All hail Cayman’s queen!

Describing Kadejah Bodden as the new Miss Cayman Islands Universe only hints at a fraction of what this 23-year-old Bodden Towner has accomplished. With a bachelor’s in biochemistry from University of Kent and a master’s in regenerative medicine from Queen Mary University of London, Bodden is a force to be reckoned with.

More than a charming, well-spoken beauty, she is a science buff with a passion for the environment and a palpable love for the Cayman Islands community.

Bodden visited the What’s Hot studio to share a little about herself and her plans for the year ahead, as an ambassador for Cayman.

What’s Hot: Tell us a little about yourself.
Kadejah Bodden: I just graduated in December of last year and this year I was job hunting. I was actually recruited to take part in the pageant. That’s kind of how I ended up here. It’s been a really quick process, but I mean, it’s been an incredible journey.

WH: Had you ever done something like this before?
KB: I hadn’t. This was actually my first pageant. It was a lot different from what I expected it to be. … There’s a lot of training that’s involved. We had etiquette training, runway training, dance rehearsal. We had Toastmasters [training], which is really important for public speaking. … I think there is a lot to gain from the experience. You get so much training that I don’t think you can get anywhere else. It’s a lot of personal growth.

WH: What are your plans for this year?
KB: The Miss Universe pageant is coming up in December, so the next couple of months will be really intense preparing for that. It will be a lot of gym and a little more Toastmasters as well. … Other than that, outside of the Miss Universe pageant, I have my own personal platform. I’m really passionate about the environment and climate change. I would like to do a lot of work with that as well. As you know, Miss Cayman is actually employed [by] the Department of Tourism, and obviously our environment is really important when taking [tourism] into account. I would really like to see if I could work on a few projects with them as well, in terms of the environment.

WH: Tell us a bit more about your background and your career aspirations.
KB: My bachelor’s is in biochemistry.

That was the first step in my journey.

The reason I chose that [is] I had a teacher in about Year 9 or 10 [who] pushed me and encouraged me to pursue it and I did.

Biochemistry is a much broader subject than regenerative medicine.

A part of biochemistry was stem cell therapy. I was really, really interested in that. That’s why I chose regenerative medicine as my master’s. … I would really love to be a researcher once this chapter in my life is closed.

WH: We understand winning this competition comes with an academic scholarship. Do you have plans to use that?
KB: I would really like to. I haven’t made up my mind 100% yet but obviously, education is such an opportunity.

It’s a privilege that a lot of people don’t have. To be able to have that opportunity funded is really, really special. … The next step for me would probably be my PhD. You have to be ready for that. It’s a lot of work. It’s really tough. It’s definitely something to consider.

WH: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
KB: I’m really passionate about mind and body wellness, so the gym is really important to me. It’s something I took up around my second year of university. … School was getting stressful and I needed a way to destress. … I’m also really passionate about yoga as well. I think it’s kind of the complete opposite of the gym, so it’s a good little balance. It’s really good for your mind.

WH: What was it like on the stage when they announced your name?
KB: I didn’t move for a second.

It took me a couple of seconds to take it in. Like, wow, that’s me. They called my name. Honestly, I didn’t know how to feel. There were so many emotions. It was really surreal. … I think now it’s kind of sinking in the more I think about it.

I was really happy though and I know my family was so happy too. They were really, really proud.

WH: What message would you like to send to Cayman’s community?
KB: I would just like to say to keep it up. I really like the way our community is going. I like that we’re growing and I like that we are becoming more accepting of new cultures, new things and we have work to do in some areas
but overall, I think we have such a strong and loving community and I really want us to treasure that and to keep that.

If you value our service, if you have turned to us in the past few days or weeks for verified, factual updates, if you have watched our live streaming of press conferences or sent an article to a friend... please consider a donation. Quality local journalism was at risk before the coronavirus crisis. It is now deeply threatened. Even a small amount can go a long way to sustaining our mission of informing the public. We need our readers’ financial support now more than ever.

Donate