FRIDAY, FEB. 10: The other day I went to a yard sale.
I asked, “how much is the yard?” The old lady said it was, “not for sale.” I was confused.
As I am today as you read this. That’s because the Miss Bermuda Beauty Pageant isn’t getting the support it deserves.
It should be an iconic event, complete with government funding, with businesses clamouring to be involved. Winners aren’t given anywhere near the media coverage or opportunities to succeed you find elsewhere.
Miss Bermuda 2012 is coming up and the pageant is looking for beautiful Bermudian women to compete. The winner will do as title holder Jana Outerbridge did — represent Bermuda at The Miss World pageant, which drew an estimated TV audience of 250 million people.
“I had a blast,” Jana said. “It was such a wonderful experience as I met some great women, and I would recommend it to anyone.”
Last year, Milika Trott-Seymour resurrected the title after it had been in hiatus since 1995. At the Miss World pagenant, Jana finishing about midway in a field of 124. It was a stunning comeback for little Bermuda, which saw Gina Swainson crowned Miss World back in 1979.
In those days, Bermudian Wentworth Christopher, now just shy of 74 years of age, was at the helm. He remembers Gina’s victory well and what it did for tourism here, and how the Government printed stamps with her image on them: “In the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s,” he told me, “we had such stars come to the island. Muhammed Ali, President Kennedy and the Queen all came through, but none of them, not once stirred the pulse of the community like Gina did when she arrived home after being crowned Miss World. It was unforgettable.”
The Fairmont Southampton would always be sold out on the night of the Miss Bermuda Pageant. There was a horse-drawn ride down through Hamilton for the winner — but also a financial struggle to get the show up each year.
Mr Christopher told me met the shortfall of expenses out of his own pocket each year. He association with the event ended in 1995.
And so Miss Bermuda was no more — until Mrs Trott-Seymour, who herself claimed the Miss Big and Beautiful Bermuda Title in 2009 — came to its rescue.
She is hopeful 2012 will be even better than last year. “This is such a worthwhile event for Bermuda and the young girls who become involved,” she said, “And a great opportunity to get out into the world and show Bermuda off.”
Jana Outerbridge, at 23, was a fine example and she has been busy encouraging teenagers to get involved. She also made an appearance on my show Songopoly — her episode will air in about a week’s time on VSB. It’s not just external beauty these ladies exude — but an all round inner beauty coupled with good manners, lovely dispositions and an intellect better than many in other pursuits.
So, come on, corporate Bermuda — support the upcoming Miss Bermuda pageant! Once, in a galaxy far away, Miss Bermuda was the toast of the world — and it can happen again. Visit the www.missbermuda.bm website to see what’s happening and how you can help.
Ric Chapman is Executive Producer of SONGOPOLY TV