This year, similar to the 2010 experience, the very first appearance in which the contestants will be seen, is that of the Interview. This is a change to what pertained for 38 years, when the segment was scheduled just after the Evening Wear, as the final judged event.
However, with the interview at the top of the appearances, this formula introduces both a challenge and an advantage. There is no doubt that any type of public speaking, especially an interview, could miniaturize the stature of even a giant of a speaker.
Therefore, here is where a contestant can make or break her overall performance on the night; because if she is successful in delivering a great interview, it could set the tone for the rest of her appearances, in talent, costume, evening wear and swimsuit. Her self esteem would mushroom into a cloud of confidence that could very well provide the energy and “hunger” required to exude her very best efforts.
On the other hand, a poor performance that early in the competition could destroy the rest of her appearances; but only if she allows a stumble to mature into a “fatal” crash that wipes away her desire to be crowned Miss National Carnival Queen, joining an elite group of women, starting with Hazel Brookes, back in 1971.
Every effort has been made by the Queen Pageant Sub-Committee, headed by Ms. Nicole Gumbs, to ensure that the contestants are ready for the task ahead. All six delegates have been enrolled in a two month training program, organized and coordinated by VhCommunications & Marketing Agency, and facilitated by Mr. Val Henry, who for many years has had the privilege of training and producing numerous winners of the interview appearance, for various competitions throughout St. Kitts & Nevis.
This year, the training in Communication and Interview Skills, began in late October, and is due to be completed on 19th December.
During the past weekend, the contestants were engaged in a number of interviews on the sister island of Nevis, where they travelled for activities, that formed part of the practical sessions, that have become a norm for the program of training. While in Nevis they were featured in an hour long interview on CHOICE FM, giving a glimpse to the Nevisian public of what is in store for them and other patrons, when the contest is staged on 27th December, at 8:00pm.
The delegates, Markysa O’Loughlin, Jody Carty, Kalia Huggins, Keeva Weekes, Verlyn Williams and Trevicia “Barbie” Adams, also appeared in an interview conducted by the Nevis News Chanel of the Government Information Service, in Charlestown.
From reports emanating from Nevis, the ladies were commended for their outstanding performances in these interviews, during which they took the time to promote the carnival celebrations generally and their pageant specifically.
The visit to Nevis also saw the contestants participating in a fashion show, organized by Mr. Randy Jeffers of the Lime Bar & Restaurant, on Pinney’s Beach. They appeared alongside other beauties, including the reigning National Carnival Queen Iantavian Queeley, the 2011 Miss Culture, Santonya Mills and the 2011 Miss Caribbean Culture, Oneka McKoy of St. Lucia.
The opportunity was also used by the contestants to worship at the Charlestown Methodist Church, on Sunday, and on Saturday met with the Deputy Premier and Minister of Culture, Mr. Hensley Daniel.
The trip was made possible through the kind support of the Nevis Ministry of Education, Sunshine’s Restaurant, Lime Bar & Restaurant and Carino Hamilton Development.
Other major public speaking events scheduled for the contestants as part of their training with VhCommunications, and as a means of promoting the pageant, include the MiyVue.com Best Radio Interview on Friday 16th December, downtown Basseterre; the MiyVue.com Best Television Interview, on Monday 19th December, on ZIZ Television; Radio interview on Freedom FM, on Wednesday 7th December, at 5:00pm; interview on WINN FM on Tuesday 13th December, at 5:00pm; and a presentation at the Breakfast Meeting of the Rotary Club of Liamuiga, on Wednesday 14th December.
Henry said it is important to have them fully engaged in these public interviews because they help the contestants to build confidence, practice the art of public speaking, and test their messages, improve on their command of language and fine-tune their overall delivery methods.
He reminded that when it comes to public speaking, one never eliminates the fear that is always present, but with the right training one is better able to control and minimize the fear factor; so that is why these practical sessions are so important. The key message though, said Henry, is that the contestant has to do her part, and follow the necessary techniques and guidelines provided to her, if in fact she wants to win. The trainer cannot take her place on stage for the execution; the delegate has to do the hard work to guarantee success.
Last Wednesday 30th November, the delegates participated in their first Mock Public Interview, in front of an audience of approximately 75 people, held at the Dining Room of the Warner Park Stadium.