Celina Dilbert, 61, has won herself a top spot on the international scene.
Before a crowd of more than 600 people and the threat of Hurricane Sandy kicking up a storm, Ms Dilbert was crowned last month the first international Ms Senior Sweetheart of American/International at B.M.C. Durfee High School in Fall River, Massachusetts.
“Being a contestant in the pageant gave me the opportunity to meet some lovely ladies and experience each one’s vitality and love of life,” said Ms Dilbert on her return to the Cayman Islands. “I was just really surprised that I won and when I was announced the winner all I could say was ‘Wow! I won’.”
Ms Dilbert, a former Cayman Glamorous Granny, has a passion for singing together with her motto “live the highest vision of the grandest vision you ever held about who you really are” has been some of her motivating factors. She said she is grateful to her mentor, Glamorous Granny organiser Jewel Smalldon, who has been supportive and offered encouragement.
Entering the pageant she received trophy, crown sweetheart banner and monetary award.
Twenty-two contestants from the United States and around the world competed for the crown, but the talented Cayman opera singer captivated the judges singing, “Oh Mio Babbino Caro” from Giacomo Puccini.
Not yet decided if she will be entering future pageants, Ms Dilbert is enjoying the winnings and looking forward to her return to Fall River to hand over the crown to her successor next year.
“People repeatedly attend the pageant year after year because it is very enjoyable, there is always a welcoming reception and we get the opportunity to meet other ladies who have a common interest and goal; that is to live life at any age,” she said.
During the week’s stay, Ms Dilbert, along with the other contestants, participated in performances at several of the local nursing homes and children’s homes for mentally disabled children.
The four runners-up, in order, were: dancer Ruth Berkell of Florida; singer Sally Vick of Alabama; singer Shelby Taylor-Parr of North Carolina; and singer Shirley Lockwood of Minnesota.
Sunday’s pageant came the week after the showing of the award-winning documentary “Pretty Old,” which is about the pageant Lenny “Low Price” Kaplan started on a shoestring decades ago.
The emotional documentary “Pretty Old” was created by New York filmmaker Walter Matteson and is produced by actress Sarah Jessica Parker. The film depicts ladies 58 years and older who bring their talent, passion and charisma to the stage.