BY DEAN GREENAWAY
Special to The Daily News
TORTOLA—Six contestants from across the territory will vie for the coveted 63rd Miss BVI Pageant crown at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Multipurpose Sports Complex.
The contestants, Genesis Richards, Ayana Phillips, Tecora Morgan, Helina Hewlett, Lean Francis and Khephra Sylvester, will bring the pageant’s theme, “Beauty with a Purpose—the Evolution of Pride and Culture’ to life, as they perform with their eyes on the top prize.
“I hope to have a wonderful show and I hope the girls will wow the audience and we hope to make it one of the best Miss BVI Pageant ever,” Pageant Committee Chairwoman Alesha Hamm said.
“I think that the girls are really going to perform. Personally, they all been doing well so far and everybody seems to want the crown, so, it’s going to be a very good show.”
Helina Hewlette, 26, a former Miss BVI Pageant entrant in 2015, said she is looking for people to come out because she knows the six contestants are going to do an exceptional job.
“This group of girls are very talented, extremely focused and ready to go,” said the customer service representative at CCT, whose platform is cancer awareness. “I feel like I’m ready to take the crow and I’m excited to go on this journey. To win Miss BVI would be an honor and a privilege. I would like to have the opportunity to represent the territory regionally and internationally.”
For Phillips, 21, 2013 was a great year. She graduated from Charlotte Amalie High School in St. Thomas and contested for the St. Thomas Carnival Queen title. She won the 2012 Miss East End Long Look Pageant and said the six contestants are showcasing their talents, beauty, poise and personality.
“This is a show you don’t want to miss,” said Phillips, currently enrolled at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College and majoring in business administration, with a concentration in marketing. Phillips’ platform focuses on education’s impact on individual lives.
“To win Miss BVI would be very monumental for me,” Phillips said. “I want to be able to be a positive representation for the BVI, locally and internationally.”
At 19, Francis, who wants to become a corporate lawyer with a concentration in sociology, is the youngest of the contestants. She was a Miss Virgin Gorda Easter Festival contestant in February this year. Her platform is domestic violence and its impact on teenage girls in particular. Francis said she’s looking forward to everyone presenting their talent, intellect, beauty and poise.
Francis said her entry in the pageant has been about personal growth, learning to become a better young lady and giving back to the community.
“It would mean everything to me, mind body and soul, to be the next Miss British Virgin Islands, to represent my country and my home proudly, internationally and locally,” Francis said.
Richards, 20, was born in the Dominican Republic and represents the children of BVI men went to work in the cane fields there — particularly in San Pedro de Macoris and the Consuelo area. While many of the men never returned, their offspring have.
This is her first pageant, and she said her English has improved since becoming a contestant.
“To me, my English was my challenge and I’ve passed my challenge,” she said. “My goal is to win and to encourage people with my platform of building bridges between cultures.”
Her platform is building bridges between cultures.
Like Richards, Sylvester, 24, is a pageant newbie and a Midwestern State University graduate in accounting. Her platform targets the issues of domestic violence.
She said the pageant has helped her in building confidence.
“I’m looking forward to showing my talents and my skills,” she said. “Winning would mean everything, a dream come true. I’ve been dreaming about this day. I’ve been dreaming about this moment, so it would be really something for me to win.”
Tickets to the show are $35 standard, $50 reserved, $75 for VIP chairs and $350 for VIP tables. Tickets can be bought at the Multipurpose Sports Complex today and tomorrow, between 5-8 p.m. All other tickets can be purchased at CCT Global Communications.