Chenijah Dawson, A’mrii Jones Crowned 2018 St. John Festival Royalty

Newly crowned 2018 Miss St. John Festival Queen Chenijah Dawson with her mother and older sister.
Newly crowned 2018 Miss St. John Festival Queen Chenijah Dawson with her mother and older sister.

Winston Wells Ballfield was graced with the beauty, talent, and intellect of six incredible young women in the 2018 St. John Festival Royalty Pageant Sunday. When it was over, Chenijah Dawson was crowned 2018 Miss St. John Festival Queen, and A’mrii Jones was named 2018 Miss St. John Festival Princess.

Newly crowned 2018 Miss St. John Festival Princess A’mrii Jones.
Newly crowned 2018 Miss St. John Festival Princess A’mrii Jones.

Jones also won the titles of Miss Congeniality, Most Photogenic, Most Cooperative, Best Cartoon Character/Talent, Best Eveningwear, and Miss Intellect in the princess portion of the pageant. Her counterpart, Kyerah Gumbs, won First Runner-up and Best Sportswear.

In the queen competition, Dawson also she won the titles of Miss Congeniality, Most Cooperative, Best Athletic Wear, Best International Wear/Talent, and Miss Intellect. Contestant No. 2 Ge’Leah Browne won Most Photogenic, and Contestant No. 1 Steffany Rivers won Best Eveningwear and First Runner-up.

This year’s show combined the Miss St. John Festival Queen and Miss St. John Festival Princess Pageant into one, and featured some of the more popular segments from past shows. Each segment for the Festival Princess contestants was followed by a segment for the Festival Queen contestants.

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The enthusiasm of the crowd was managed by masters of ceremonies 2017 V.I. Carnival Princess Tae’Zha Maduro, and Sheldon Turnbull of 107.9 Da Vybe.

The event also featured performances from Cool Session Brass and the Charming Twirlers Majorettes.

Like all past pageants, the show began with the introduction presentation in which Festival Princess contestants Kyerah Gumbs and A’mrii Jones, and Festival Queen contestants Steffany Rivers, Ge’Leah Browne, Niesha Somersall, and Chenijah Dawson came forward with a short speech. Judges evaluated each contestant for presentation, content, clarity, diction, and stage presence.

The introduction presentation was followed by the Sports-wear Segment for the Festival Princess contestants, which challenged each girl’s poise, stage presence, and accuracy as they depicted a sport and costume on stage. Gumbs portrayed skeleton, a Winter Olympic sport involving a tiny sled that competitors ride facedown on a frozen track. Jones portrayed a cheerleader during this segment.

Festival Queen contestants then underwent the Athletic-wear Segment, which judged the modeling technique of each contestant, as well as the appropriateness of their outfits.

Rivers wore a black and fuchsia ensemble and performed a short Zumba routine. Browne modeled an outfit featuring scenic views of St. John.

Somersall wore a yellow, white, and pink outfit with a hoodie that transformed into a workout bag. Dawson modeled an outfit checkered with orange, magenta, and blue, and her presentation featured tips for working out and staying healthy.

This as followed by the Cartoon Character/Talent Segment for the Festival Princess contestants. This segment challenged the artistic abilities of each contestant as they portrayed a cartoon character on stage.

Gumbs played the role of Minnie Mouse visiting St. John while on a Disney Cruise. Her performance included dancing, aerial silk, and steel pan. Jones portrayed Brittany of the Chippettes, a character from the Alvin and the Chipmunks series. In her performance she sang, played steel pan, and played the electric guitar.

The Festival Queen contestants followed that up with their International Wear/Talent Segment, challenging their talents as they portrayed a nation in the world.

Rivers depicted the Turkana tribe of Kenya, an indigenous group in Africa that has had little European influence. Browne portrayed Trinidad and Tobago. Her performance featured singing, steel pan, and a life-like puppet similar to those designed by Peter Minshall, the famed Trinidadian artist. Browne’s performance also made reference to the influences of hinduism and East Indians in culture the of the Caribbean nation. Somersall portrayed the Philippines, and her performance featured a xylophone, a fan dance, and a traditional puppet. Dawson portrayed China, and her performance featured a violin, an umbrella dance, a fan dance, and the dragon dance which uses a crafted dragon’s head.

Next up was the Evening-wear Segment for all contestants, which judged their grace, poise, stage presence, fit, and modeling technique. Gumbs wore an iridescent turquoise dress full of ruffles, and she was escorted by her father Kyle Gumbs. Jones wore a ruffled magenta dress with crystals that adorned her shoulders. She was escorted by her father James Jones.

Rivers wore a long turquoise gown adorned with crystals and sections that matched her skin tone. She was escorted by her father Wade Rivers. Browne wore a yellow, orange, and red mermaid style dress, which she described as representing the sunshine on St. John. She was escorted by friend Jalen Francis who serenaded her on the saxophone. Somersall wore a blue gown adorned with crystals in a presentation she titled Bliss. She was escorted by friend Joel Williams. Dawson wore a green iridescent gown that she said represented the plant life and resiliency of St. John. She was escorted by her father Avery Dawson.

Immediately after eveningwear came the Question and Answer Segment. Festival Princess contestants were asked what advice they would give to a friend who wants to run for Miss St. John Festival Princess 2019, and Festival Queen contestants were asked what can be done to motivate young Virgin Islanders to take action similar to students in the mainland taking a stand against gun control, discrimination, and police brutality.

Shared content for Virgin Islands Source and St. John Tradewinds. 

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