It was sheer jubilation inside the Ballroom of the Hilton Kingston Hotel on Sunday, March 24 as 19-year-old Sanya Hughes triumphed over 12 other contestants, to take the coveted title of Miss Jamaica Universe 2002.
Her fan club rose to its feet and made plenty of noise to indicate their pleasure and satisfaction for that matter, on her victory.
“I feel so good. Really I feel honoured. This is a very happy time for me right now,” Hughes told this writer shortly after she was crowned.
Asked what she planned to accomplish during her reign, the customer service representative at First Global Bank said, “I plan to do a lot of work with children. Especially the children on the street.”
The coronation show which was produced by Pulse’s head honcho Kingsley Cooper, started at approximately 7:40PM with a Karl Williams choreographed dance piece to “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.” From then, it was evident that something exciting was in store for the beauty contest enthusiasts who filled the venue.
The 13 contestants appeared in swimwear courtesy of Spunk, and later in fabulous and gorgeous evening/formal wear courtesy of Uzuri International and other designers.
Live entertainment was provided by upcoming singing sensation Shawn. Keep an eye on this female vocalist. Her performance was professional, and she held the crowd captive with her fine tuned vocal styling.
She dished out an original song “Looking For Mr. Right” as well as a take on of No Doubt’s “Hey Baby” and Regina Belle’s “Make it Like It Was,” which scored well with the crowd.
Cabaret veteran AJ Brown was also in fine form. His years of experience on the local and international stage definitely aided in his shows-stopping set. Armed with “All Fall Down,” “Unchained Melody,” “When You Love,” “Love People More Than Money” and other popular treats, Brown was at his best.
The technical aspects of the show left much to be desired and on numerous occasions, the lighting and sound failed to live up to expectations. Another sore point of the show was the lengthy breaks in between the selection of the finalists.
Making the Top 6 were Miss Quik Cash Money Transfer Tanisa Samuel; Miss First Global Bank Sanya Hughes; Miss Wright Style Ayisha Richards; Miss Orchard Vibe Olivia Leigh-Campbell; Miss National Gas Kayann Sunarth; and Miss Minott Services Violet Chang.
Sectional prizes were handed out for:
Most Aware: Sanya Hughes
Best Legs: Sanya Hughes
Best Figure: Sanya Hughes
Best Smile: Ayisha Richards
Most Congenial: Rachael Bryan
Best Hair: Violet Chang
After the 2001 Miss Jamaica Universe titleholder Zhara Burton made her final walk, the top three winners were announced.
Walking away with 3rd place was Kayann Sunarth. The 22-year-old won a $25,000 modeling contract with Pulse, as well as gift baskets and a weekend for two at a North Coast hotel.
Second place went to Violet Chang, who won for a guaranteed modeling contract with Pulse valued at $50,000, gift baskets, among other prizes.
The new queen, first place winner Sanya Hughes, who won the Miss Jamaica Petite Fashion Model pageant in 1997, walked away with $1 million cash as well as an all expense paid trip to compete in the Miss Universe contest.
The other contestants in the 2002 Miss Jamaica Universe competition were Staci Ann Gooden (Miss Ecogenics); Tamika Robertson (Miss Palmolive Botanicals); Tresha Cameron (Miss Comtrex Multi-Symptom); Rachael Bryan (Miss Liguanea Lane Pharmacy); Latoya Grant (Miss Trafalgar Restaurant and Bar); Shanique Johnson (Miss Signtex Ltd.); and Fiona Fennell (Miss Gotel Communications).