Mariah Tibbetts ascends as Miss Cayman Islands Universe

Rain, shine or pandemic, the show must go on.

The 2020 Miss Cayman Islands Universe pageant proceeded in a diminished, albeit glamorous, fashion at Grand Old House on Saturday evening for the crowning of Mariah Tibbetts.

While COVID-19 disrupted standard pageant procedures this year, the event adapted by naming 2019’s first runner-up to claim the crown this year, explained Miss Cayman Islands Universe Director Derri Dacres.

“The pandemic has had a financial strain on our community and the committee could not in good conscience approach sponsors. Thanks to our main sponsor, the Cayman Islands Ministry of Tourism, we were able to crown Mariah Tibbetts last night as the new [Miss Cayman Islands Universe] 2020,” Dacres wrote the Cayman Compass.

“It was well attended and everyone seemed to have enjoyed it. The committee is delighted to have Mariah as our representative at the Miss Universe pageant in 2021. We wish her all the best as she embraces the new opportunity and look forward to working closely with her.”

Tibbetts, 26, of Bodden Town, is supporting the Cayman Islands Cancer Society as part of her platform.

At the 2019 pageant, she won first runner-up, as well as the People’s Choice Award and a $20,000 scholarship.

“The crowning event was such a special night. I am so grateful for everyone who helped me get to this point, from last year in the pageant up to today. I am also very appreciative of everyone who took their time out to come and support [me and 2019 queen Kadejah Bodden],” Tibbetts wrote the Compass.

“After the pageant last year I thought I had closed that chapter in my life, but as the saying goes, ‘we make plans and God laughs’. I know that I have been put in this position for a reason and I plan to make the most of this opportunity and immerse myself in the experience.

“It still hasn’t fully hit me yet, but I’m excited to begin my reign and I hope that I can make my country proud.”

Before Bodden handed down the crown, she gave her final remarks as 2019’s queen. Bodden reflected on a year of community involvement, including beach clean-ups, charity events and environmental advocacy as ambassador of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands.

For the coronation, Tibbetts wore an elegant white gown created by local designer Norma Ebanks.

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