Kristin Amaya will represent the Cayman Islands at mid-November’s Miss World competition in Sanya, China, the first privately sponsored Caymanian at the gathering, inaugurating a two-tier system of beauty contests to start next year.
Ms. Amaya, 24, was “first runner-up” at March’s Miss Cayman awards, finishing behind West Bay’s Anika Conolly, 27, in a Saturday night ceremony at the George Town Lions Centre.
Bodden Town native Ms. Amaya, who finished ahead of Mahalia Seymour, Taylor Langfitt and Chante Smith-Johnson, also won for Miss Photogenic and captured the People’s Choice Award.
On Tuesday morning, she will leave for Miami and New York, before departing Thursday for international tourist resort Sanya, in China’s southernmost province, Hainan Island in the South China Sea. The city has staged a dozen beauty competitions, including Miss World in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2015 and 2016; “Mister World” in 2007; and the “World’s Strongest Man” in both 2006 and 2013.
The 67th Miss World pageant is scheduled for Nov. 18 and will feature 116 contestants. Ms. Amaya will return to George Town on Nov. 20.
Her Sanya appearance marks the first time Cayman will send a privately sponsored contestant to Miss World. In the past, government’s Miss Cayman Island’s Committee, under its two franchise agreements, sent winners to both Miss World and Miss Universe.
In April 2017, however, the committee relinquished the Miss World franchise, granting it to a private organization directed by local marketing executive Pamela Small, herself a 1992 Miss Cayman and participant at the 1992 South Africa Miss World and 1993 Mexico City Miss Universe pageants.
Government still holds the Miss Universe franchise and Ms. Conolly will represent Cayman at that pageant on Nov. 26 at The Axis in Las Vegas, where reigning Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere of France will crown her successor.
Ms. Small said most countries already have separate franchise holders for the two events, meaning the April separation “may be the first time it’s happened in Cayman.”
“I contacted Miss World and after months of talks and negotiations, was named the franchise holder of Miss World for Cayman about a month ago.
“I formed a small team of six committee members just more than two weeks ago and we worked together to get Kristin Amaya to Miss World,” she explained.
Because time was short and Cayman had not staged its own Miss World pageant, she said, the London owners “made an exception and allowed me to send a contestant of my choice without having an actual contest.”
Because “Kristin placed first runner-up in the Miss Cayman pageant in March 2017,” she said, “we felt she was the best candidate for Miss World. We approached the government of the Cayman Islands and they gave her permission to attend.”
Ms. Small said the U.K. event owners, headed by Julia Morley, widow of 1951 founder Eric Morley, require she stage a local Miss World pageant next year to select Cayman’s representative at the global gathering.
“The entry and application process, she said, “will begin in early 2018.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Miss World committee member, local businesswoman, perennial political candidate and Ms. Amaya’s trainer Pearlina McGaw-Lumsden will accompany Ms. Amaya, who will be greeted in China by current Miss World, Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle.
“I am humble and grateful for this opportunity to represent my country,” Ms. Amaya told the Cayman Compass. “It’s an opportunity of a lifetime that I’ve always dreamed of. I’m extremely grateful to the committee who have worked so hard in such a short time, as well as the sponsors who were so gracious with their services and support.
“I hope to make my country proud and I plan to do the best that I can to represent Cayman. I ask that the community please support me on social media as that is a very important part of the pageant. Thank you to all of those involved,” she said.
Ms. Small hoped to join Ms. Amaya in China, “but at this time we don’t have those types of funds available so that is not confirmed.”
She said costs for the project hover around $10,000, although they can vary widely: “There’s no set expense for sending a contestant to Miss World. It depends on how much you want to spend or have to spend. A gown could cost $500 or $5,000.
“It’s around $10,000 to send a contestant to Miss World. Her ticket alone was US$2,000. We asked for – and received – support in way of donation of clothing and services, but if we had more funds to work with, we would spend more on clothing, accessories, training, etc.”
She and the committee were “very grateful” to the 14 local sponsors, she said.
“We ask for the community’s support throughout the month that Kristin is at Miss World,” she said, directing attention to www.missworld.com.
“I am extremely grateful to have this opportunity – it’s a dream come true for me. I think the Miss World pageant is a very important pageant and Cayman should be represented. My goals are to eventually have a Miss World from Cayman. That may take some time, but I am willing to attempt it. Kristin is a stunning young lady who’s intelligent and community focused. I know she will do us proud and I am honored for her to be our first Miss World Cayman Islands.
“We really need the entire community behind Kristin. For a contestant to win Miss World or even place, she needs her whole country behind her.”