TJay Stubbs, director of the Miss Abaco Beauty Pageant, is looking to up the ante for this year’s pageant.
The Miss Tourism Queen International Pageant will give him and the pageant committee the chance to do just that as they prepare the reigning 2012 Miss Abaco Patricia Curry for the largest tourism-based competition in the world.
“It does more than just the beauty side; it allows you to promote your country to the 89 other girls there, and carry a gift that is only found in your country,” Stubbs enthused. “Last year, the pageant was seen by the largest audience because 10,000 people see it every year in person. That doesn’t include who is watching it on television, or who sees it streaming live on the Internet.
“It’s small on this side of the world, but on that side it is a huge deal.”
A Bahamas to Beijing, China Cook-Out will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 2, to assist them with Miss Abaco’s month-long journey to China. Stubbs realized that the pageant is also a springboard for The Bahamas into the Asian market seeing that our country has been doing business with China lately.
Miss Abaco leaves for China on Sept.5, and will spend a month there in preparation for the international pageant. During the week of the pageant, Stubbs will travel there to be with her.
“We’re flying to China to actually bring that crown,” he envisioned.
Overall, Stubbs said that the committee is venturing into something bigger. They plan to offer four pageants: Little Miss Abaco, Miss Abaco Junior, Miss Abaco Teen and Miss Abaco.
This year, the Miss Abaco Pageant is open to contestants all over The Bahamas. This means that the young lady who wins will be crowned Miss Bahamas Tourism and featured in the Miss Tourism Queen International Pageant in China the following year. Meanwhile, the first runner up of the Miss Abaco Pageant will become Miss Abaco.
“This year the excitement is going to be a little bit crazy because this year we are doing a whole lot more different things. This year we are working on launching our official Web site, we’re about to partner with a huge company that’s going to do some major PR, then there’s going to be a lot of life-size posters around the island. Who knows what will happen next?” he hinted.
One thing the community can look forward to is seeing lots of angels around because it is the theme of the 2013 pageant. The deadline for applications is Oct. 1, and the pageant is slated for December, so contestants or those who think someone they know will be a good candidate, can send pictures to Instagram or e-mail them to email@example.com.
“We have gotten hits from a lot of potential candidates,” Stubbs revealed. “The reason we do applications so early is because we do an extensive 10-week training, so by the time the pageant comes they know how to walk in heels, pose, smile and do an interview.”
Because there are four pageants, the committee is trying to cap the number of contestants off at seven per category. However, the pageant is still open to all contestants.
“We are not going to say that the first seven girls who bring in applications are automatically in. We screen every contestant, find out who they are and what they are about,” he said. “Miss Abaco is about girls who are well rounded, who have beauty and brains, and who are community oriented.
To assist them in their endeavours, Stubbs said that they partner with a cross section of people.
They partnered with Novia McKenzie, a hairstylist, the first year and have stuck with her, and used Candera Symonette, owner of Candy Face Cosmetics, as last year’s make-up artist. Nevertheless, a new stylist will be added because of the number of contestants to ensure that events start on time, and there will be a make-up artist challenge.
“The one who wants to be the official make-up artist will compete. They usually do a face for the team, and we pick the one we like, but this year the fans will choose,” Stubbs elaborated. “We are going to have each one do Miss Abaco’s face, then we will post the pics and fans will vote and decide on the two make-up artists.”
Social Media is something that everyone is using, he said, so they want to also incorporate Blackberry and WhatsApp messaging.
“We can do a simple post to Twitter, a simple post to Instagram, and it covers over a thousand people that we would not have actually gotten the chance to see or have actually gotten the chance to interact with,” Stubbs said. “We are trying to up the PR because that was one of our downfalls over the years, and we are trying to keep the newspaper and the television channels involved.”
Stubbs invited the community to review their impressive pageant record. He mentioned Kristi Evans, a former Miss Abaco queen who has been featured in many events; Nevandria Rolle, who is the face of the iCandy Makeup Brand; Erica Pinder and Ramonica Hamilton, who both appeared in “The Bay” magazine; Lashawn Bevans, who continues to make her modeling mark in the industry; and Aisha Jones, who went on to win the Miss Teen Galaxy pageant after extensive training with them.
“We try to make our girls more well-rounded girls. So at the end of the day whether you win the pageant or not, you feel like you got something from the pageant that you can use,” Stubbs said. “If you were to look at a lot of our former contestants, you can look at them and see the from-then-to-now transformation. A lot came to us and didn’t know about makeup, didn’t know about beauty, and didn’t know about styling tips, so now they are all wearing make-up, they are all wearing high heels, they are constantly on the lookout, and saying, ‘Ok, I’m being judged.’”
Beyond beauty, though, is the pageant’s director’s mandate to do charity work. Last year, Miss Abaco contestants worked along with the Furniture Plus’ Charity of Hope Foundation. He was pleased that Garnell Limperes-Dawkins was able to receive funds as a result of their efforts. Miss Abaco also partnered with the Abaco Pilot Club to clean the home of an elderly person in Sandy Point.
“We try to do more than just the pretty girl stuff; we try to let them know that there are persons out there who need our help,” he said. “This year, we are going to work with a whole lot more charities – the Abaco Cancer Society and the Bahamas Red Cross’ HIV section, so we need the community to support the charity end of what Miss Abaco does.”
Last year, the committee’s goal was to give $2,000 to a charity. The goal this year is to give $10,000 to two separate charities, so they will have to raise $20,000 in total. He is also looking for persons to volunteer their time.
“We do a lot of stuff in the community for charity, but we don’t try to make everything so public because it’s not about us getting the praise. At the end of the day, we know that we are filling the mandate that me as the president set in place for the pageant, and that is to be more than a pageant…to be more of a charity side with beauty. So that’s what we’re trying to accomplish.”