Miss Universe Jamaica in finals set for Sunday


REIGNING Miss Universe Jamaica Kaci Fennell is currently in the throes of the Miss Universe competition in Doral, Miami, with the finals set for Sunday.

The pixie-haired beauty has already garnered a legion of fans worldwide with the pageant-watching website globalbeauties.com placing her in fifth position behind hot favourites Spain, Colombia, Serbia and the USA.

Thanks to social media, the groundswell of support for the local beauty has already reached her ears and, according to Fennell’s grooming and deportment coach Angelie Martin-Spencer, a former Miss Universe delegate for Jamaica, this could have one of two effects on her.

“I am in Miami but we have not met face- to-face just yet. She is well aware of the overwhelming support she has been receiving from Jamaicans and non-Jamaicans alike. I am really hoping that it fuels her drive and confidence rather than scares her. At Wednesday’s preliminary show the support for Kaci was unbelievable. Even persons from other countries were supporting Jamaica,” said Martin-Spencer.

With coronation just hours away, she said her advice to Fennell is to focus on staying true to herself and believing in the goals she set for herself and the international pageant.

“She has a really great chance. She is a different kind of beauty… not the cookie-cutter type of pageant girl. She has really embraced her short hair and is wearing a lot of black, unlike the typical contestant. But this just goes to show her confidence and strength of character which will do her well in this tough competition.”

Having participated at Miss Universe in 1994, Martin-Spencer is very aware of what is going through the mind of a contestant at this time.

“Your one thought at this time is making it into the top 15. If you don’t make it, you don’t have a shot at the crown. So Kaci and the others are concerned that in the preliminaries, did they do everything to impress the judges — ‘Did I walk well? How was my posing? Did I show my personality in the interview?'”

Jamaica has never won the Miss Universe title. The country came closest in 2010 when Yendi Phillipps took the first runner-up spot. Local representives Sandra Foster, Kimberley Mais, Nicole Haughton and Christine Straw have all made it to the top 10.

Phillipps has offered her support to Fennell in a video posted on social media.

“So proud of you. Jamaica is already proud of you. You’ve really done a great job flying our flag, girl. Keep flying it high. You’re almost there. Good luck. You’ve got this, just show them who you are, show them your personality. Be you. Good luck, chica,” said Phillipps.

— Richard Johnson


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