With a new mandate and a renewed focus to uplifting and providing opportunities for today’s youth, the newly owned Miss Teen Bahamas International has soared to new heights etching a page in the history books of pageantry and youth development.
At a time when many of the local pageants have been accused of exploitation and hidden agendas, MTBI has started a trend that’s unlike many others. In its inaugural year, the pageant waived its entrance fee to set a precedence that its focus was on developing young women and offering them opportunities rather than another money-making scheme.
Franchise Director, Monalisa Thompson, said she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“From the beginning, there was never a doubt in my mind that we would do this out of pocket and with corporate Bahamas’ help,” said Thompson.
“That meant we would not stress the girls out with coming up with an entrance fee. You see it was all about ensuring no girl felt left out or unable to qualify because of finances.”
Thompson went on to say, in her estimation, it worked. She said: “We have ten of the most outstanding, talented and creative teenagers. Far more than we ever expected. These teen girls are like sponges, they have been absorbing all of the information and experiences that we have been giving them. They want this, and they want this bad!”
Franchise owner Tia-Simone Thompson is in her glory. Having successfully participated in pageants in the past and even wearing the Miss Teen Bahamas Sash and crown, she knows first-hand of the struggles of pageant life and has vowed to ensure that one day when she got to this place her mission would be to make the road a little easier for contestants.
“This is surreal for me,” said Thompson.
“Seeing the overwhelming success, we have garnered so far has been amazing. We are watching everyday our theme come to pass. “The Renaissance” is truly living in MTBI. Our delegates are transforming internally and externally.”
The pageant has already completed a number of events including what many have described as the most successful launches in pageants recently.
The near sold-out event at the Courtyard Marriott pool side saw sophistication, style, youth and energy unfold as the teen girls paraded throughout the audience in their high fashion black and white patterned romper style pants suits courtesy of Bahari.
Patrons got a chance to speak one on one with contestants following the show to get a better appreciation of each young lady. By the way, each delegate represents an outstanding Bahamian female icon who carved their place in our nation’s history.
Women like Anatol Rodgers, Mable Walker, Eugenia Louise Lockhart, Dame Doris Johnson, Albertha Isaacs, Cynthia ‘Mother’ Pratt, Dame Joan Sawyer, Loretta Butler Turner, Marion Bethel-Sears, Pauline Davis-Thompson and Sheila Culmer are being highlighted.
The contestants also participated in a church service at Christ Community Church, Bellot Road. They also enjoyed a photo shoot and day away at Balmoral Island and a girl’s day out which took contestants around the island to tour various businesses and witness how local products are made.
Still to come are activities including a float parade, preliminaries and the final pageant night on April 8 all at the Courtyard Marriott one of the diamond sponsors for the pageant. The successful winner of the crown will go on to represent The Bahamas in Charleston, West Virginia this July at the Miss Teen International Pageant.
The fortunate winner will also receive a scholarship to attend Middle Tennessee State University for her tertiary education. The first runner up will receive a scholarship to the University of the Bahamas.
All of the contestants including the queen’s court will receive other rewards throughout the pageant’s tenure. The Miss Teen Bahamas International has a wide cross section of noted and well respected professionals that form the committee.