It was a week of interviews, photo shoots, fashion and culture for the contestants of the Miss World USVI competition, held Saturday at the Divi Carina Bay Casino on St. Croix. The pageant culminated with the crowning of Adisha Penn as the 2021 Miss World USVI.

“Being in Miss World has been a lifelong goal of mine, since I was in the third grade, so it’s always been the dream of a little girl,” Penn said. “I wanted to compete a couple of years ago but I didn’t feel ready, but this year I definitely wanted to give it a shot. I submitted my application and now here I am with the title.”

Penn, 26, represented St. Thomas, while first runner up Nhaquifa Russell, 22, and second runner P’Azhae Harrigan, 20, represented St. Croix. All three contestants are generational Virgin Islanders, as is the owner of the franchise, Jaielean Jagrup. All fashion designers were Virgin Islanders as well.

In addition to interviews and photo shoots, the week included a fitness competition, lunches, dinners and more, and the contestants were on their own in terms of hair and makeup until final competition night, which was delayed from its original August date because of COVID.

“You have to make sure you are 100 percent ready for everything on your own. You’re your own chaperone, your own hair stylist, your own beautician, your own coach. Because you are there by yourself, you really have to be your own rock in terms of being prepared for every segment along the day. That could have been the most challenging, but I prepped myself for it knowing it was coming up, because I’ve competed before in a similar pageant,” Penn said.

According to Jagrup, cultural wear is the most popular segment in the Virgin Islands, one of several segments Penn won. Her costume was a tribute to the Queens of Fireburn as well as Queen Coziah from St. Thomas. “I wanted to pay tribute to the strong women of the Virgin Islands who have assisted us to get to where we are today,” she said.

Unlike some pageants, Miss World focuses on community service more than glamor with Beauty with a Purpose.

“Being a Beauty with a Purpose is the biggest aspect of it all and being genuinely involved with the community versus just doing something good in order to make me stand out,” said Jagrup. “When you go to Miss World, normally these girls have large platforms that they have worked on even before they went out into the pageant world. Most of the young women who win have been working on their platform pretty much their entire lives. They are well-rounded and grounded in the community.”

Penn will join the 70th Miss World competition on Dec. 16 at the Coca-Cola Music Hall in San Juan. Last year’s Miss World USVI, A’yana Phillips, placed in the top 25. Jagrup has high hopes that this year Penn will place in the top 10.

“I was very ecstatic to be crowned the new Miss World USVI. I’m really looking forward to not only representing myself when I go to Puerto Rico, but I’m looking forward to representing my Virgin Islands people abroad,” Penn said. “I think I’m a great representation of the culture and who we are as a people and I like to always consider myself a culture bearer, so I’m a great representative of a native Virgin Islander and I’m just really excited to represent us.”

It was a week of interviews, photo shoots, fashion and culture for the contestants of the Miss World USVI competition held at the Divi Casino on St. Croix on Saturday. The pageant culminated with the crowning of Adesha Penn as the 2021 Miss World USVI.

“Being in Miss World has been a lifelong goal of mine, since I was in the third grade, so it’s always been the dream of a little girl.,” said Penn. “I always wanted to compete in Miss Universe and Miss World, and the opportunity presented itself to enter the Miss World USVI pageant. I wanted to compete a couple of years ago, but I didn’t feel ready, but this year I definitely wanted to give it a shot. I submitted my application, and now here I am with the title.”

Penn, 25, represented the island of St Thomas, while first runner up Nhaquifa Russell, 22, and second runner P’Azhae Harrigan, 20, represented St. Croix. All three contestants are generational Virgin Islanders, as is the owner of the franchise, Jaielean Jagrup. All fashion designers were Virgin Islanders as well.

The week included interviews, photo shoots, a fitness competition, lunches, dinners and more, and the contestants were on their own in terms of hair and makeup up until the final competition night, which was delayed from its original August date because of COVID.

“You have to make sure you are 100 percent ready for everything on your own. You’re your own chaperone, your own hair stylist, your own beautician, your own coach. Because you are there by yourself, you really have to be your own rock in terms of being prepared for every segment along the day. That could have been the most challenging, but I prepped myself for it, knowing it was coming up, because I’ve competed before in a similar pageant,” said Penn.

According to Jagrup, cultural wear is the most popular segment in the Virgin Islands, one of several segments Penn won. Her costume was a tribute to the Queens of Fireburn as well as Queen Coziah from St. Thomas.

“I wanted to pay tribute to the strong women of the Virgin Islands who have assisted us to get to where we are today,” she said.

Unlike some pageants, Miss World focuses on community service more than glamor, Beauty with a Purpose.

“Being a Beauty with a Purpose is the biggest aspect of it all and being genuinely involved with the community versus just doing something good in order to make me stand out,” said Jagrup. “When you go to Miss World, normally these girls have large platforms that they have worked on even before they went out into the pageant world. Most of the young women who win have been working on their platform pretty much their entire lives. They are well rounded and grounded in the community.”

Penn will join the 70th Miss World competition on Dec. 16 at the Coca-Cola Music Hall in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Last year’s Miss World USVI, A'yana Phillips, placed in the top 25. Jagrup has high hopes that this year, Penn will place in the top 10.

“I was very ecstatic to be crowned the new Miss World USVI. I’m really looking forward to not only representing myself when I go to Puerto Rico, but I’m looking forward to representing my Virgin Islands people abroad,” said Penn. “I think I’m a great representation of the culture and who we are as a people and I like to always consider myself a culture bearer, so I’m a great representative of a native Virgin Islander and I’m just really excited to represent us.”