ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Contestants in this year’s Queen of Carnival competition are recounting a list of challenges they said they encountered during Monday night’s show at Carnival City, where Raynell Carroll copped the title along with several other prizes.
The problems ranged from anxiety to exhaustion, to poor eating habits that caused one queen hopeful to faint half-way through the show.
Admitting she’s a fan of pageantry, having participated in several, the queen, who was sponsored by Caribbean Premium Motors, said, “I have learned a lot of self pride. It is not easy being ridiculed by individuals who sometimes believe you are not deserving of the position you are receiving.”
Similar sentiments were echoed by first-runner up Tenice Grigg, who said despite all the challenges, the pageant has given her strength, taught her self-confidence, poise and grace.
Second-runner up Arlette Chastanet said contestants had little or no time to consume adequate meals due to intensity of the practice sessions and appearances they had to make leading up to the show.
“I’ve been exhausted. We have been actually running on empty for the last three days trying to push ourselves to make ourselves better … my confidence carried me through and the fact I was doing it for my mom,” Chastanet said.
The intense preparations also caused Ann-Joulie Black to faint after her appearance in the costume segment.
The Miss Chef2UEvents Ltd delegate had to be assisted by the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and members of her camp who collaborated on resuscitating her and encouraging her to return to the stage for the final two segments – which she did.
Black, who walked away with the Best Evening Wear Designer Award in a Calvin Southwell creation entitled “Diamonds Are Forever”, said she “passed out” after the “overwhelming” costume segment.
Meantime, the newly crowned queen, who will represent Antigua in the Jaycees Queen Show Friday, also swept up multiple prizes in the judged segments, including the Performing Talent Segment. She also copped the prize for best costume presentation, while her costume was adjudged best for the night.
She also earned the Healthy Body award, a segment endorsed by a number of fitness centres on the island. Carroll was also judged the delegate who was most true to her theme as Sweet Benna Soca.
First-runner Grigg, Miss Pink Ginseng, was awarded Best Evening Wear in a piece designed by Sandy Lewis while she was also the winner of the Kai Davis Congeniality Award.
Second runner-up Chastanet was voted winner of the Interview Segment for her sharp and concise response to questions of the Innocence Project launched by the Ministry of Social Transformation and a current affairs question on whether Barbuda should secede from Antigua.
Josephine Samuel won the Ms Photogenic award.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)