Davion Smith, BVI News Journalist
Helina Hewlett is ready to represent the British Virgin Islands at the 2017 Miss World final on November 18 after nearly pulling out of the pageant.
After the senseless destruction from Hurricane Irma, the BVI Pageant Committee said they had called it quits on their campaign for the international crown.
“We contacted Miss World and said listen, I don’t think we’re going to send anybody, you know. But Miss World encouraged us to send her still. They said they’d take care of her,” Co-chairman of the committee, Damion Grange told BVI News.
“Miss World is taking complete care of her while she’s there. They’ve gone an extra special mile to accommodate her. In light of what happened, they are just making sure she is ok because they know she went through an ordeal too. She, too, had barely survived the hurricane,” Grange explained.
The BVI Pageant Committee co-chair said the funding that was available to support Hewlett was washed down the proverbial drain when the category 5 hurricane struck in September.
However, Grange said assistance from donors locally and abroad has poured in.
“We asked different people to contribute because we knew the government would be in a situation and we didn’t want to burden the government so we just asked various people to contribute and they have been very much helpful.”
“Yumi Katsura gave us some pieces and then whatever else we got from them was half price. The gown is being sponsored by a designer from Guyana who we have used in the past… Helina’s mom has beauty products from Amway so we didn’t have to spend any money in that regard,” Grange said.
The 2016 Miss BVI Universe, Kadia Turnbull also contributed. “Kadia had stuff that she hadn’t used so she gave them to Helina,” Grange added.
Hewlett is now in China where the pageant is being held this year.
“Preparations were halted big time… But she is doing good. They gave her personal time on camera and she got an opportunity to talk about the BVI and how we are resilient.”
Miss BVI Universe readying
In the meantime, Grange said things are also going well for the reigning Miss BVI Universe, Khephra Sylvester.
Sylvester is slated to compete at the Miss Universe final which is being held on November 26 in Las Vegas, USA.
“We are working now to get Kephra off to Miss Universe. She is in the Cayman Islands now because her job has relocated her. We contacted folks from the Cayman Islands and they have been working with her and helping her to get prepared. They are doing a lot of the work from that leg,” Grange told BVI News in an interview last week.
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