Guardian Lifestyles Editor
Published: Aug 03, 2012
The hard work and months of preparation paid off for Celeste Marshall and De’Andra Bannister as they walked away with the titles of Miss Universe Bahamas and Miss Bahamas World respectively from the recent double crowning pageant at the Atlantis resort.
Fourteen aspirants for the crown were initially whittled down from 14 to 10, then five from which the winners would be announced. The five finalists were all asked an identical question from which their responses combined with everything the judges had seen and heard from them determined who would walk away with a crown. The two contestants receiving the highest scores were crowned Miss Universe Bahamas and Miss World Bahamas. When the dust had settled it was Marshall snagging the coveted Miss Universe Bahamas title and Bannister taking home the Miss World Bahamas title.
The Miss World Bahamas first runner-up title went to Analicia Thompson.
The Miss Universe Bahamas first runner-up title went to Autumn Joy Dames.
Miss Photogenic was won by Rakia Rolle.
Miss Congeniality was won by Adria Flowers.
The Spirit Award was won by Rochelle Alexandre.
The end result was satisfying for both Marshall and Bannister
“I’ve been working so hard towards this it’s elating to know that I did all this hard work and it’s paid off,” said 19-year-old Marshall. “The road has been long, but it has been great. It has been a great experience. I’ve learned so much about myself and other things. It might have gotten a little hard at times, but I pushed through. It was a good run,” she said.
With just four months before she takes to the world stage to represent The Bahamas at the 61st Miss Universe Pageant in December at a venue that has not as yet been named, Marshall said the country has a queen who is driven, strong and determined. A queen who she said is willing to do whatever it takes to represent her country well.
“I am able to do this and they just have to have the faith in me and just believe that I can,” she said.
From the year of her reign, the teen wants to take away experiences from her world travels, and to show the world what The Bahamas has to offer.
For now, still less than a week after her crowning, Marshall said being named Miss Universe Bahamas feels surreal.
“I imagined myself getting this crown, but when they called my name I didn’t believe it at first. And it wasn’t until [former Miss Universe Bahamas] Anastagia [Pierre] brought me the crown and the flowers that it really hit home,” she said.
For the teen who entered the first pageant of her life and walked away with one of the most coveted titles said she entered the pageant to build her self-esteem and confidence and to help her with her pursuit of a career in modeling.
Winning has also given her a stage on which to push her platform, to educate the youth that they can do whatever they put their minds to. And she uses herself as a prime example. She used the pageant to boost her self-esteem and confidence and will now use the crown to speak to young people about building their self-esteem and confidence. Her primary focus she said will be the youth battling with juvenile diabetes.
“The youth should know about their health and what they’re putting into their bodies. I want to get the youth to know that it’s important to be healthy,” she said.
Miss World Bahamas
While Bannister, 23, says she could have worn either crown — Miss Universe Bahamas or Miss World Bahamas — she is happy that she captured the Miss World Bahamas title and that Marshall captured the Miss Universe Bahamas title.
“I feel as though I can really put The Bahamas on the map at Miss World,” said Bannister.
When she heard her name called, she said she did not have one thought, but a multiple of them. She said she was so excited that she was overwhelmed.
And in her, Bahamians have a queen who has personality, and one who is approachable. And one who will let the world know that The Bahamas has beautiful, intelligent young ladies who want to do something positive for the world. Her goal is to also return to The Bahamas with the 2013 Miss World crown.
From the experiences that the crown will bring to her she wants to take away patience, integrity and humbleness.
Bannister who also made her world of pageant debut with a win, is looking forward to using the crown to promote her platform which is to bring an awareness to alcohol abuse and dependency in the country.
“We have so many persons who are abusing and dependent on alcohol, so I want to bring that to the forefront and let persons know it’s a problem, and that we need to deal with this in our country,” she said.
She also said her job entails that she walks worthy of the crown and to try to be a positive role model.
At the end of her reign, Bannister intends to return to her studies towards a degree in dentistry.
At the end of the double crowning affair, Miss Bahamas Organization president, Michelle Malcolm, said The Bahamas has two amazing queens who she is confident will represent the country well.
Marshall was immediately put into the hands of Grace Fontecha and Ashley Lauren Kerr who are tasked with creating her look to get her ready for Miss Universe.
Fontecha has more than 30 years experience in modeling and training beauty contestants. She has trained over 35 winning contestants, four being Miss Universe winner. She trained back-to-back Miss Universe winners in 2008 and 2009 in Dayana Mendoza and Stefania Fernandez.
Kerr is the proprietor of ASHLEYlauren, a prom, pageant, evening and cocktail dress line. She is highly sought after by young women around the world to dress, prepare and train them for the Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, Miss Universe, Miss America, Miss World and Miss International pageants.