Black Immigrant Daily News
The 71st edition of the Miss Universe competition is just a few days away and there are 12 Caribbean women hoping to bring glory to their country and the region.
It’s been 17 years since the Miss Universe crown was worn by a woman from the Caribbean.
This year could be the one to end the Caribbean’s title drought as delegates Aruba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are listed as favourites to succeed India’s Harnaaz Sandhu successor.
Here is your chance to get to know the Caribbean delegates.
Kiara Arends is the beauty representing the Dutch Caribbean Island of Aruba.
The 24-year-old is a lawyer, who specialises in Business, International and Tax Laws.
According to her bio on the Miss Universe Organisation (MUO) website, Kiara was raised in a predominantly female family and this fuels her drive to support social justice projects, particularly those that support mothers and young women.
While the world was locked down during the pandemic, she founded her organisation “BUMP,” which helps equip young mothers with sustainable resources.
Kiara speaks four languages she loves to travel and meet new people.
Miss Bahamas Angel Cartwright is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Miss Bahamas 2021 and secure the country’s second placement at Miss Universe.
Cartwright,28, is a private Banker, author and environmental activist.
She told MUO that her platform “There is No Planet B” focuses on promoting conservation and preventing climate change.
Cartwright holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and she is the first Bahamian to complete a Dual Master of Science in Finance and an International MBA at Florida International University.
There’s a saying that beauty and brains can’t come in the same package, but Miss Belize Ashley Lightburn is proving this to be just a myth.
The 26-year-old is a mathematics lecturer at the University of Belize and a banker.
Ashley’s love of science has led her to advocate for the improvement of mathematics literacy among women and children.
Miss British Virginia Islands
At 18 years old, Miss British Virgin Islands 2022, Lia Clayton, is one of the youngest contestants at the 71st Miss Universe competition.
Lia is the third of four children and is a multi-talented beauty as she plays the piano, dances and is a track and field athlete.
Lia has an Associate of Arts degree in Humanities and she is pursuing an English degree. In the future, Lia hopes to become a lawyer.
Miss Cayman Islands
Chloe Powery-Doxey, 25, was not supposed to be the Cayman Islands’ representative at Miss Universe since she was the first runner-up at the local competition.
But, it seems being the territory’s representative was written in her stars as she got the nod to journey to New Orleans after the pageant’s original winner had a run-in with the law.
She has been a professional basketball player for 17 years and represented the Women of Valor Basketball Club and the Cayman Islands National Team, earning two championship wins in 2013 and 2021.
Chloe loves working in her community and has volunteered with the Cayman Islands National Trust to preserve the history and biodiversity of the territory.
Gabri?la Dos Santos is seeking to be just the eighth woman from Cura?ao to place at Miss Universe.
The 20-year-old may just achieve that feat as she’s a favourite to earn a semi-final spot.
Gabri?la is a certified life coach and she hopes to be a motivational speaker and television host in the future.
Gabri?la founded an organisation named Light4change in 2019 to help young people to find purpose in adversity and embrace who they are with full authenticity. She speaks English, Spanish, Dutch, and Papiamento and her language skills come in handy as she’s a world traveller having been to 10 countries.
In her free time, Gabri?la enjoys kickboxing, modelling, and nature, as well as, helping others to reach their full potential.
Miss Dominican Republic
Miss Dominican Republic, Andre?na Mart?nez.
Many people aren’t often given second chances to achieve a dream, but Miss Dominican Republic, Andre?na Mart?nez, was given another chance to represent her country on the international stage.
The 25-year-old was supposed to represent the island at Miss Universe 2021, but she had to put her dream of crossing the Miss Universe stage on hold after she became infected with the coronavirus.
Bouncing back from illness, Andre?na was allowed to compete at this year’s pageant where she’s a favourite to win the crown.
Andre?na spent most of her early life in the Dominican Republic before her family moved to the United States.
Her struggles as an immigrant fuelled her passion to protect marginalised communities.
Andre?na is a lover of politics and she has pursued that passion having secured a coveted internship at New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand’s office in Washington DC.
In the future, Andre?na hopes to become the first female ambassador of the Dominican Republic in the United Nations.
Mideline Phelizor had a tough childhood as she lost her mother at the tender age of five years old and she had to move to the capital city to live with her aunt.
Mideline told MUO that she lost her childhood illusions quickly and had to use the adversities she faced in life as a motivation to achieve her dreams.
Standing at approximately 1.81 metres, Mideline was teased growing up for being tall. But the 27-year-old was encouraged by her father to enrol in modelling school.
The future lawyer is a beauty pageant veteran having represented Haiti at the Miss Supranational competition where she was crowned Miss Supra model Caribbean.
If you have a passion for the outdoors, then you’ll probably be good friends with Miss Jamaica, Toshami Calvin, as she describes herself as a free spirit who loves climbing trees and swimming in the rivers of her home district of Bath in St Thomas, Jamaica.
Toshami holds an undergraduate degree in Health Sciences from the University of Central Florida and she told MUO that she completed her degree in memory of her father, who passed away when she was 14.
The 26-year-old is currently a registered behavioural technician and therapy provider for children on the autism spectrum.
She became devoted to helping children with developmental challenges after her cousin was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Miss Puerto Rico
Space exploration and Miss Universe are two things that aren’t often mentioned in the same conversation. But, Miss Puerto Rico, Ashley Cari?o, told MUO that she hopes to be the pageant’s first winner to go to space.
Ashley is a lover of the universe and going to space has been a childhood dream of hers.
The 28-year-old is currently studying for a degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Central Florida and she wants to specialise in rocket propulsion.
Her ultimate goal is to work for NASA.
Miss St Lucia
Miss St Lucia, Sheris Paul, is one of the few female tech entrepreneurs on the island.
Sheris is currently studying for a degree in computer information systems and she plans to create a mobile application to help victims of abuse in St Lucia to find help and resources.
Outside of her business and academic pursuits, Sheris volunteers with the Girls of a Feather, where she is the longest-serving member.
Miss Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago is marking its return to the Miss Universe stage by sending Tya Jan? Ramey.
The 25-year-old is a veteran of sorts in the pageant landscape having represented the twin islands previously at Miss World, where she secured the Miss World Caribbean title.
Tya Jan? is a multi-talented beauty as she is a national volleyball player as well as an accomplished dancer and saxophonist.
Tya Jan? is studying for a Master’s degree in Social Work and holds a Bachelor of Science and a certificate in Social Work and Social Policy.
She told MUO that she dedicates her life to being an agent of change and is working with at-risk children who find themselves in trouble with the law.