Crowning glory for Lindsay

Miss Cayman 2011 says it was ‘amazing’ to be selected.

Overwhelmed.

That was the initial reaction of newly crowned Miss Cayman 2011 Lindsay Japal after she was announced the winner of this year’s pageant.

“About 300 thoughts went through my mind standing on stage,” said Japal. “You want to believe that it is your name they will call and there is a possibility that it might not be, so I just tried to take deep breaths while waiting in anticipation.

“I knew that I had done my best and had the crowd support. It was an adrenaline rush every time I came on stage to hear the crowd cheering me on and giving me that support, but it was still all up to the judges.

“I was so overwhelmed and blessed to have had the opportunity and the support, and it was amazing to win the contest,” she said. “I hope to make my country proud. “I am still on cloud nine and don’t know when reality will hit me again,” said Japal, trying to take it all in as Cayman’s newest ambassador who will wear the national crown and sash for a year.

Japal, 23, was selected from among 10 contestants and crowned by outgoing queen Cristin Alexander in front of an appreciate audience at the Lions Centre last Saturday night.

Janelle Muttoo 22, also a crowds favourite, was first runner-up; and Crystal Tomlinson, 23, was second runner-up.

Even Cayman’s Premier McKeeva Bush was there to wish the new queen good luck and other contestants for having the courage to enter the pageant, vying to represent the Cayman islands.

Japal also received trophies for Best in Gown and Best Smile. She will receive a $70,000 UCCI scholarship, a new Ford Fiesta from Vampt Motors, Cayman Airways tickets and a host of other gift packages.

Muttoo and Tomlinson each will receive a two-year UCCI scholarship along with Cayman Airways tickets and prizes.

Crowd support

By the time the official announcements were made, there were wild cheers coming from Japal’s supporters, many ow whom were waving placards. Japal stood holding hands with contestants Jadine Swanson, Hettie Ann Dunbar, Jessica Ebanks and Cassianne Lawrence awaiting the final results.

Lawrence impressed the judges with her stunning physique and put her best foot forward to win Miss Photogenic and Miss Congeniality.

Samantha Widmer was crowned Beauty with a Purpose as selected by the Miss Cayman Committee.

Interview portion

The interview section was taken in stride by all contestants. The question, “Cayman has experienced tremendous growth in the past 40 years. Do you think young people today have a better life today than 40 years ago, why or why not?” had attendees hooting, shouting and clapping as each contestant impressed the audience and judges with their intelligence about Cayman’s way of life.

Japal’s answer was: “As the old saying goes, noting is constant in life except change. I do not believe that youth today have it any easier than the youth of 40 years ago. I believe it is just different. We have been given greater opportunities and more advancement. However, we are obligated to hold fast to those ideals morals and the sense of community that makes the Cayman Islands the amazing and unique country we call home.”

The pageant, held at the Lions Centre in Red Bay, also featured the contestants in swimsuits, casual wear and glitzy evening wear, and a serenade by talented singers Papi Connoly and Jeffrey Wilson.

Miss Cayman 2010, Cristin Alexander, made her final walk, thanking the Cayman community for their support with tears in eyes while judges completed their deliberations.

Premier Bush took this opportunity to offer words of encouragement to the contestants, saying that all were winners in his eyes and worthy to wear the sash and crown of the future Miss Cayman. He congratulated them on their accomplishments.

“This is an honour which I am sure the winner will cherish and exhibit great national pride as she performs her duties.”

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