Miss Teen contestants prepare for competition

Five contestants for Miss Teen Cayman Islands gathered at Grand Old House Saturday in advance of the 24 Aug. pageant at The Lions Centre, to announce their official sponsors.

The teens have been undergoing etiquette and public speech training in preparation for the big event, where they will compete for a four-year scholarship donated by the Ministry of Education.

Ashley Gooden, 16, of Bodden Town, will be sponsored by APS Security.

“My platform is based on encouraging both girls and women to step up to the plate and try something new,” Ashley said.

“I feel that in Cayman, girls tend to shy away from opportunities like this, so I wanted to be the reason someone would go out there and do something. So my life motto has been aspire to inspire.”

Ashley is completing her A-levels at Cayman Prep and High School. She hopes to become a school teacher, as well as a child psychologist.

Jada Bodden, 16, of Bodden Town, will be sponsored by Partyville. She wants to promote a platform in support of Cayman’s youth, “because young people are not usually involved in current events or politics that are going on in the country”, she said.

“So by doing this, I can make them feel more involved in what’s happening in the community.”

Jada is interested in the performing arts, modelling and acting. She is currently pursuing an associate degree at University College of the Cayman Islands.

Monina Thompson, 18, of George Town, is supported by an anonymous sponsor who would like to highlight mental health.

Monina said participating in the pageant has challenged her to step out of the box, because she is a naturally shy person.

“I also want to change up the pageant game,” she said. “I want to let girls know, you don’t have to look a certain way, you don’t have to wear heavy make-up or such extravagant dress. Just be yourself.”

Sadé Parchment, 17, of West Bay, is sponsored by Impressions Beauty Salon.

Sadé has been struggling with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease that causes bulging eyes.

“My high school called me and said they wanted me to participate in [the pageant]. Just seeing that they saw the potential in me, it kind of just encouraged me to do it. And I decided that I wouldn’t let my disease hold me back,” she said.

“I feel that by doing Miss Teen, it will give me confidence and help me to embrace myself, and help others to embrace themselves as well.”

She is studying social studies at University College of the Cayman Islands and hopes to pursue social work and family law.

Amelia Lamie, 17, of Bodden Town, is sponsored by Grape Tree Café. Amelia is interested in art and hopes to become an architect or lawyer.

She would like to advocate for organisations that support young women and girls.

“She wants all young women and girls to remember that it doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, what truly matters is who you are on the inside,” a Miss Teen statement said.

Ian Callow of the Lions Club, the event’s sponsor, said that in addition to public speaking training with Toastmasters and etiquette training, the girls will also have to work together on an opening dance number.

“It’s good training for them that they may not get anywhere else,” Callow said. “It’s really fascinating, from the Lions Club point of view, to see the girls when we get them at the beginning … and see what they do for us at the show at the end of August and how they develop.”

The pageant will be held 24 Aug. at the Lions Centre. Doors open at 6pm and the event starts at 7pm. The theme this year is ‘Sailing the High Seas’.

Ticket sales begin Monday, 29 July and can be purchased from committee members, contestants or at Funky Tang’s. The presale cost is $40 for premium tickets, $25 for general admission and $15 for children. Ticket prices at the gate will differ.