understands she was in a competition, she was very interested in forming lasting friendships with the other contestants.
Congratulating Miss Barbados Universe 2019 Shanel Ifill on her win, Tickle Garcia said she already spoke to her and was looking forward to meeting her face-to-face as they compete for the coveted crown.
“I spoke to Miss Universe Barbados this week. She is absolutely beautiful, and I can’t wait to meet her and the rest of the competitors,” she said.
Insisting that she was seeking to form lasting relationships with the other beauty queens, Tickle Garcia said she considered her Barbados counterpart her “sister”. She said forming ties with Miss Universe Barbados and other contestants will give her an opportunity to have a friendship beyond the competition. “It is a friendship to last for a lifetime. I can hardly wait for it,” she said.
Tickle Garcia, who has been busy promoting her homeland since capturing the title at the end of August, was speaking to Bajan Vibes on the side-lines of the opening of the annual Jamaica Product Exchange 2019 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Monday night.
The 19-year-old said the just over one-week journey has been one of learning and connecting with the other contestants and fans, adding that leading up to the August 31 competition, she did not have any expectation of winning. “But if I had any expectations, it would have surpassed it completely,” she quipped.
The Jamaican beauty, who hails from the western parish of St James, won from a pool of 18 contestants. She said she wants people to stop viewing Miss Universe as a competition that focuses on “outer beauty”.
“It is about bringing out the inner beauty, making sure you are well – your appearance and emotion are all in check and we are all good representatives for our country on all levels,” she said.
“I enter it for personal growth and development. It is much more than what people see on the outside. People tend to judge beauty pageants because they only look at the glamorous side of it, but it helps you to become a dedicated person, it helps you to become a passionate person, and it helps you to become an altruistic person. So, it means a lot to me because it brings out a side of you that you never knew. It makes you level up and empower others and do your best to help others,” she explained.
Garcia, who has been accepted to study International Relations and Law at the University of the West Indies (UWI), said so far, she has been training hard to master her interaction, walk and talk as she prepares to capture the coveted Miss Universe 2019 title.
She said the best part of being the 2019 Miss Universe Jamaica so far was her interaction with people. The most challenging part was doing public speaking and overcoming her “fear of public speaking”.
“I am from a small community. I was never able to branch out, and this competition is giving me the ability to do so,” she said.
As at September 10, 69 contestants were confirmed for the Miss Universe competition. A venue has not yet been confirmed.
The 20-year-old Miss Universe Barbados captured her crown last Saturday from a field of nine contestants. She is currently pursuing studies at the UWI. (MM)