Pictured above: Jeminie Niles, Miss St. John Festival Queen 2017. Niles was also give titles Miss Cooperative, Miss Photogenic, Best International Wear, Best Talent and Best Evening Wear.
Photo by Raven Phillips.
Winston Wells Ball Park was graced with the beauty and intelligence of four young Virgin Islands women on June 24. The 2017 Miss St. John Festival Queen Selection Pageant challenged the stage presence and talent of Daniela Joseph, P’Azhae Harrigan, Je’Nicia Jackson, and Jeminie Niles. Two of the contestants are not strangers to pageantry on St. John, Daniela Joseph is the 2009 St. John Festival Princess, and P’Azhae Harrigan is the 2014 Jr. Miss St. John Festival.
The event was enriched with the music of Kean Music Styles, an upcoming band made up of current and former students of the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School. The three vocalists on stage masterfully maintained the energy and excitement of the crowd during intermissions. During these breaks, short cat walk contests were held by representatives from the Westin Resort. Participants were tasked with showcasing their modeling skills in order to win gift certificates to restaurants on St. John. The St. Thomas Majorettes also performed.
Judges for the pageant came with experience from many areas of performing arts, including pageantry and dance. Their judgment of each contestant’s performance resulted in a win for contestant #4 Jeminie Niles.
The contestants provided a dazzling presentation for each segment. Though no sash is awarded for the introductory speech and swimwear segments, they both carry weight for each contestant’s overall score. The criteria for each segment are content, clarity, and stage presence, and fit and modeling technique respectively. At the end of the swimwear segment, 2016 Miss St. John Festival Steffi Nicholas was invited on stage to model a swimsuit of her own alongside the current contestants.
The international wear and costume segment challenges the contestant to present a country or nation with sufficient originality, creativity, and accuracy. Joseph embodied the determination and dreams of success of Eva Peron. Her performance chronicled the Argentinean political leader’s rise to power, and included sound clips from the movie Evita, based on the stage play by Andrew Loyd Webber. Harrigan represented the culture of the United Arab Emirates in a fascinating way. At one point she performed sufi whirling, which is better known to the West as being a whirling dervish. Jackson depicted the spirit and music of Cuba through dance and percussion. Niles portrayed the flamboyancy and extravagance of Carnival in Brazil.
The talent segment thrilled the audience to no end. Daniela made a unique choice of choreographed performance with hula hoops. P’Azhae had a combined performance of calypso style singing and dancing en pointe. Je’Nicia also had a combined performance of playing the saxophone and dancing, wherein she celebrated the music of some St. Johnian bands like Cool Session Brass. Jeminie’s performance depicted a dance routine for a fictional dance competition like those seen on the show Bring It.
By the end of the night contestant #4 Jeminie Niles had captured the titles of Most Cooperative, Most Photogenic, Best International Wear, Best Talent, Best Evening Wear, and ultimately Miss St. John Festival 2017. Contestant #2 P’Azhae Harrigan was awarded Miss Intellect, and 1st Runner Up. Contestant #1 Daniela Joseph was awarded Miss Congeniality.