When all the rehearsals are over, when all the public appearances and interviews are done, seven young women will finally face the crowd and the Judges at Festival City. The crowd of pageant fans, Carnival enthusiasts and the media will have begun to swell around 7:30 p.m. for what is one of Mas Domnik’s major attractions, the Miss Dominica Pageant, Carnival Queen Show. Raincoats and umbrellas at the ready to protect their finery from Dominica’s always anticipated showers, supporters of particular contestants will argue amongst themselves about who will triumph and who will fall. Meanwhile backstage, a maelstrom of colour and noise as hearts thump, make-up is applied, hair is coiffed and last minute alterations take place. This is the event, this is the hour, but just who are the women who would be queen? Domnitjen found out.

The show promises to be as colourful and spectacular as ever this year with contestants taking part in the following rounds: swimwear, talent, costume, evening wear, and question and answer. The Miss Dominica crown offers the winner a higher education scholarship and a EC$5,000 cash prize. 1st and 2nd runners up receive EC$7,000, and EC$5,000 respectively, with the other contestants taking away a EC$1,500 prize.

Clarissa Nicholls of St. Cyr in the Carib Territory says it’s high time for a Kalinago Queen. As the only indigenous contestant, the 2007 Miss Northeast winner believes her experience at that level has prepared her well to become the perfect Ambassador for Dominica. A business administration graduate of the Dominica State College, Clarissa is on the job market, working hard to further improve herself. However, she hasn’t left her community out of her endeavours. Clarissa is deeply concerned about the effect of drug abuse on her community and her fellow youth, so she has played an active grass roots role in drug prevention activities in the Carib Territory. If successful in the competition, she will use her position to help the curb the scourge of drugs she says is affecting her community.
History will be made this Carnival if Kristelle Fagan of Kings Hill wins the crown. The 1997 Carnival Princess, 2004 Ms. Teen Dominica and 2007 Ms. Jaycees Caribbean Teen, Kristelle could be the first to win pageant titles at all levels in Dominica. And as if all that is not enough, Kristelle’s other achievements also impress: Student of the Year 2005 from the Dominica Grammar School; top tourism student in the Arts and Sciences from the Dominica State College in 2008 and Government Young Achievers awardee for Culture in 2004. However, all the successes of this National Bank of Dominica employee have not shielded her from the plight of those less fortunate. If Kristelle becomes Queen, she will focus her efforts on highlighting the problem of homelessness and if possible helping policy makers in their quest to reduce the plight of homeless people.
Shama St. Hilaire of Grand Bay/Pichelin was born on Carnival Tuesday almost 21 years ago. Shama is the Sales and Operations Officer at Cyberland Internet Cafe. Although her Associate’s Degree in tourism and Hospitality, the two foreign languages she speaks and her former hotel supervisor role may have stood her in good stead for a career in tourism, she has her eyes set on a Law degree through the Miss Dominica Scholarship. She believes it would allow her to help the many women in her community who cannot afford representation when they need it most. Shama’s concern is the low self-esteem common among her peers. She would use her reign to speak to youth groups and promote cultural activities which would help to boost their confidence.
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