After her trip to St. Kitts, Francine Mason is back on island—but not for too long. Soon, she’ll be in Panama to celebrate World Youth Day. Before her trip to Panama, however, the recently crowned ‘758 Most Talented Teen’stopped by YO! to tell us all about her Haynes Smith Miss Caribbean Talented Teen International Pageant journey.
She’s new to pageantry, but although she is, it seems like Francine was made just for this. On November 7, 2018, she graced the pageant stage for the first time ever, at the National Cultural Centre and at the end of the night, walked away as queen.
“Two days before the 758 Most Talented Teen auditions, Barry George from Silver Shadow Performing Arts Academy called me and told me ‘I think you should do this. I said me? Why me? And he’s like: you should. I said okay.’ I took it upon myself and called her (organizer Janice Dupal) and she told me what I had to do to get ready,” Francine, also a Silver Shadow dancer, said.
The 18-year-old had little time to prepare for the event, but she was determined to put her best foot forward and make the best out of the time she had.
“I had to prepare a dance, speech, biography and I also had to get pictures so I could present to her (organizer),” she said, adding that she worked tirelessly after making it through to the next round.
She continued: “I had approximately two weeks to get ready, master a talent, master my speech, and prepare my walk, because I didn’t even know how to walk in heels; that was one of my biggest challenges.”
Her hard work paid off in the end; Francine also received the awards for Miss Amity, Best Promotional Speech and Best Evening Wear.
As for whether she thought she’d walk away with the crown? According to her “At first, I was willing to take whatever I got. I knew I would come in the top three because I did my best and I was ready, but a little voice in me told me I might get the crown.When they started calling the third and second runner-up, all the girls told me congratulations; they knew I would’ve gotten it.”
On December 30, 2018, she represented St. Lucia at the Haynes Smith Miss Caribbean Talented Teen International Pageant in St. Kitts.This pageant, according to her, was “a whole different experience.”
“Being in a different country and a different atmosphere for me was mind-blowing. I was surrounded by different dialects, accents and people. It was like: am I ready for this? Can I compete with them? Do I have what it takes? There was a little doubt,” she admitted, also adding that she was determined to get the crown nonetheless or capture one of the runner-up spots at least.
After an eventful night, Francine was announced as the second runner-up, but later, after a recount, first.
It was a big leap for St. Lucia. In 2009, St. Lucia’s Consuelo Dupal walked away with the crown; it was the closest St. Lucia had gotten to the crown since.
How does that feel? The talented teen said “I was happy that I made us proud. I wanted to bring the crown home but I was satisfied with what I did because I know I did my best so that was good enough.”
She’s already eyeing other pageants. Next on the list is the Miss Queen of Gros Islet Pageant, also directed by Janice Dupal. And hopefully, next: the National Carnival Queen Pageant.
One thing’s for sure: when she does something she gives it her all.
Currently a student at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College where she studies Accounting, Spanish and Tourism, Francine hopes to explore a career in International Relations as well.
“I want to pursue International Relations because I love the tourism industry; so it’s either I become an International Relations Diplomat a Minister of Tourism or a tourism manager. I love people so I might want to work in ahotel as well; something along those lines,” the student said.
She added: “Both of my parents are involved in the tourism industry so I’ve always been at the hotels interacting with guests. Last year I topped the island for the Tourism Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE); it comes naturally to me.”
A past student of St. Joseph’s Convent, an active member in the St. Joseph the Worker Church (Gros Islet), this effervescent, self-assured Beausajour resident, is doing it all.
In her downtime, she enjoys binge-watching ‘Jane The Virgin’ (it’s a terrific TV series!)and reading, amongst other things.
Francine would like to thank: Jan ‘Lady J’ Dupal and Consuelo Dupal -Florent franchise holders, parents Petra and Francis Mason, Bennet Charles, ACP, Brenna Camille, Inspector Lescenta Desir, Sergeant Michelle Joseph, Helena Isaac, Marianetta Thomas, Anya Edwin, Queen of Gros Islet 2015 Chelsea Joseph, Shanna St. Ville of the Beauty Bar, Tamika of The Doll House, Alan Alexander and all those who assisted with the Miss 758 Most Talented Teen Pageant as well as the many friends and supporters during the preparation for the Haynes Smith Miss Caribbean Talented Teen International.