I stepped outside my comfort zone for Miss Bermuda Islands Pageant and loved it
Young Observer reporter Allanna Bean was one of the contestants in the recent Miss Teen Bermuda Pageant and describes here what it was like to be one of the participants.
On August 7, I and eight other young women took part in an event that will forever have an impact on our lives. Entering the Miss Teen Bermuda Islands pageant was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It was not just a beauty pageant; it was more than that. It was about finding our true selves and letting it shine. It was about enhancing our feminine qualities and improving our etiquette to ensure that as young women we gain proper respect from our peers.
The five weeks of training we had was serious work, but at the end of the day it was like we were a newly found family. During those five weeks we had to learn how to walk, how to project our voice in a confident manner, how to sit, how to think on our feet and to memorise our creed within a week. Near the end of those five weeks, we learned a choreographed dance to the song “Proud to be Bermudian.” We met on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday every week from 5.30-7pm, and then from 5.30 to 8pm toward the end of the five weeks.
The whole process was exciting. I, as well as many others, took a step out of our comfort zone to enter. Most of us don’t like attention and audiences; some of us were not comfortable walking in heels. These were some things we had to overcome though, because we had meetings with the Mayor of Hamilton and the Premier of Bermuda. We had photo shoots and radio interviews to go to. Stepping out of your comfort zone is not the easiest thing to do, but when it all comes down to it, I wouldn’t change a thing. What I loved most about this competition was that it drew us young women closer to Bermuda than ever before. Because Bermuda cheered us along. They supported us and what makes this even better is that they did this as a whole community. United. Together as one.
On the final night of the competition, I felt so happy as I looked around at my peers, we had come so far. I was selected as fourth runner-up. How I’ve changed is indescribable I’ve always been confident, but I’m usually quiet and more reserved. By the night of the competition I had found my inner self that wanted to be let out. I was even more confident in my decisions. I wasn’t afraid to let other’s know my opinions and I had become more outspoken. I remember thinking to myself earlier that same night, that no matter what I will always be proud of my new found family, because whether they know it or not they’ve helped create a positive effect on Bermuda. And those that helped to shape us into the positive young women we are today, are not to go without credit. I interviewed Tee’ L the head organiser of Miss Teen Bermuda to see what motivated him to start this programme and what his feelings were about this years group of girls.
“I’ve always liked pageants, and have always been involved in pageants,” Tee’L explained. “When I saw that there was no Miss Teen Bermuda, I thought it was an avenue I could provide, get involved with young people while basically providing a service for the young people to do something positive, to help better themselves and also to give them something to do during the summer. I would advise other teens planning to enter, to come prepared for hard work, as much as glamour, glitz and fun. It does also require commitment to the pageant and there will be sacrifices to be made in order to be successful.”
”I think some of the challenges [for me]” he continued, “were the [four] young ladies that dropped out of the pageant and trying to keep them in the pageant, to show them it is a positive experience.”
”I think this year’s pageant went extremely well,” he added. “They were intense and I am generally pleased with them and how the pageant went. If I had the choice I would not redo this pageant; there is nothing to redo. Pageants are things were there is only one chance; there is no coming back and redoing something better.”
“I think this year’s winner (Shaunte Simons) was a very good girl. I think she comes from a solid background in terms of being motivational for young people. I believe she‘s going to do extremely well at the pageant in December, in St Kitts,” Tee’ L finished proudly.
“Preparing for the pageant was a lot of hard work,” Shaunte stated, “and it took a lot of dedication, but it was a good process. I was so excited when I won! I didn’t expect to win! With this title I expect to be able to talk to kids, give them my perspective and gain insight to theirs. I expect to affect change!” Shaunte concluded.
I myself loved everything about this pageant. It’s inspirational. I will applaud any young woman that decides to join next year. It’s an experience you can’t afford to miss. So if you have any thoughts of joining next year, go for it! The age limit is from 13-17.
As a former contestant in the Miss Teen Bermuda Islands Pageant 2011 I will undertake to conduct myself at all times with Integrity, Responsibility and Pride for as long as I live. Peace and love Bermuda!