Khalia Hall is Miss Ja World

BY KEDIESHA PERRY
Observer writer

Newly crowned Miss Jamaica World Khalia Hall says there’s no pressure to fill the stilettos of outgoing Miss World Toni-Ann Singh who served for two years.

“I think it’s more encouragement for me to ensure that I really give it my best after seeing her win. If it’s one thing this competition taught me, it’s to be myself and that’s exactly what I will do on the world stage,” she told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

Hall triumphed over 14 other finalists at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston on Saturday night to take the grand title. She was crowned by 1976 Miss Jamaica World Cindy Breakspeare.

Khalia Hall (centre), newly crowned Miss Jamaica World, is flanked by Dominique Shorter (left) and Melessa Vassell, first- and second-place runners-up in the pageant.

Dominique Shorter and Melessa Vassell were first runner-up and second runner-up, respectively.

Hall, 25, has a masters in mechanical engineering from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. She will now go on to represent Jamaica in the Miss World grand coronation at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico Jose Miguel Agrelot in San Juan on December 16.

She said she plans to use her platform to advocate for healthier diets and charitable initiatives for Jamaicans.

“I studied mechanical engineering and switched to cooking because I wanted to change the perspectives of many Jamaicans on what healthy food could be. I have a plant-based food business called Shibumi, where I cook and sell food every week and over 90 per cent of my customers aren’t vegan or vegetarian. I felt like this platform was ideal in amplifying the importance of a plant-based diet,” she said.

“I also care deeply about people and social issues, so wherever I can offer up myself to give back through charity organisations, I will,” Hall continued.

Shibumi, which is Japanese for “simple, effortless beauty”, was launched in the latter part of 2020. Hall cooks from her home on Thursdays and Fridays or Fridays and Saturdays and delivers to her customers.

The Campion College alumna said after she finished her tenure of study at the University of Manchester in 2018, she moved to Milan, Italy, where she received culinary training.

“I went against my family’s will at the time and decided that this is what I wanted to do. I worked in a plant-based restaurant for over a year, and that’s where I got my training from the chefs that were there,” Hall said.

The new Miss Jamaica World also said she was always interested in pageantry.

“I was always interested in modelling and pageantry, but I didn’t like the toxicity that came with it. I felt like the Miss Jamaica World brand was more in line with who I am as a person,” she said.

Meanwhile, Dahlia Harris, co-franchise owner of the Miss Jamaica World pageant, is pleased with Saturday night’s production, despite the lack of a live audience due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Given the restrictions faced, ‘Yes’ the show went according to plan. We adjusted to make it a made for television event so a lot more visuals were added. The National Costume element was a new feature, it opens the show at Miss World, the ladies perform in it during the Dances of the World so a lot of what we tried to do is mirror the global show so that our contestants have an idea of what to expect,” she told the Observer.

As for the absence of Toni-Ann Singh who served an extra year because of the cancellation of the 2020 staging of Miss World, Harris said her extensive schedule prevented her from being at Saturday night’s show.

“Toni-Ann has an extensive schedule and with constant changes happening across the globe it was a challenge to get her to Jamaica for not just the crowning but an extensive itinerary. We felt it best to delay her arrival until later this year so we can give her a proper send-off ahead of Puerto Rico. Cindy is a ‘Miss World’; it was fitting for her to crown the queen,” she said.

Featured Image – Miss Jamaica World winner Khalia Hall walks the stage after being crowned the new queen.

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