Meet the Miss Universe Barbados Contestants: Jamilah Maria Forde
Every year over 80 contestants from around the globe compete for one of the most coveted titles in the worldwide pageant scene – Miss Universe.
Yello Media Group is sponsoring Barbados’ search for its 2017 representative and the race is down to nine beautiful ladies; Shanice, Alicia, Shadae, Shahaida, Lesley, Jamilah, Te-keila, Che Amor and Mutamuliza.
On the countdown to the crowning event on Saturday 16th September, Yello is showcasing each contestant. Find out more about them and decide for yourself who deserves this once-in-a-lifetime chance to represent their country on the international stage.
Let’s meet: Jamilah Maria Forde
Job: General Practitioner (GP)
Which parish are you from? Christ Church
Why do you want to be Miss Universe Barbados?
It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. I’ve competed a lot before but I feel Miss Universe is the ultimate competition to represent my country. I also want to utilise the platform to give back to Barbados and draw attention to some social issues affecting the country and I’d like to be able to lend my expertise and assistance to as many good causes as I possibly can.
Last year you were first runner up, what did you learn from that?
Last year, everything was a bit of a rush for me and it was quite last minute. This time I learnt not to take myself too seriously and to stay in the moment while focusing on the journey and not just the destination.
Do you have previous beauty pageant experience?
Yes, I think I’ve done about 12 now but I’m losing count. I started at Harrison College, then inter-school, Miss Barbados International and I won that title which then allowed me to compete throughout the Caribbean.
What has your preparation schedule been like?
It’s been very hectic because I’m a doctor and my patients rely on me and I’m also at school because I’m a post-graduate student. I hardly sleep and am constantly on the go.
What have you enjoyed most so far about the experience?
I think the best is yet to come because we have the main show coming up, but I’ve really enjoyed meeting the new group of girls. I also enjoyed the professional photo shoot because that was a different experience.
Who has been your biggest supporter throughout this process?
Where do I start? My family, friends and workplace. If my workplace was not onboard I wouldn’t be able to do this because it’s really hard to juggle medicine, patients and going to rehearsals so I have a very wide support system.
I’ve also had lots of support from my class colleagues including some who are based in Antigua, and even after Hurricane Irma passed, they got together this week and called me to say ‘good luck for the show’ which meant so much to me.
What’s the best thing about living in Barbados?
Our social systems such as free primary and secondary education and healthcare and benefiting from those systems that are in place for all Barbadians. I feel everybody has an equal opportunity here to take a shot at whatever their dream is and achieve it.
What’s your favourite activity when you have time off?
I love watching cartoons with my two dogs Pixie and Nick. I think they enjoy it too.
Name three things you can’t live without?
My laptop because all of my school work is on there. My dogs. I’m attached to a pillow which my grandmother handmade for me when I was a baby, and she died when I was 15, so it’s the one thing I have to remember her by on a daily basis.
Who is your main role model?
I don’t have one because I think every person has their flaws and none of us are perfect. I meet people on a daily basis who I draw from and then create a vision of what I want myself to be, so my aim is to be the best me that I can possibly be.
What’s the biggest lesson you have learnt from life so far?
It’s short. I’m a doctor and one day I see someone and the next day I hear that they’re no longer with us. It’s short so live your life.
What’s one thing you would change about the world and why?
I’d change intolerance in all of its forms – racism, xenophobia and sexism. I’d like us to love and support each other more instead of criticising and bringing each other down. I would also like people to accept each other’s differences and enjoy all of our beauty and variety.