It was the Grand Finale' of months of rehearsals, photo shoots, appearances and preparation for one of the Caribbean's most glamorous pageants. The Miss Bahamas Organization, hosted a glitzy affair the night after "Miss Teen USA" was crowned on the same stage at Paradise Island Resort & Casino, Grand Ballroom. Special guest of honor was "Miss Universe" Leila Lopes who was one of the judges as fourteen Bahamian beauties battled it out for two titles. Emerging on top of the leader board were: 23 year-old dental student D'ANDRA BANNISTER "Miss Olive's Mediterranean" who won the "Miss World Bahamas" crown and title and will represent the Bahamians at the "Miss World" pageant in Bali, Indonesia next year and 19 year-old model CELESTE MARSHALL "Miss D.S. Lifestyles" who captured the "Miss Universe Bahamas" title and will represent the Bahamas at the "Miss Universe" pageant in December at a location yet to be announced.
TOP TIER WINNERS Runners-up to "Miss Universe Bahamas" was 21 year-old Autumn Joy Dames "Miss PLL Management & Consultants." She earlier won the "Best Talent" award. Runner-up to "Miss World Bahamas" was 23 year-old Analicia Thompson "Miss Idyllic". Rounding out the top five court of Queens was 19 year-old Irina Key "Miss Bahamas Construction International Ltd." In earlier "Fast Track" competitions, both D'Andra and Celeste were victorious. Celeste won the "Top Model" competition, while D'Andra won the "Sports Woman" "Best In Swimwear" and "Best In Evening Gown" competitions.
HIGH POWERED JUDGES In earlier preliminary judging, the evening gown and talent competitions set the tone for the final night. An extensive one-on-one interview session with all of the contestants facing the judges on an individual basis, pretty much gave the judges an insight on each contestant. I was honored to serve on the distinguished panel of judges, along with Leila Lopes the reigning "Miss Universe," Braneka Bassett "Miss Bahamas 2010" who represented the island at both the "Miss World" and "Miss Universe" pageants that year; Ashley Lauren Kerr, fashion designer to the stars; Grace Fontecha, model & Pageant coach from Puerto Rico; Dr. Barry Russell, noted Bahamian Orthodontist; Cheryl Edgecomb, entrepreneur; Anushka Lockhart, Model/actress and pageant manager and Kamela Forbes, International Fashion Model.
FINAL NIGHT DRAMA On the final night, wearing creations from Ashley Lauren Kerr, the beauties performed their opening dance segment in keeping with the theme of the pageant `The Rise of the Phoenix' . After introducing themselves to thunderous applause from family and pageant fans alike, it was time for the swimwear competition. They embraced the stage wearing swimsuits from Herve Ledger'. The evening gowns came next, followed by the announcement of the top ten semi-finalists. Hosts for the evening; former Top Model, beautiful Leslia Miller and TV personality Kendeno Knowles kept the pace moving as they revealed the top five beauties. Next came the final, crucial question, which was the same for each contestant. Each of the finalist held their own answering with grace and poise, but it was D'Andra, wearing a shimmering Sheri Hill gown of gold and silver jewels on white silk and Celeste in a blazing red chiffon gown, clinched with silver rhinestones designed by Riz Wan Ali, that received the judges nod and were crowned Queens.
SPECIAL AWARDS Other special award included: "Miss Photogenic" Rakia Rolle; "Miss Congeniality" Adria Flowers; "Miss Popularity" Irina Key; "Lady of Elegance" Jasmine Forbes; "Best Skin" Deandra Harris; dreadlocked beauty, Kahtura Fernander went home with three awards: "Sophisticated Cover Girl" (Most poster sales); "Beauty With A Purpose" (for her community/charity work) and "Best Hair" Awards. The Miss Bahamas Organization "Spirit Award" went to Rochelle Alexandre.
1 - "Miss World Bahamas" D'Andra Bannister
2 - "Miss Universe Bahamas" Celeste Marshall
3 - Judges designer Ashley Lauren Kerr, Fashion Editor Walter Greene and Pageant coach Grace Foncheta.
4 - Judges "Miss Universe" Leila Lopes and model Kamela Forbes
5 - "Miss Universe Bahamas" Celeste Marshall in evening wear
6 - Former "Miss Bahamas" Braneka Bassett and Jasmine Forbes "Miss Island Luck" who won the "Lady of Elegance" award