Take a seat because King and Queen of Barbados Talented Teens 2019, Kyla Ward and Christian Clarke, have taken the throne and centre stage as pageant royals.
During an exclusive interview with Bajan Vibes, Kyla, who is an aspiring graphic designer and musician, reflected on her big moment.
“When I heard I won, it honestly took a moment for me to process. I was in shock and that was quickly followed by relief. I worked extremely hard and consistently and I was so happy that it paid off.”
Aspiring earth scientist and teacher Christian Clarke said he was relieved that his months of hard work had come to an end, especially with a big win to boot.
They aren’t keeping all the winning strategies to themselves though. Christian said that he would advise any young person who has an interest in pageantry to just go for it.
“One can’t achieve greatness by sitting around or waiting for it to happen.” The 17-year-old explained that preparing for the talent show was a big task for him. The past student of Hill Top Preparatory School said it is really important to eat healthy.
“We had to do gym lessons […] and it is really important to stay organized and on top of what you need to do for each segment and all the deadlines must be met. Sometimes you just need to take a breather, collect yourself and go again. Staying positive is a big part of that preparation because sometimes things don’t seem to be going as you wish but in the end, things work out.”
When asked what the win meant to her, 18-year-old Kyla said the Queens College pageant she won in 2017 changed her. She added that she learned to believe in herself and gained confidence.
“However, I feel a greater shift in my mental maturity after Barbados Talented Teens. This win felt a lot more personal. I lost myself and found myself in the journey and learned a great amount of emotional control.”
The current University of the West Indies Computer Science and Electronics student said that winning Ms Barbados Talented Teen was an absolute honour. Ward explained that she now understands that there is a responsibility to represent Barbados in numerous ways.
“This isn’t something that I’m taking lightly as it means I have a platform to educate the wider society on various topical issues.”
King Christian said he is determined not to let the title define him and to remain true to himself. He added that he is happy for the platform as Mr Barbados Talented Teen to spread positivity, happiness and to show that young males in Barbados in 2019 can be successful in positive activities.
Queen’s College seems to have royal blood running through the halls as he explained that he is the 5th Mr Barbados Talented Teen in a row to hail from the college.
“I’m super happy to be keeping the title in the QC family!” While academics are important to Christian he said he also enjoys baking, reading, photography, travelling and his most recent hobby, graphic design.
“One of my favourite pastimes is doing geographical research and I can sit for hours reading through Wikipedia pages. One goal that I have always had is to work at the United States Geological Survey but I think that there is so much research in the Caribbean that hasn’t been done that I’d consider working from here.”
In the near future, Christian hopes to study in the United Kingdom and to attend the University of London to pursue an undergraduate masters in Earth Science.
Kyla who is all about the arts said she just loves activities which push her outside of her comfort zone and support from her family is ever constant.
“My family and friends were increasingly supportive, finding ways to assist me with preparations even though it may have been tough financially on them.”
She advised anyone interested in entering a pageant to just go for it.
“When I first auditioned for Queen’s College’s pageant in 2017, I had no idea how to wear heels or anything. I thought you needed to be in a pageant. I just noticed how beneficial it was for others developmentally and I wanted to try something out of my comfort zone. Reach for the stars because it is much better to try at something you are unsure of than to wonder if you would actually be good at it.”
Christian, the current head boy of Queen’s College said his family support was also amazing.
“My dad was responsible for building and organizing my amazing props and my mum was my personal manager. They worked to make sure that I was well prepared and had all I needed.” And this support is very important as Christian said he doesn’t just “like” pageants he “loves” them.
“I have always had an interest in attending pageants and have been to all of my school’s pageants since I was in second form. So having watched the people before me and then gracing the stage myself was definitely a full circle feeling.”
What is interesting is that Christian said he attended Barbados Talented Teens for the first time last year and it was there and then that he decided to enter the QC Pageant.
“My love for the pageantry and the industry has now transcended into a different role as I’m now working in the production aspect of my school’s model search – STARSTRUCK and QC Pageant 2020.”
Barbados TODAY certainly wishes these two stars all the best going forward,