Shanel Ifill did credit to her nation on Sunday night at the Miss Universe 2019 pageant. Although she did not make it to the semifinals, the Bajan beauty represented well in swimwear, national costume and evening gown. Unlike contestants in previous years, Shanel was very visible throughout the night.
On Monday, after a very hectic and tiring few weeks, Shanel took time out to speak to Bajan Vibes.
“Miss Universe was the greatest experience of my life. I got to see my day one friend Zozi win, and that was super emotional. I literally cried on stage behind her. I was so happy. Ninety incredible women from across the world and we were amongst them…”
The local beauty queen was elated that she got to represent her country on such a world-class stage.
“I got to carry Barbados’ flag across the stage and over 900 million people got to see and cheer on our little island. It was my honour and I would forever cherish this for the rest of my life. Now it is back to work as Miss Universe Barbados for an incredible reign of service,” Shanel told Bajan Vibes in a brief and exclusive interview.
For the national costume, Shanel wore a rainbow back piece that looked like feathers, which she paired with a multi-coloured bodysuit and gold headpiece.
The 20-year-old is a law student at the University of the West Indies and hopes to become a human rights attorney. She also works with a charity that helps children with scoliosis, as she received treatment for the condition as a child.
The Bajan queen looked like a walking Bratz doll in this gorgeous gold gown for the evening gown segment. She wore a printed bikini with a blue scarf that trailed behind her like a cape for the swimwear segment.
By the end of the night, Miss South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi, was crowned the 2019 winner. She left the world with two powerful quotes: one from when she was speaking about herself and the latter from the question-and-answer section.
“I grew up in a world where women who look like me, with my kind of skin and my kind of hair were never considered to be beautiful. And I think that it is time that stops today. I want children to look at me and see my face, and I want them to see their faces reflected in mine…”
“I think we [women] are the most powerful beings in the world and that we should be given every opportunity. That is what we should be teaching these young girls to take, to take up space. Nothing is more important than taking up space in society and cementing yourself…”
And while some mischievous memes have been making the rounds, Shanel has nothing but love for the newly crowned Miss Universe 2019.
Minutes after the new queen was named, Shanel posted this on the official Miss Universe Barbados Facebook page.
“Congratulations to my day one new sister @zozitunzi on being crowned our new @missuniverse. You are deserving of being Queen and your black girl magic shines so bright tonight that the universe lit up!!!!!”
This was followed by two other posts on Monday. “What a moment!!! Two black women @iamolutosin and I standing behind the newest @missuniverse @zozitunzi another black woman, as the world watched in the closing credits of the live telecast scrolling. That is #blackgirlmagic.”
“When black girl magic makes you cry from joy as you see someone that looks like you crowned @missuniverse for the first time since 2011. My sister @zozitunzi won and I could not contain my emotions. I screamed, cried, laughed and cheered!!! What a night!!! What an amazing night!!”
Shanel is scheduled to arrive at the Grantley Adams International Airport on Wednesday. (IMC)