On Sunday, Nov. 26, Francis Omar and his Rock Gorgeous Hair team will be parked in front of the television, watching the Miss Universe pageant and hoping to see their hard work pay off.
Mr. Omar, the owner of and creative director for the George Town salon, has been working for three years with Anika Conolly, Miss Cayman 2017, to help prepare her for various competitions. Sunday’s event in Las Vegas will be the culmination of that effort.
“I feel very confident,” Mr. Omar said. “I think she’ll do really well. She’s really well trained and she’s really confident.”
Mr. Omar said he’s been doing pageant work for the past decade and for the past five years on Cayman.
“I’ve worked with the official Miss Universe a few times,” he said, as well as other pageants, such as Miss Jamaica.
This year, his team also helped out Miss British Virgin Islands Kephra Sylvester. In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Sylvester was thinking of dropping out of the Miss Universe pageant, said the team’s makeup person, Antonia Rivano.
“She lost everything back home,” Ms. Rivano said of Ms. Sylvester, who relocated to Cayman after the hurricane, “all her portfolio, all her wardrobe.”
The team did a day-long photo shoot with Ms. Sylvester just to rebuild her photo portfolio.
Working with the pageant contestants involves tailoring makeup to the individual and advising them on hairstyles. And the women do not just get to sit in a chair and have people apply their makeup and fix their hair. They have to learn to do it themselves.
“The month leading up to the event,” which entails promotional appearances and run-up interviews, “no one can help them,” Mr. Omar said. “They have to do everything themselves. We try to give them training so they can look like a professional.”
Much of the work the Rock Gorgeous Hair team does is pro bono, said Mr. Omar, often in lieu of advertising space in pageant publications. The payoff is in knowing their competitor has done well. They will find that out Sunday night, when they watch Ms. Conolly take the stage.
“I think she’s going to go far,” Mr. Omar said.