Local Lives 01

Half-naked ambition
Photographs and story by Mark Lyndersay

It begins with a mighty steel gate rolling up, and the young women, some coy, others shy and all hopeful, mount the stairs at Club Zen and queue with a buzz of hushed murmurs to get the numbered cards that will identify them this morning as candidates for the Miss T&T competition.

With no sponsors for the usual leisurely selection process, Peter Elias and his Miss Trinidad and Tobago team compressed the choosing of two young women to represent this country at the Miss World and Miss Universe pageants into two days under sponsorship from bMobile.
The word went out quickly, and 76 women faced the judges on the first day, their churning nerves chilled by the frosty emptiness of Zen’s stage chamber.

Sixty-seven of them would leave with a gift bag at the end of the day and from midday on Monday, the nine candidates who made the cut were prepared, first with makeup by Sacha Cosmetics, then a radical hairstyling at Ashvin Bally’s salon then back to Zen to face a panel of judges in an interview session and then a parade in swimsuits and evening gowns
The results: Kesha Quash, Miss Physique, Valene Maharaj (1st Runner-up), Kenisha Thom (Miss T&T Universe) and Tineke De Frietas (Miss T&T World)
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