Saturday night’s Miss Teen pageant featured song, dance and a horse, all with a Cinderella-themed backdrop.
From the evening’s opening dance medley, featuring both this year’s 12 contestants and outgoing Miss Teen Jamie Rogers, the tone was set for a fun-filled night. The event also proved traditional chivalry is not dead, as Ms Rogers was led onstage riding side-saddle on a horse while Cadet Corps officers acted as the contestants’ male escorts for the evening.
Emceed by X107.1FM Morning Show hosts Chloe Hill and Dane Ramoon, the night moved along swiftly, with acts such as local dance crew Xcitement (who won the recent competition Got Dance?) providing entertainment in between the contestants’ segments.
Contestants for this year’s Miss Cayman pageant, as well as current Miss Cayman Nicosia Lawson, and winners from the Our Little Miss pageant also made appearances.
Contestant number one, Eressia Ramoon, took to the stage in a colourful striped dress with black top for casual wear, performed a dance for her talent and showed off a slim figure in the swimwear segment. Her formal gown was an apple green strapless design. At just 15 years old, Eressia was one of the younger contestants in the pageant.
Contestant number two, Gelyssa Rankin, showed off her confidence with a recitation of a self-composed speech for her talent. Ms Hill commented that Gelyssa reminded her of herself when she was 16 with her pro-women speech encouraging girls not to worry about gaining a man’s acceptance.
Tamika Buttrum, the third contestant of the evening, danced with props – never an easy task – to a Beyonce tune for her talent. She sparkled in bright pink in her gown and answered her question with confidence, stating that she would ‘exhibit national pride and stand up for Caymanians’ rights’ if she won as a way to share her Caymanian heritage.
The West Bay contestants were well-supported by the crowd, including contestant number four, Sheyla Torres. She amazed the audience in an elaborate costume during her talent, which represented the Cayman flag, as she recited a brief speech about ‘my Cayman’, during which she expressed her pride to be both Caymanian and Cuban. During the formalwear segment, the emcees told the crowd that Sheyla wants to be a vet, and enjoys helping out at the NCVO thrift shop and at the Humane Society in her spare time. Sheyla was given the Illiana De La Cruz Community Spirit Award.
Kimberley Bush, contestant number five, sported the season’s latest trend in a satin jumpsuit and gladiator-style stiletto heels during the casual wear segment. She sang At Last, a song recently performed by Beyonce at Barack Obama’s inauguration ball, and took home the prize for Best in Gown in a strapless, floor-length white sequinned gown.
Feliesha McFarlane, contestant number seven, sang Whitney Houston’s crowd-pleaser I Wanna Dance With Somebody for her talent and had the audience grooving in their seats. She wore a champagne-coloured gown as her formalwear choice and emcees explained that she was a Year 12 prefect at John Gray High School. Having recently graduated, she would now follow her dream of being an accountant and businesswoman. Feliesha was granted the Miss Personality title by the judges.
Mariska Lopez showed her moves in a reggae-style dance for her talent, finishing the dance in towering green heels. She was asked what advice she would give to young people in the audience for setting goals for the new school year. Mariska advised the crowd to ‘never give up, always do your best, even if someone says you can’t.’
Breann Wright, contestant number nine, won first runner-up at the pageant. She received a standing ovation for performing a tribute to Michael Jackson with a dance medley for her talent segment, a performance which was particularly fitting given that Saturday would have been the King of Pop’s 51st birthday. Coming out in a black jacket and pants with the trademark Michael Jackson white socks, black shoes and hat, she warmed up the crowd by putting on a sparkling white glove during the introduction to Thriller, before the dance moved into Billie Jean and You’ve Got to be Starting Something. The performance won her the award for Most Talented.
Mariah Wilkinson was also confident in replying to her question. She was asked if she felt that community service organisations have a positive impact on society, and she replied: ‘Yes, because they encourage our youth and adults to come out and live and work together as a community.’ Singing Hero by her namesake, Mariah Carey, for her talent, Mariah then awed the audience in a white and blue gown with an extensive train during the formalwear part of the evening.
Kristin Amaya, contestant number 11, won the Most Improved award, Best Smile and also grabbed the title of second runner-up. She impressed with a Bollywood-style dance for her talent and expressed her goal of becoming an obstetrician when she is older.
Sarah Gilman was the only one who managed to get the audience to fall almost silent on Saturday night – so that they could hear her sing and play the acoustic guitar for her rendition of the hit Taylor Swift song, You Belong With Me, for her talent. Sarah was given the Academic Achievement award and also won both the audience’s text-in votes and the judges’ votes for the People’s Choice Award.
The evening’s judges, Rita Estevanovitch, Luigi Moxam, Christine Connor and Rosa McLean, voted contestant number six, Jamesette Anglin, as Miss Teen, also giving her the Miss Photogenic title.
Jamesette was clearly the crowd favourite, with ear-shattering screams erupting each time she took the stage. Known island-wide for her singing voice, Jamesette treated the audience to a rendition of Beyonce’s Listen for her talent, while impressing all in her silver and midnight blue evening gown. Bursting into tears upon hearing the announcement, Jamesette appeared in shock as she was crowned and took her first walk as Miss Teen.