Sixteen-year-old Liana DaCosta was crowned Miss Teen Cayman 2016 at the Lions Centre on Saturday night.
She was completely shocked when the judges announced at the end of the evening that she had won. She was handed a bouquet of roses, a crown was placed on her head by outgoing Miss Teen Tishay Heath, and the audience erupted with applause.
Nerissa McLaughlin was first runner-up, and Jada Ramoon was second runner-up. Several other awards were also handed out, with Nerissa winning the People’s Choice award and Best in Swimwear, and Jada winning the Iliana De La Cruz Community Spirit Award. Aleica McDonald was named Most Improved, and Kayleigh McLaughlin won Miss Personality.
Liana will receive a four-year scholarship from government that will cover costs for two years locally and two years overseas at the college of her choice. The girls also received participation trophies, gym memberships and gift certificates.
Liana, demonstrating talent, poise and beauty, took the titles Most Talented, Academic Excellence, Best in Gown and Most Photogenic.
Dressed in a silver sequinned top and full aqua-green skirt with wide band, which flared out from the waistline, Liana was quick on the mark in the question-and-answer section of the pageant.
When asked what she could tell the audience about Cayman’s coat of arms, she fully and accurately described the design and its meaning. The crowd went wild after her response.
Relaxing at home Sunday morning after all the excitement, Liana said she feels very proud of herself for how hard she worked over the past three months.
“It has been exciting,” she said. “I absolutely enjoyed the journey and got to meet six new friends. I also feel very honored to win the crown, and have to thank God, for it would not have been possible without him, and my parents for their love and support, and my sponsors.”
With the title, Liana said, she will continue to do her best to make her country proud. “I will also be very happy to see my friends. They won’t call me by my name anymore, but Miss Teen Cayman Islands,” she joked.
Her parents Jason and Leticia were just as excited for their daughter, who is attending Cayman Prep for her A levels.
“It’s an overwhelming feeling,” said her father. “I’m so proud that all her hard work paid off. We told her just to stay humble and keep working hard.”
Her mother said, “I know she put her heart into it and she really worked hard. Liana is a good girl and excellent daughter. She sets goals for herself and she does her best to always shine and reach her goals. We are grateful to God for always guiding her and thankful to all the people that supported her … such as her sponsor Savannah Medial Clinic, and all the people who came out last night to show their love and support.”
The judges were Sharon Marshal, Nicosia Lawson, Erin Hislop, Leyla Jackson and “Blake” from the “Blake and Erin Morning Show” on DMS radio. The Lions Club and Leo Club of Grand Cayman hosted the Miss Teen Pageant.