As Saint Lucia celebrated its 36th year of sovereignty, events were held island wide last week to commemorate the great lengths we have reached as a nation. As customary, the Miss Independence pageant was held at the National Cultural Centre.
This year, eight girls participated with the expectations of being declared “Miss Independence”. The contestants for this year’s show were Charlene Mohammed, Crinela Hippolyte, Jasmine Peter, Risha Albert, Samantha Alphonse, Shartoya Jn. Baptiste, Sheris Paul and Claire Smart. The competition was going to be a tough one. This year’s competition had a number of familiar faces: there were girls who had won titles and who had participated in pageants before, namely, Shartoya Jn. Baptiste, Claire Smart, Charlene Mohammed and Risha Albert.
The audience got a glimpse of the contestants for the first time after the opening remarks. The girls, who were in swimwear, introduced themselves with radiant smiles, each girl telling those present what made her unique.
Following the introductory segment, was the promotional speech, after a performance by the CAM dancers. The contestants’ speeches were based on “Peace”, the theme for the night. Apparently a requirement for their speech, the girls all quoted great men who were activists for peace as well as those who promoted peace including Nelson Mandela, President John F. Kennedy and John Lennon. The girls who were pristine in business attire, with the colours of the flag, all delivered well; some however, with more certainty than others.
Rising artiste Michael Robinson performed a musical rendition to the delight of the predominantly female audience. His smooth vocals echoed in the Cultural Centre, his tasteful selection, blending well with the atmosphere.
The talent segment, usually one of the most exciting segments, came in subsequently. There was song, dance and drama. It was evident that some of the girls had worked very hard so that they stood out that night. Girls like Claire Smart, Sheris Paul and Shartoya Jn. Baptiste, executed their pieces flawlessly. Their pieces demanded the attention of the audience the instant they began. A few however, disappointed as their performances left a lot to be desired. That however, did not take away from the great show.
The girls graced the stage again in evening wear and impressed the audience in their attire which depicted the theme, “Peace”. It was a night that many relished and would remember long after the show had passed.
The girls were then questioned on various topics by the judges in the interview segment after they had taken their walks in the evening wear. It was a heart pounding moment and the audience listened intently as the girls answered their questions.
The results were announced later during the show and Sheris Paul was declared Miss Independence 2015.
The results for the 2015 show are as follows:
Third runner up: Risha Albert (Best Evening Wear)
Second runner up: Shartoya Jn. Baptiste
First Runner up: Claire Smartt (Best Talent as well as People’s Choice Award)
Miss Independence 2015: Sheris Paul (Best promotional speech, Best in Swimsuit and Best interview).