Kristin Amaya flew back to Grand Cayman Monday morning, after taking part in the Miss World pageant held in Sanya, China.

She did not earn a spot in the top 40, but the 25-year-old said the experience was invaluable.

After arriving at Owen Roberts International Airport Monday, Ms. Amaya told the Cayman Compass she put the value on the experience itself, and not her placement in the competition.

“It was my first time in China and it was amazing,” she said.

The 2017 Miss World pageant, in which 116 competitors took part, was won by 20-year-old medical student Miss India Manushi Chhillar. Miss England Stephanie Hill was the first runner-up, and Miss Mexico Alma Andrea Meza Carmona was second runner-up.

Ms. Amaya said her favorite segment of the pageant was the head-to-head segment.

“The pageant did not have a swimwear or casual wear segment. We got to sit down in a formal setting and talk a bit more, so they got to know a lot about us and what we believed in. … I enjoyed that part of it,” she said. “I felt that people got the opportunity to know us a little better. I liked that face-to-face connection and a good conversation. She said her strongest part in the contest was her people skills.

“I love interacting with people. I love socializing and making people laugh and just showing my personality. That for me is my strong point,” she said.

Ms. Amaya said was a bit nervous with the interview but once she got there, she felt comfortable.

“It was in a casual setting, so I was OK,” she said.

In the stage setting, she also felt comfortable.

“We had an awesome opening routine and awesome stage directors, so everything came together nicely. I felt confident. I felt beautiful. Everything ran smoothly … it was great,” she said.

Now that the competition is behind her, she plans to make public appearances, assist with community work, and help to further develop the Miss World Cayman competition.

“When an opportunity arises, take it, don’t second guess it, don’t doubt it. Run with the opportunity because it’s a once in a lifetime chance,” she said. “For me, it was one of the best things I have ever done. Just being around so much positive energy, people from different walks of life, and sharing my little story and talking about my little piece of paradise … you can’t put a value on it.

“Take it for what it is, soak it in, enjoy and live in the movement.”

Anna Clarke, a member of the Miss Cayman Committee, said the committee had embraced the opportunity to send a competitor to the Miss World pageant.

“We are very proud of what she has done at the pageant,” Ms. Clarke said.

Bodden Town native Ms. Amaya was Cayman’s first privately sponsored contestant in the Miss World pageant, having finished as runner-up in March’s Miss Cayman competition. The Miss Cayman Islands Committee relinquished its local rights in April to the Miss World contest franchise. Cayman marketing executive Pamela Small won the franchise for her “Miss World Cayman Islands” company in September and quickly organized to send Ms. Amaya to the competition.

Anika Conolly, Miss Cayman, is currently in Las Vegas, preparing to take part in next weekend’s Miss Universe pageant.

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