Written by Karen Rollins

Miss Universe Barbados contestant: Racquel Harewood

On Sunday December 16th over 80 contestants from around the world will compete for one of the most coveted titles in the worldwide pageant scene – Miss Universe.

Yello Media Group is proud to sponsor Barbados’ search for its 2018 representative and introduce you to this year’s delegates; Terian, Darryn, Chelsea, Megghan, Semone, Meghan, Racquel, Danika and Shari.

Barbados’ crowning ceremony will be held on September 15th but before that Yello will be interviewing each contestant to find out more about them and why they feel they deserve this once-in-a-lifetime chance to represent their country on the international stage.

Introducing:

Racquel Harewood

Age: 26

Occupation: Social worker

Describe yourself using three words.

Comedic; outspoken and bubbly.

Who’s your main role model in life?

My grandmother who raised me from when I was two weeks old. She’s been there for me financially, spiritually, and physically and has never once complained.

I think she’s a special kind of person to take on a child, by choice, and raise her and bring her up to be the young lady I am today.

Why do you want to be Miss Universe Barbados?

Initially I had a preconceived notion of what being Miss Universe Barbados was, but now that I’ve been part of the process I truly understand why I want the crown.

I’ve realised that the title is more than a crown, or sash, or all the niceties that come with it, and that it’s a great opportunity for me to talk about issues that I’m passionate about like child and family studies, children in general and the rate of suicides among young people.

I also think it’s the perfect platform to impart my philosophy in life which is that the one who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd, but the one who walks alone is likely to find herself in places that she’s never been.

I pride myself on individuality and I don’t think I would be the typical Miss Universe Barbados and I’d like to bring a new meaning to the title.

You mentioned your philosophy in life, tell us a bit more about that.

My philosophy speaks to owning your individuality and marching to the beat of your own drum. From a young age, I was the type of child where if everyone was going left, I would be the one to go right, because I follow my own path.

I do what I believe in my mind and heart, and don’t let anyone pressure me into doing anything, and that’s the aspect of my character that I am most proud of.

Have you got any previous pageant experience?

Yes, I’ve been in three previous pageants; Miss Crop Over, Miss Holetown and a regional pageant called the Jaycee’s International Queen Show.

How have you been preparing for this pageant?

I’ve been going to the gym a lot more and I just want to say that slim does not mean fit. I was an athlete in my high school years, but I didn’t pursue it after school, and now going back to the gym has been a struggle and it’s a lot of hard work.

I’ve also changed my diet and I’m trying to get more sleep and relaxation and get the rest that my body needs, because I’m exerting a lot of energy with the pageant activities.

What are you enjoying most about the experience?

My favourite part is the public speaking sessions with Gaynelle Marshall because she forces you out of your comfort zone. For example, she’ll ask us to tell a story in one minute, and then narrow it down to 30 seconds, and then 15 seconds.

I’m naturally a social person but the sessions we’ve had with her have shown me that I still have a way to go in terms of being assertive, and she gets us to speak about issues that we might not have spoken about before.

What are you looking forward to at the crowning ceremony?

Showing the whole of Barbados the amount of hard work that the contestants and the Miss Universe Barbados Committee have put in.

As I said before, I had a preconceived notion about the franchise but being a part of the process has shown me that this is not your typical pageant, this is ‘next level pageantry’.

So, I can’t wait to show everyone what I’ve learnt and just leave it all out there on stage on the night and hope for the best.

If you win the crown, how will you promote Barbados at the grand Miss Universe event?

First and foremost, I’d say we have some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Barbados also boasts the oldest, and I’ve heard, the best rum in the world. I’d also talk about our history and our Kadooment Day celebrations as part of the Crop Over Festival.

We just have so many aspects which make Barbados unique.

What do you love most about Barbados?

I love the homeliness. No matter where you come from, when you visit Barbados, the island always feels like home. The people are just so friendly and welcoming and that’s one of the things I really love about my country.

Hours

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