Miss Universe to visit Cayman

Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach on the night she was crowned. – PHOTO: AP

Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach will visit Cayman next month, coinciding with local organizers’ plans to talk with the Miss Universe Organization about possibly bringing the international beauty pageant to the Cayman Islands.

During her June 24-26 visit, Ms. Wurtzbach, who is from the Philippines, will attend the Philippines Independence Month concert featuring Bianca King, and a “meet and greet” for aspiring Miss Cayman contestants.

Matthew Leslie, event director for Cayman Mardi Gras, which is bringing Ms. Wurtzbach to Cayman, said hosting the Miss Universe contest in Grand Cayman would be “extremely huge to the economy and tourism market.”

“The Cayman Islands could be a few years away from being able to host such an event with the additional room stock being developed on the island,” he said.

The crowning of Ms. Wurtzbach as Miss Universe in December 2015 was one of the more dramatic ends to an international beauty pageant when host Steve Harvey mistakenly announced Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutiérrez as winner. Realizing he had misread the results, he returned to the stage moments later with the announcement that Ms. Wurtzbach was indeed the new Miss Universe and the crown was taken from Miss Colombia’s head and placed on Miss Philippines.

During her visit to Cayman, Ms. Wurtzbach is expected to visit Pedro’s Castle, the Government Administration Building and Government House.

International exposure

Mr. Leslie, Irma Arch of Miracle Brokers and the organizers of the Philippines Independence Month celebrations arranged for Ms. Wurtzbach to come to Cayman.

“Anticipating the international coverage, as well as the fact that this visit will be recorded and televised at the next Miss Universe Pageant, organizers are excited for the visit and the exposure it will give the Cayman Islands,” stated a press release from Cayman Mardi Gras.

Mr. Leslie told the Cayman Compass he did not want to elaborate too much on the idea of holding the Miss Universe pageant in Cayman, as at this stage “it is just a discussion” with the Miss Universe Organization members who will accompany Ms. Wurtzbach.

“Right now, we do not have the rooms to host the pageant,” he said. “We would need a couple of thousand hotel rooms just for staff and contestants and everything,” but he hopes that some preliminary discussions with the Miss Universe organizers could put Cayman “in the running [to host the pageant] for the future.”

Mr. Leslie said he anticipates that the concert at the Lions Centre on June 24 will be well attended “as the Filipino community comes together to celebrate their independence and catch a rare glimpse of their beauty queen.”

Miss Cayman contest

At the Miss Cayman meet and greet on June 25 at the Lobster Pot, potential Miss Cayman contestants will also get to meet the current Miss Cayman, Monyque Brooks.

Derri Dacres-Lee, chairwoman of the Miss Cayman Committee, says she is looking forward to speaking with young women interested in becoming the next Miss Cayman Islands.

“This is an amazing opportunity, as our current and past queens will attest to. In addition to finding out more about pageantry experiences, I invite the public to come out and meet our Miss Cayman Islands and the reigning Miss Universe from the Philippines,” said Ms. Dacres-Lee.

Tickets for the meet and greet are on sale for $50 at Le Classique in George Town and Sand Angels in Camana Bay and from committee members. There will be a limited number of tickets available at the door. Guests will have an opportunity to be professionally photographed with Ms. Brooks and Ms. Wurtzbach at the end of the event.

Applications for potential Miss Cayman contestants will be available at the meet and greet, which begins at 7 p.m. Contestants must be single, 18-25, Caymanian or hold Cayman status, or have permanent residency.