Who will be Miss Cayman Islands Universe?

Miss Cayman Islands Universe 2020 Mariah Tibbetts. - Photo: David Goddard

UPDATE: The Miss Cayman Islands Universe pageant has been postponed. After three locally-transmitted cases of COVID were confirmed on Friday, 10 Sept., Minister of Tourism Kenneth Bryan announced the postponement at a press conference on the same day.

With Premier Wayne Panton recommending that mingling in large crowds be avoided, the decision was made to delay the pageant for the time being.

No new date has yet been given.

ORIGINAL STORY

After a couple of strange years for all annual events due to COVID, including the Miss Cayman Islands Universe pageant, the competition for the 2021 crown is happening on Saturday, 11 Sept. at the Westin, starting at 6pm.

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Miss Cayman Islands Universe 2020 Mariah Tibbetts will be ending her reign, and handing the sash to one lucky winner from the nine contestants vying for the title.

Nerissa McLaughlin, Aleya Solomon, Georgina Kerford, Tania McLean, Kimberly Carlos, Antanika Ebanks, Markita Ebanks, Aliyah Harrison and Ashley Crowe have been meeting with members of the community and participating in numerous pre-pageant events.

The Sashing Ceremony was held at The Wharf on 31 July, and the ladies took a tour around Grand Cayman on Saturday, 4 Sept. in a motorcade that ran from George Town to the Cayman Turtle Centre, followed by a trip east through Bodden Town to East End.

All the contestants have been preparing for months for the big night, and it is finally here. There is a lot more than just the crown on the line. The winner receives a large assortment of valuable prizes, including a car for a year, a $70,000 scholarship, employment for a year at the Department of Tourism, a new wardrobe, and the opportunity to represent the Cayman Islands at the Miss Universe Pageant in December, which will be held in Eilat, Israel.

In a statement on the pageant website, chairperson of the Miss Cayman Islands Universe Committee, Derri Dacres-Lee, said, “Our contestants are talented, beautiful, and intelligent women that I am very proud of as they represent the essence of empowerment women strive to attain. The decision to enter the pageant means undertaking the task of becoming a role model in this community; a decision that is by no means easy and entails many sacrifices. With very busy schedules juggling careers and pageant activities leading up to the event our ladies can be assured that the end result will be of benefit for a lifetime.”

Meet the contestants

Nerissa McLaughlin

Nerissa McLaughlin

Age: 20
District: East End

Nerissa’s academic achievements are many and varied, and mental health is an issue dear to her heart. She has made it a lifelong goal to work in the mental health field and aspires to be a pioneer in her social work career. She looks forward to playing an integral role in the social betterment of the Cayman Islands and the worldwide community. When she’s not spending time with her family, or volunteering with the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Association of the Cayman Islands, she enjoys dancing and swimming.

 

Aleya Solomon

Aleya Solomon

Age: 24
District: Bodden Town

Aleya’s aspirations include travelling the world, volunteering abroad, caring for the elderly, and finding time to do some modelling, among other things. Having a younger brother who has been diagnosed with autism, severe body dyspraxia and speech impairment has taught her that having a disability does not mean you are different, as everyone is different in their own unique way. She is always there to lend a hand to those in need and would encourage anyone to never give up on their dreams.

 

Georgina Kerford

Georgina Kerford

Age: 18
District: George Town

Georgina has earned a lifetime scholarship with Miss Jackie’s School of Dance, thanks to her enthusiasm for performance. She has also received a certificate for completing Darkness to Light Training. She is a team player, a compassionate person, and is always looking for experience and a challenge in any aspect to broaden her knowledge. Georgina enjoys nature, community work, volunteering at the Humane Society, and dancing in her spare time. She is currently pursuing a degree at the University College of the Cayman Islands in education.

 

Tania McLean

Tania McLean

Age: 25
District: George Town

Having competed in, and won, several international beauty pageants, Tania considers herself a leader, responsible, God-fearing, and a genuinely confident young lady with self-discipline. She is currently pursuing her degree in marketing and international business, with hobbies such as swimming, spending time with her family, baking, photography, yoga, gymnastics and listening to music. As an ambassador for the Cayman Islands, she considers herself sociable, humble, polite and blessed with good communication skills.

Kimberly Carlos

 

Kimberly Carlos

Age: 27
District: West Bay

With plans to pursue a legal practitioner’s course in the near future, Kimberly is a certified practitioner in the trusts and corporate sector, a leader in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards programme, a Cayman Connection United Kingdom Youth Ambassador, a Junior Achievement winner and a Red Cross Volunteer of the Year. Her hobbies include travelling to unique and exotic countries, spending time with her family and friends, and exploring the outdoors. Closest to her heart is mentoring young people and being of service to her beloved Cayman Islands.

 

Antanika Ebanks

Antanika Ebanks

Age: 24
District: Bodden Town

Antanika is a passionate, open-minded young lady currently completing a bachelor of business administration degree at the International College of the Cayman Islands. In addition to working and studying, she has started her own business. Her hobbies include travelling, listening to music, and going to the beach. She strives to be a positive role model to youth, as she volunteers with the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps. For her, being a Miss Cayman Islands Universe provides another platform to connect with Cayman’s youth and give back to the community.

 

Markita Ebanks

Markita Ebanks

Age: 28
District: Bodden Town

Markita has a host of hobbies that keep her busy, ranging from interior decorating and design, to nail art, event planning, and more. She also dabbles in mixology, video games, painting/sketching, photography, and is a self-proclaimed “plant mom”. Having worked as a special needs educator for the past seven years, she has a vast range of experiences in getting to know, work and live with people of various cultures, capabilities, ages and beliefs. She is determined to become a voice for the most vulnerable members of society.

 

Aliyah Ebanks

Aliyah Harrison

Age: 20
District: West Bay

Fashion and beauty, dancing, and modelling are just a few of Aliyah’s hobbies. She enjoys outdoor sports such as long and high jump, in addition to volunteering for numerous community organisations and non-profits. Currently studying for her degree in business administration at UCCI, Aliyah is a past vice president of prefects, a Key Club member, and a peer mentor. She is passionate about our islands and their heritage, and describes herself as having an “affectionate presence” that allows people to feel comfortable around her.

 

Ashley Crowe

Ashley Crowe

Age: 27
District: George Town

A classically trained actor currently making her debut at the internationally acclaimed Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Ashley graduated with a bachelor of arts in theatre from Loyola University Chicago. In addition to her degree, she has trained in Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago, and attended the London Conservatoire Training at the London Dramatic Academy. Her interests lie in social justice and activism, particularly through art, service and lifestyle. She has a myriad of hobbies including travelling, cooking and working out, and likes to live life on the edge.

 

| The Miss Cayman Islands Universe pageant will be held at the Westin on Saturday, 11 Sept., with cocktails at 6pm and the show starting at 7pm. Tickets are $75 and available for purchase at Sand Angels in Camana Bay and Funky Tangs on Shedden Road. One complimentary drink ticket is included. For more information about the pageant, visit www.misscaymanislandsuniverse.com. (Photos: David Goddard)

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