By Carlena Knight
The pageantry spotlight may be something many would shy away from, but for Jennings resident Brianna Anthony it has been her passion from an early age.
Anthony, who will represent Antigua and Barbuda in next month’s Jaycees Caribbean Queen Show, says that from a young age she was fascinated with the glitz and glam of it all.
“I have a love affair with pageantry. It’s something that I have always wanted to do since I was eight years old.
“I always used to watch the Queen of Carnival shows. I admired queens like Shermain Jeremy, Monifa St John, Tasheka Lavann, Heidigail Francis, and the list goes on and on.
“I’ve watched them and admired them and I look up to them, so I am just happy to be in this position to now be a role model to other girls as well,” Anthony told Thursday’s Observer AM show.
The Antigua Girls High School (AGHS) alumni has a long list of pageantry experiences under her belt, with the most recent resulting in first runner-up position in the 2022 edition of the Labour Queen Show.
She has also competed in Teen Splash, representing AGHS.
The 25-year-old was selected by Cabinet to participate in Jaycees after making a presentation as there will be no Queen of Carnival this year.
Usually, the winner or the first or second runner-up in that pageant would go on to represent the nation in the Jaycees contest, which is staged in Antigua but open to competitors from across the region.
But since the event was not included in the 2022 Carnival line-up, and the 2019 first and second runners-up did not wish to compete, an open invitation was put out.
With just over a month to go before the show, Anthony said that preparations are in full swing for her and her team.
“Plans have started quickly, you know, it’s a short timeframe that we are working with. My daily routine is lots of training, lots of gym, exercising and work, so I am just trying to juggle everything right now, but I have confidence in myself as well as my team that we will be able to pull this off,” she explained.
There will be five categories in the competition, four of which will be judged.
Interview, talent, evening wear and swimwear will be the judged sections, while the cultural wear segment will not be.
Anthony, who will be doing a monologue for her talent, says that she is most looking forward to the interview round.
She went on to say that her hope is to inspire other young women to take part in pageantry, as it is an avenue to build self-esteem and love for oneself.
“I think pageantry is important because it is something girls can engage in, and they can be empowered, and I think that’s very necessary, especially in today’s society where a lot of women are suffering silently.
“So, I believe that pageantry is important because it is like an escape route, it is like a safe haven for women to help them to achieve their goals and become better versions of themselves,” Anthony explained.
Anthony, who presently works in the accounts department at the AIDS Secretariat, is also a mental health and anti-domestic violence advocate and hopes to one day become a world-renowned entrepreneur.
Her aspirations for pageantry will not stop at the regional level as Anthony revealed she would also love to represent the country at Miss Universe.
The Jaycees Caribbean Queen Show is scheduled to take place on July 27 at Carnival City, aka the Antigua Recreation Grounds.