Cayman’s Miss World representative Kristin Amaya arrived in Sanya, China, Monday, preparing for the Nov. 18, 116-contestant pageant in the Hainan Island resort city.
Bodden Town native Ms. Amaya, 24, is Cayman’s first privately sponsored contestant in the Miss World pageant, having finished second in March’s Miss Cayman competition, subsequently winning permission from government’s Miss Cayman Islands Committee to appear in Sanya.
In April, the committee, which held local rights to both the Miss World and Miss Universe contests, relinquished the former franchise.
Local marketing executive Pamela Small, 1992’s Miss Cayman and same-year participant at South Africa’s Miss World and 1993’s Mexico City Miss Universe pageants, won the franchise for her “Miss World Cayman Islands” company in September after “months of talks and negotiations” with London-based Miss World owner Julia Morley, widow of event founder Eric Morley.
Government still owns the Miss Universe franchise. Miss Cayman winner, West Bay’s Anika Conolly, 27, will represent Cayman in the Nov. 26, 95-contestant Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas.
Ms. Amaya departed Cayman for New York City on Oct. 17, leaving for Hong Kong on Oct. 20, and traveling north across the China border on Oct. 22 to the Shenzhen industrial zone before arriving in Guangdong’s thriving provincial capital Guangzhou, joining the Miss World organization and current titleholder, Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle.
“The girls get dropped off and Miss World becomes responsible for them,” Ms. Small said.
Ms. Amaya’s trainer – local businesswoman and one of Ms. Small’s six Miss World Committee members – Pearlina McGaw-Lumsden will ultimately join the beauty queen in Sanya, followed on Nov. 15, by Ms. Small herself.
Meanwhile, Ms. Small said, “Kristin is great and enjoying it.”
She quoted firsthand reports from Ms. Amaya: “We started our Miss World Journey in Shenzhen, China. We got straight into daily rehearsals for our region dances, as well as our intro dance.
“Zhuhai City was our next stop where we had the pleasure to stay at Chimelong Ocean Kingdom,” Ms. Amaya said.
“There we got the opportunity to film, start the head-to-head challenges, continue rehearsals for the show, see a circus show and even had a day to ride roller coasters at Chimelong’s theme park,” she said.
Ms. Small picked up the narrative: “Kristin’s Miss World journey then took her into the mountains in Hangzhou, China,” close to the Chinese coast, 670 miles northeast of Hong Kong, “where she got the opportunity to have dinner with the mayor and visit the Stone Forest, as well as the silk museum to learn about the intricate process of making silk.
“She also had the opportunity to go to the yellow mountains to see the breathtaking view and attend the Miss World opening ceremony on the very top of this world-famous site.”
On Nov. 4, Ms. Amaya said, the group “headed back to Shenzhen, where we attended the golden egg event,” a walk/run contest and a “worldwide beauties gala.”
Nov. 6, she said, they arrived in Sanya “where we will remain until finals take place on Nov. 18.
“The Miss World organization, sponsors and the people of China have been extremely hospitable,” she said, “reminding me of our own warm hospitality back home in the Cayman Islands. This has truly been an experience of a lifetime, experiencing China as Miss World Cayman Islands with a prestigious organization such as Miss World.”
Ms. Small said, “Kristin looks forward to more touring, rehearsals and filming leading up to the show,” and pointed to “lots of [excitement] about the pageant and loads of pictures in social media and the Miss World sites.”
“The head-to-head challenges have started. Kristin is in group 20. For each group, a winner will be selected to move on to the top 40,” she said.
Costs to send a contestant to Miss World approach $10,000, Ms. Small said, including airfare, clothing, accessories, training and other services. She thanked the 14 local sponsors for their contributions.
“I had a sponsor pay for my ticket without me even asking,” she said.
The contingent plans to return to Cayman on Nov. 20.
One of the requirements for a Miss World franchise is that owners stage an annual Miss World contest locally. Ms. Small said she would launch entry and application processes “in early 2018.”