Miss Cayman, Rebecca Parchment, got a taste of Asia recently, when she competed in the Miss World pageant, held in Sanya, a beach resort on Hainan Island off China’s south coast.
The month-long competition saw some 105 contestants compete from across the globe for the coveted title of Miss World.
Arriving in China on 1 November, Rebecca, along with the other contestant, was rated on an array of disciplines, including physical fitness, style, dress, personality and beauty.
Although Rebecca didn’t come back with the crown – the title went to Zi Lin Zhang, from Beijing, China – the trip gave her the opportunity to promote Cayman to representatives from across the globe, and garner a wealth of experiences that will last a lifetime.
‘It was a shame not to have placed. I would have loved to be the first Miss World from Cayman, but I am pleased with how I represented the islands,’ Rebecca, who was crowned Miss Cayman at the Lions Centre, 29 September, said.
‘The competition was really tough and when I first arrived I was overwhelmed. I realised I had to be at the top of my game.
‘The days in the lead up to the pageant were long, often from 5am to 1pm. But it was all worth it. I had an amazing time,’ she added.
Held in front of an audience of 2,000 at the Beauty Crown Theatre on World AIDS Day, 1 December, the glittering two-hour pageant saw Rebecca shimmy down the runway in an elegant gold evening gown, as well as take part in the opening dance routine.
‘I had a blast. It was such great fun, especially as I am a trained dancer. It was a huge adrenaline rush knowing the show was being filmed live.’
During her one-month stay in China, Rebecca took in the sights – including a visit to Beijing and the Great Wall. She also attended a series of high-profile events, including the Red Cross charity ball, where she auctioned off a set of Caymanite jewellery.
In addition, she took part in numerous photo shoots and was part of a music video, filmed for this year’s Olympics.
Rebecca also attended a series of fast track events, including fitness – in which she placed in the top four – beauty with a purpose, swimsuit and top model. The fast track events gave contestants a greater opportunity of placing in the top 15.
Beauty with a purpose gave the Miss Cayman beauty an opportunity to plug her chosen platform – going green and the environment.
A spokesperson on all things ‘green’ – Rebecca is currently working with the Department of Environment, Island Supplies, and Fosters Food Fair, to promote going green in Cayman, as well as working with local primary schools to hold a series of talks to schoolchildren on the importance of recycling – it is a cause close to her heart.
Looking forward, the Miss Universe pageant, to be held mid 2008, will see Rebecca return to Asia, this time to Vietnam.
‘I’m really looking forward to Miss Universe. I learnt a lot at Miss World which will really help me.
‘Visiting China was a real eye opener. The culture – everything – it was all so different to Cayman. Chatting to all the other contestants, about their homelands, values and cultures also made me realise how much Cayman has to offer and what an amazing place it is.’
Summing up her time in China, Rebecca said it was an experience that would last a lifetime.
‘It was such an exhilarating feeling to have had the opportunity to represent the Cayman Islands abroad and share our culture with the rest of the world. The friendships that were made, the experiences, and the lessons learnt, are priceless. I am proud to say that I represented Cayman with an honest heart, and I allowed my true personality to shine.’