Risha Albert has all the qualities of a queen—she’s charming, graceful, affable, talented, driven, intelligent, and she instantly lights up any room with her unforgettable smile.
Today, she has not only captured the hearts of many, but wears a beautiful diamond encrusted crown as well—she holds the title of Soufriere Carnival Queen.
The 23-year-old has participated in a number of pageants, her first at her alma mater Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary School; though she did not emerge victorious, Risha instantly fell in love with the spotlight, determined to participate in something of a similar kind.
“I feel like pageantry brings out the best in an individual; it boosts your confidence and helps you become a better person,” she said.
She later participated in the Canaries Carnival Queen Pageant (2011) where she was the youngest contestant and walked away with the title. She then went on to participate in the preliminary round of the Miss Independence Pageant (2012), taking the first runner up spot and placing third at the main event. A few years later she would go on to participate in the ‘Mizik Mélé Mélange’ Creole Pageant (2013) where she emerged victorious; two years later opportunity knocked and she was able to participate in the Miss Independence Pageant again, where again, she placed third.
“I saw it as a platform for self-expression and for me to expose my talent; it was also an opportunity to prepare myself in order to participate at a national level,” Risha said, explaining why she decided to participate in the Soufriere Carnival Queen Pageant.
But not everyone is thrilled by the news however, as Risha is a Canaries resident.
“Soufriere extended an invitation to communities on the West Coast,” Risha clarified, adding that she encountered many challenges as a result.
Says Risha, “This pageant was by far one of the most challenging ones for me given that I was not from the community; it was really tough— I was like an underdog.”
She plans on using her platform in the best way possible and hopes to become a mentor to girls and young women.
Risha, who is currently pursuing a course in social work at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, says that her ultimate goal in life is to help others—to become a certified social worker and a pageant coach.
“I want to work with children, families and young people to help them find themselves and become better,” she said.
“Growing up in a community like Canaries, I’ve seen a lot of young single parents struggling to make it happen and out of frustration, they tend to neglect their families; this is what made me go into social work,” she expounded.
According to her, a queen should be beautiful both inside and out and should empower other women.
Louise Victor, Miss Universe Saint Lucia is a shining example, she says.
“I admire Louise; she’s vibrant, charming, and ambitious; these are outstanding qualities,” Risha added.
Another woman she admires is her mother, the “most influential person” in her life; she deems her “the definition of what a mother should be.”
Her story is an inspiring one and this young queen believes that “where you come from does not define your potential.”
The competition was strong on the night of June 17, but Risha came out on top; according to her, “I felt elated knowing that I gave my best.”
The prize giving ceremony for the event was held on October 15, and Risha, who walked away with the awards for Best Interview, Best in Evening Wear and Miss Congeniality, was rewarded for her hard work. The queen also received $3000.00and an all-expense paid trip for two to Sandals Antigua.
When asked what was the first thing she did after her crowning moment, her response was simple: “Thank God.”
“I thanked God for helping me overcome my challenges, for giving me the strength to go through each segment, for guidance, and most importantly for capturing the crown,” she added.
And Risha, who worked as a chaperone in the past, is now a queen on her own stage.