Miss World Abaco Sharonique Russell was recognized as the first runner up in the Miss World Pageant on July 30. This year’s theme was “Metamorphosis.”
Regarding her new status, the Abaco beauty said: “But God! What He has for you – you cannot run from. I would love to take this time to thank my family, friends, sponsors, supporters and the entire island of Abaco. It was a rough journey, but you made it all easier. I love and appreciate you.”
Julieth Stuart-McCafferty, Miss Bahamas Organization’s (MBO) Abaco Pageant Director, expressed great pride in Sharonique’s achievements as Miss World Abaco.
However, she also agreed that the journey to the Miss World Pageant was not an easy one.
“There were pitfalls along the way. Sponsorship or funding was the greatest challenge,” she explained. “The Miss World Abaco Committee received so many rejections, but we pressed on. Just when we were about to give up hope, an expatriate donor made a significant contribution and came to our financial rescue.”
Julieth said that the donation not only allowed Sharonique to pay for her application fees, which were still outstanding, but almost all of the necessary requirements of her pageant program.
She added that other donors from the Marsh Harbour community also contributed on a smaller scale, and the committee is indebted to them as well. The donors included: Reginald Curry from Central Pines Bar; Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield; Leviticus Edgecombe of Abaco Dorado Boat Rentals; and Cina Ingraham, owner of Boy Meets Girl.
“We could not have done it without some of my other colleagues who supported Sharonique in other ways. Lisa Humes for designing a costume at the last minute with the moral support of Jasmine Rolle, and Jayne Gorman for agreeing to offer her car and drive her on the float parade at a moment’s notice,” she noted. “Special thanks also to Sharonique’s mom, Sharon Russell, and my husband [Martin]; my sisters Chrissy and Nickie for their support; thanks to all who voted for Sharonique; and thanks to the entire island of Abaco. She represented you well.”
Lisa Humes, who is a leading Bahamian designer and pageant guru, wrote that she met Sharonique two days before designing a costume for her to wear, and that she knew from past experience that winning costumes are usually quite elaborate but time and resources were not at their disposal.
“Securing sponsorship can be so difficult for these girls, so I would just have to do the best I could with what I had: fabric and shells! A situation like this would be nerve wracking for any potential queen, but this amazing woman – the most humble, sweet and kind spirit wrapped up in this beautiful girl – she remained calm, never got flustered and maintained the best attitude that I have ever seen in any beauty pageant contestant even though she knew what we were up against!”
Humes worked tirelessly for eight hours straight to complete Sharonique’s costume, and her effort was worth it in the end.
“She was not able to try her costume on until two hours before she needed to wear it, yet she was calm and positive! Beautiful with brains, Sharonique completely impressed me. She had it! It was only 30 minutes before she walked the runway that she received her costume description from her Pageant Director to memorize and she nailed it!
“We watched the costume event with bated breath. After viewing the other costumes from the costume competition, I was slightly discouraged. We knew ours was good, but would the judges be swayed by the feathers they saw in the others? [It turned out that] they were, but our scores were high enough to place her in the top five. Once she got there we knew she had a chance at the crown, but never did we imagine that the last two girls standing would be one of ours! First Runner Up to us felt like the crown!”
Despite the struggles to get to the stage, it was ultimately Sharonique’s winning attitude that made her successful.
“We are encouraging Sharonique to go for the Miss Universe crown because she is queen material, so we will see what she decides,” Lisa continued. “Sharonique is the epitome of a beauty queen: beautiful, intelligent, poised, caring, graceful, a positive attitude, confident and patient. She will excel in whatever she pursues in life.”
Throughout the pageant, there were nine contestants vying for the crown. They included young women from Long Island, Bimini, Grand Bahama, University of The Bahamas Nyisha Tilus who is also from Abaco, Paradise Island, New Providence, Cat Island and Exuma.
Sharonique emerged as the first runner up, and she was also selected as Miss Photogenic. Sharonique’s prizes were a smart device from ALIV; $500 worth of fine leather goods from Haus of RvR; $250 Bahari merchandise; one month of free gasoline from Rubis Bahamas Ltd.; and $150 of dry cleaning services. The winner of the pageant was Miss World Long Island and the second runner up was Miss Grand Bahama.
“The Miss Abaco World Committee is pleased to announce that she will be assisting whenever possible with children’s programs in Abaco and across the country especially those involving underprivileged children. It is not just a platform but a passion,” Julieth assured.
She said that Sharonique will also be instrumental in helping the committee to identify other amazing young ladies in Abaco to enter the 2018 pageant where the Abaco Committee will stage a pageant for the first time ever in the early part of 2018.”
Meanwhile, Julieth said that the committee looks forward to corporate support as they continue on the path to grooming and showcasing an Abaco beauty who will capture the Miss World Bahamas and ultimately the Miss World crowns.