Nine vie for Miss Tobago, entry to Miss World TT on the line

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Miss Tobago 2024 finalists with pageant judge and THA education secretary Zorisha Hackett. –

Nine Tobago beauties will have the opportunity to gain automatic entry into the Miss World Trinidad and Tobago pageant in Port of Spain later this year, when they compete on March 3 in the final of the Miss Tobago 2024 pageant.

The final, titled Makin Style, will be held at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex in Scarborough.

Coco Velvet International, a brand synonymous with fashion and model management, will host the event in a transformed ambiance to suit the occasion.

The finalists were selected from a field of 15 contestants at the semi-finals, which was held at the Comfort Inn & Suites, Scarborough on January 21.

Christopher Nathan, chief executive officer of Coco Velvet International, promises a spectacular production for patrons. He said all the delegates and fashion designers are from Tobago, in an attempt to further promote the local industry.

Among the local designers booked for the occasion are former government minister Vernella Alleyne-Toppin and popular singer Sharon Phillips.

The queen show will begin at 8 pm and will be preceded by a Tobago designers pre-show from 5 pm, where patrons can view and purchase jewellery, art and clothing made by local designers.

A panel of international and local judges, including THA Secretary of Education, Research and Technology Zorisha Hackett, will adjudicate the women on intelligence, physique and evening wear. Special awards will include Miss Photogenic and Most Improved Delegate.

Among the women competing are Annaya Baird, 17, of Plymouth. Baird said she was encouraged to enter the pageant by her family and friends, who convinced her that she is fitting of a delegate role.

She described the exposure thus far as eye-opening. “I entered the pageant for the experience. I am young and have my mind set on major goals,” she said.

“I am, however, able to take the things I have learned and apply them in other spaces, which I think is great, and the purpose of this training.

“This experience has certainly enhanced my personal development and I have gained knowledge in many fields such as beauty, deportment and public speaking.”

She said her confidence has elevated considerably.

Baird said her inspiration is Trinidad and Tobago’s Miss World 1986 winner, Giselle Laronde-West.

“Since meeting and being trained by her, she is definitely knowledgeable, eloquent, and a testament to how far hard work and dedication can take you. She’s also gorgeous and funny.”

While Baird is happy to have crossed the preliminary hurdle, she remains positive ahead of the final.

“Being one of the youngest and least experience of the delegates, I felt like I had to work twice as hard to belong in the space. I am glad to see that my hard work has paid off.”

Jhovell Sealey, 23 is representing Moriah and promises to use her platform to become a youth entrepreneurial advocate. She described her experience so far as truly captivating and exhilarating.

Sealey, who is employed as a spa esthetician, is embracing the positives in her journey. She said, “I am seeing myself slowly transitioning from being nonchalant into becoming a more self-conscious individual and embracing open-mindedness.”

She is not short of confidence heading into the final showpiece. “It felt deserved, knowing that I put my best foot forward. My confidence has not changed from the inception, it is still very strong.”

Monique Joseph, 26, of Speyside, said she knew of the pageant through social media and jumped at the opportunity to enter.

“Pageantry has always been a career choice for me,” she said, “Not only to compete, but my vision and ability to counsel others can be utilised in the beauty industry as a creative director or brands manager.”

She has entered pageants as a child, but said the experience gained at Miss Tobago 2024 is priceless.

Joseph did her first promotional video with Letts Shine Ltd and a photoshoot with international photographer Kevin Riley. She will be the first queen to hit the stage.

“I am confidently leading the way as contestant number one. My preparation has been thorough, thanks to the training I received, including from communication specialist Ria Ali-Lindow.

Joseph has a message for women around the world: “You don’t require a crown to be a queen, but queen are leaders. So lead by example.”

Tickets for the show cost $30 and $100 for VIP.and are available at Comfort Inn & Suites Hotel, Viola’s Guest House, Lowlands and the box office at Shaw Park Cultural Complex.

Miss Tobago 2024 Beauty Pageant Finalists

1. Monique Joseph – Miss Speyside 2024

2. Jhovell Sealey – Miss Moriah 2024

3. Jelani Lovelace – Miss New Grange 2024

4. Dejah Vincent – Miss Patience Hill

5. Jada Miller – Miss Mt. Grace 2024

6. Makayla Mc Kenzie – Miss Bon Accord 2024

7. Renessa Ortiz – Miss Golden Lane 2024

8. Annaya Baird – Miss Plymouth 2024

9. Lily McKenzie – Miss Charlotteville 2024