After placing 3rd runner up in the Miss Universe Jamaica Northeast regional pageant, and achieving titles; “Best In Swimwear” and “Miss Runway Star”, I was motivated to explore more of the “pageant life”. I decided to try out for the national leg of Miss Universe Jamaica and out of about 60 ladies who auditioned, I was selected as one of the 23 finalists to compete in Miss Universe Jamaica 2016. The experience was an interesting one; educational, fun, and fierce! I also learnt important lessons that will last a lifetime. In this post, I take you throughout my MUJ ’16 journey.
Finalist! Pictured here with MUJ judge, Raymond Pryce after I was selected and given my golden ticket!
This was Round 2. Pictured here with Discipline Of Beauty pageant coach, Dianne O. Brown.
The golden tickets.
SASHING AND MEDIA LAUNCH
The training sessions were a personal favorite!! As MUJ finalists, we received several training sessions from various industry insiders including; Dawn Lindo for makeup artistry, Fae Ellington and Terri Karrelle for voice and speech, and Diane Brown for bikini and gown performance. We were also drilled repeatedly several times per week with questions by franchise holders, Karl Williams and Mark McDermouth. It was an educational capacity building experience!
During voice and speech I was told that I was eloquent in my speech! That made me very happy. Lol. I often tend to slang my words and embrace the beloved Jamaican language, patois. Lol. Depending on my setting or my mood, the grace and eloquence in distinguishable.
The Miss Universe Jamaica 2016 contestants were given the privilege to a session with Ms Dawn Lindo, the founder and CEO of D’Marie School of Make-up Artistry! I’m gonna share with you a few quick tips that we received from this artistic genius, who through education has assisted in producing so many great Jamaican Makeup Artists!
During our session, Ms Lindo reiterated that image is everything and people will take you seriously when you put yourself together well. She told us that a lot of times, people miss out on amazing opportunities because of their appearance. That’s for sure! I totally agree in the “dress how you want to be addressed” scenario and Mss Lindo passionately motivated us to always look fabulous! Her previous roles include being; a Department Manager at Nordstrom Inc., a Business Manager for Clinique at Dillard’s Department Store, and a Retail Manager at MAC Cosmetics. Additionally among these great accomplishments, she also owns her own makeup line, which I think is so incredible!
I have a foundation of knowledge in applying makeup but I’m obsessed with glam and art! I found this class very interactive, interesting, and helpful! Plus, we were given industry insider tips for our skin, tone and facial structure! Did you know that when your skin is oily, you should moisturize as much as possible!? Yes! That’s one of the great tips we received! The science behind this is, by moisturizing, we are telling the body to produce less oil and ultimately less breakouts. Also, that you should never, ever share mascara nor lip gloss! So, sorry for those people who usually borrow make up. Lol. *face palm*. This is a no-no! Bacteria and diseases can spread within a minute so you should bare that in mind next time you wanna share your makeup. Of course we want to be kind to each other but the only makeup that you should be sharing is those that can be wiped off or disinfected to prevent the transfer of bacteria.
At makeup class at the D’Marie Institute.
Voice and speech with Fae Ellington and Raymond Pryce was such an honor! Both individuals with so much experience in public speaking! We learnt so much. Since I’ve done singing vocal lessons before, I already had an idea of our lesson on mouth formation to bring forth the best sounding words but hearing this from them really reiterated the fact. We also learnt how to handle ourselves during media interviews, how to control nervousness, and breathing techniques.
During a voice and speech training session with Fae Ellington and Raymond Pryce…
It was not an easy road but several visits to the gym are actually fun to me. Check out these videos of me working out at the Spartan Health Club!
UNILEVER PRODUCT PROMOTIONS
We also made supermarket appearances in different groups of 3-4 to promote St. Ives, Lux, and Tresemme products. All under Unilever. I sold so many Lux bar soaps that day!
ROAD TRIP: A WEEKEND AWAY…
As it got closer to coronation night, our schedules became a lot more hectic. We spent a weekend at the beautiful Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa! We had a very compact schedule, yet, we still managed to enjoy the beauty of the resort! The weekend gave us all a good feel of what happens on the international level of the Miss Universe pageant! The weekend also included several appearances (“Meet The Beauties”) at the the Jewel Dunn’s River Resort and Spa, the Jewel Runaway Bay Beach and Golf Resort, and the Jewel Paradise Cove. Additionally, our swimsuit prejudging competition, where the top 6 finalists for Best In Swimwear were chosen! The top 6 Best In Swimwear had individual video and photo shoots done by ARRC Media and RETV! At the Hilton, MUJ had a fashion show, showcasing some talented Jamaican designers including; Polkadots Swimwear, Cocoa Beans, and Kerry Kay. We also engaged in vigorous rehearsals for the Grand Coronation Spectacular that was held at the Jamaica Pegasus on Saturday, August 27th 2016.
Arriving at the Jewel Dunn’s River Golf Resort and Spa
After parading in the “Meet The Beauties” at the Jewel Dunn’s River Beach and Golf Resort.
After leaving the Jewel Dunn’s River, continued our road trip to the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa and got ready for swimsuit preliminary and competition.
During swimsuit preliminary at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa.
I was chosen as a top 6 contender for “Best In Swimwear”!
Top 6 “Best In Swimsuit” photo shoot with ARRC Media at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa.
Best in Swimsuit by Lasco popular vote.
Polkadots swimwear during the MUJ Fashion Show at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort.
On our way back to Kingston, we made a few stops in my home parish, St. Ann. Another appearance at the Jewel Runaway Bay, CHECK! Had lunch at the Jewel Paradise Cove, CHECK! Visit to Dolphin Cove! CHECK, CHECK, CHECK. We had the option to swim with dolphins or just interact with them (touch and kiss). I chose to swim! I loved the thought of swimming with dolphins but I got a little cold feet because it was my first time. Lol. Then one of the Mexican managers said to me, “It’s your first time? It won’t be your last!” I smiled and said “okay” then I thought, “yeah, easy for you to say”. Lol. Guess what? He was absolutely right!! After my first attempt, I kept wanting more! I met Shakira the dolphin and Unicorn! I haven’t received photos of me swimming with Shakira the Dolphin yet but I will post them ASAP so look out for them! We also interacted with love birds and budgies in a large cage that is constructed to feel like there isn’t even a cage. We fed them seeds from our hands. It was so much fun!
Arriving at the Jewel Runaway Bay Resort.
“Meet The Beauties” at the Jewel Runaway Bay.
MUJ 2016 finalists. Can you spot me!?
Next stop was the Jewel Paradise Cove… where we had lunch.
After arriving at the Dolphin Cove. MUJ 2016 finalists.
At Dolphin Cove
TOP 4 IN THE CARIB SHOPPER CHALLENGE
I was so excited to find out that I was apart of the top 4 contestants to ace the Carib Shopper personality challenge! I got 3 takes to talk about Carib Shopper. Carib Shopper is the Caribbean’s global e-commerce solution. Items are delivered right to your door in the Caribbean. Check out my video!
Well prejudging was very easy. Swimwear was fun and fierce, and evening gown was good also. The interview section was a little conversation about things in my biography. Sort of like when you’re being interviewed for a job. That was good. I mentioned my aim to revamp textile art industry in Jamaica and assist in further developing the fashion industry. Some of the judges loved my Abenah Adelaide dress I wore. I could even hear some “ooohs” and “aahs” from the audience when I mentioned my creative background and that my father was Christopher Francis Gonzalez (O.D.). Must be some art lovers. I hope they see my GoFundMe campaign here 🙂 Overall, prejudging went well.
Public speaking. MUJ prejudging.
THE JAMAICA GLEANER AND LASCO DISTRIBUTORS COURTESY CALL
We were privileged to go on a tour of the Jamaica Gleaner, guided by Terri Karelle and Lasco Distributors factory by Lascelles Chin himself! Both tours were very inspiring and informative.
En route LASCO DISTRIBUTORS…
My Lasco Lasoy Challenge
MUJ GRAND CORONATION SPECTACULAR
On coronation night, we opened the show with a sultry choreography/ tribute to Bond. James Bond. Lol. I enjoyed the dramatic entrance. Y’all know me already. So after the fabulous Terri Karelle made her entrance and joined us on stage, she welcomed the patrons then immediately went on to revealing the top 12.
Gowns by Uzuri International.
It so happened that I even though I was a top contender throughout the whole pageant, making it to the top 6 for “Best In Swimwear”, the top 4 for the Carib Shopper personality challenge, and winning the Lasco iCool Best Swimsuit by popular vote, and doing well at prejudging. Can you imagine, on the night of the grand coronation, I was not even placed in the top 12 to compete on stage?? Ask me why? I don’t know. This is MY blog post and so I am free to say that I was obviously ROBBED like a banker! The ladies who didn’t make it in the 12 had to parade on stage together in swimsuit and evening wear. Lol. I just went back out and slayed. I saw a few people point on me. One gave me thumbs up and another pointed at me and said “she should be in the 12!” I laughed it off. I am not a sore loser and I never give man the power to believe he/ she can validate or judge me. Only God can do that.
Parading in swimwear.
Parading in evening wear by Uzuri International.
I am happy for the winner! She was crying tears of joy! Aww! I hope her life enfolds in a great way during her reign. After the coronation, some of us went to show her love and give hugs. Of course, to make me laugh even more, the queen was so happy that she cried off her false eye lashes! Lol. We laughed so hard up there! I took one lash strip off of her cheek and another contestant took the other of her other eye! We wouldn’t want her facing the cameras like that!
After the show I got a pouch with Unilever products. Yay! I also got complimentary strawberry raspberry shakes from the Lasco booth! YUM. It was sooo good.
To conclude on a positive note, even though I was robbed and disappointed, I would never take back those good training sessions. Not to mention swimming with Shakira the dolphin at Dolphin Cove and meeting Unicorn the dolphin! Feeding birds out of my palms was so fun! Can’t forget showing the world my runway skills and eloquence on stage, refining my speech and public speaking skills, ROAD TRIP: spending a weekend at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort, meeting new people, and having ARRC Media capture almost every moment of my journey! I had fun! It was a great experience and I learnt lessons that will last forever!