During a virtual ceremony on July 2, six contestants for the Miss BVI 2021 pageant this August were revealed.
Reba Smith, Chenae Walters, Jareena Penn, Sylvanna Charles, Keyona Cameron and Kathlyn Archibald-Drew introduced themselves during the event.
Originally intended to be held in person, the contestant reveal was switched to a live-streamed event after the number of Covid-19 cases spiked in the territory.
The ceremony kicked off with steel pan drumming by Akim Johnson followed by a presentation of past Miss BVI winners starting with Irene Penn-O’Neal from 1975.
“The Miss British Virgin Islands Pageant is the longest-running pageant without interruption in the Leeward Islands,” host Kareem-Nelson Hull said to begin the pro-gramme. “Since 1954 when we crowned a then-14-year-old Jost Van Dyke [resident], we have always celebrated the Miss British Virgin Islands legacy.”
He added that the pageant is one of the best parts of the August Emancipation Festival.
“2021 is a pandemic year, but it will prove no different as six contestants will compete for the crown,” he said.
Bria Smith, the current Miss BVI, also helped host the event.
Ms. Smith won the pageant in 2019, and she was chosen to continue in the position due to the pandemic, becoming the only Miss BVI to reign for two consecutive years. During her reign, Ms. Smith focused her efforts on VI cultural and historical preservation.
On Friday, the contestants’ introductions were followed by a short question-and-answer session with the hosts.
When Ms. Walter was asked why she chose to compete in the pageant, she said she wanted to push herself out of her comfort zone and use the platform to educate others on important subjects.
In response to a different question, Ms. Cameron said the contestants are taking etiquette classes to help prepare them for the pageant.
Ms. Penn was asked how it feels to be in the spotlight during dance performances, and said it feels “liberating.”
“You feel like you’re floating in your own little bubble,” she said.
Though the Miss BVI Pageant is traditionally held on Festival Sunday, which falls on Aug. 1 this year, no announcement has been made yet about whether or not festivities will continue as planned.