Antigua and Barbuda’s representative at this year’s Miss World competition, 25-year-old Taqiyyah Francis’s name was the first one called this past Saturday in London, England as she was named as one of the final 40 contestants in the international show.
“The fact that I even made it to the top-40, for me, it was a wonderful experience,” said Taqiyyah.
“The entire journey,” she added, “and being here alone, I felt like a winner… and I am really happy with my placement.”
When asked what her biggest hurdle was in this year’s competition, Taqiyyah answered, “for me that would be population, because a lot of it is based on population and how far your country can get you in the competition itself.”
The Miss World events, called “fast track” competitions, automatically make it into the quarter or semifinals of Miss World.
The fast track categories are: Miss World Beach Beauty, Beauty With a Purpose, Sports Challenge, Talent and Top Model.
“Nepal had over 18 million votes, so obviously she’s going to win. So, a lot of that hinders [one’s ability to advance].”
Miss World Nepal, Anushka Shrestha , won the Beauty with a Purpose category after garnering 9.4% of the total votes cast. Miss Antigua and Barbuda got 0.4% of the total votes.
Her father, Don Francis, who also made the trip to London to fully support his daughter, agreed, “We’re a small population and to go up against countries with large populations, it’s difficult for us.”
Despite the herculean challenges that posed, however, Don said that his daughter, “did very well to be placed int the top-40 with a population of under 100,000… she defied the odds in many ways.”
The Antigua and Barbuda representative was also ranked amongst the top-18 best-dressed contestants in the competition.
Taqiyyah is a graduate of Midwestern State University and enjoys all aspects of design, painting, and karate.
Jamaican, Toni-Ann Singh, 23, was crowned the 69th Miss World by her predecessor Vanessa Ponce de Leon of Mexico.
Miss World France, Ophely Mezino, was the runner up, and Miss World India, Suman Rao was placed third after the culmination of a month-long Miss World Festival that saw contestants from 111 countries competing in a number of fast track challenges.
Next year’s contest will be held in Pattaya, Bangkok.