Miss Universe Barbados Shanel Ifill says she is looking forward to experiencing new cultures, and also sharing Barbados’ culture with the world. (Picture by Krystal Hoyte.)
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It still hasn’t sunk in as yet for Miss Universe Barbados 2019 Shanel Ifill that she’s queen.
Just over a week since coronation night and 20-year-old Shanel is still stunned that she now gets to wear the coveted “five pound crown”, as she puts it, wear the gold sash and represent the 166 square miles that is Barbados.
“It’s still a shock for me. The other day I was in the supermarket and this lady came up to me and congratulated me and I was so confused. So it’s still a big shock for me. It’s still sinking in but I’m so excited to be representing this country,” she said.
Relaxing at Hilton Barbados on Wednesday shortly after signing some Miss Universe documents, Shanel said though she prepared for the pageant, everything on that night was a blur for her.
“From when I touched the runway, everything else is still a blur. I really don’t remember anything. I mentally prepared for it by listening to music the entire time – that’s how I get myself in the zone – but everything that actually happened is a blur.
“I remember Gaynelle [Marshall, the MC] saying Beviny’s name [second-placed Beviny Payne], then I was so confused. Then she told me to walk and I was like, ‘Oh, I won! This is real!’ Then in the morning I saw the sash on my bed and I was like, ‘What is that doing here?’ It really is a surreal feeling,” she said with a slight chuckle.
A model by profession, she told Easy Magazine she was never interested in pageants and only entered after much prompting. “I’ve always been a model. With the very helpful nudging of Lani Daisely and Shannan Harris, I entered.”
A still surprised Shanel Ifill (left) having her sash placed on her by Miss Universe Barbados 2018 Meghan Theobalds after the 20-year-old was announced winner last weekend. (Picture by Reco Moore.)
Sitting upright much like the queen she now is, Shanel said she was so glad she made the decision to enter since she had come out a much better person.
“It was all I expected it to be and more. I have a tendency to talk very quickly and that’s something Gaynelle worked with me on. Learning how to properly answer a question as well. Learning to walk as well because modelling walking is different from pageant walking and that’s something that I had to learn the hard way.
“Now I speak very slowly. I have to consider what I wear before I leave the house now. I’m more aware of myself and I’m a more confident person. When they advertise Confidently Beautiful, it’s very true, because it pushes you to be a better version of yourself. I learnt myself more than I ever thought I could. I thought I knew myself pretty okay, but entering the pageant taught me who I really was, and what I like and don’t like,” she reflected.
The new queen, a University of the West Indies (UWI) law student, added: “I don’t think it mattered to me or not when I entered if I won. I wanted to do it for myself because it’s a very introspective journey. It didn’t matter if I won or not.” (DB)
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