THE KERRIE EFFECT: Above, with a staffer at the Russian Embassy last September. Below, calling on PM Portia Simpson-Miller at Jamaica House in October.
Though impossibly fresh-faced and preternaturally gorgeous, Kerrie-Ann Baylis, 25, is more, way more than just a pretty face. The reigning Miss Jamaica Universe has a mind for serving the Jamaican community by aligning her star power with key projects aimed at transforming lives. Case in point: the National Blood Bank/Lucozade donation drive, which opened on Monday at the Girl Guides HQ in Kingston, where Baylis was on hand to motivate the young first-time donors (the KC boys seemed particularly excited to be in her company) and bring TALLAWAH up to speed on how she's been fulfilling her life's purpose.
TALLAWAH: Why was it important for you to endorse this Lucozade/National Blood Transfusion Service initiative?
Baylis: Many people know this already because I have made no secret of it: my sister Katrina has a very rare disorder which affects her bone marrow and her ability to produce blood cells. She often needs blood donations, so this is a cause that's very dear to me; it hits home. And when Lucozade asked me to be a part of it I was more than happy to join forces with them. Something that I've always wanted to do is keep my own blood drive. I think people need to realize how important it is to give blood. It's all about raising awareness because the blood banks are very low constantly.
It's been quite a year for you. How have you been enjoying the ride?
My reigning year has been very busy, eventful, exciting. All of the above. Going to Russia to represent Jamaica was great because I always enjoy going to new places. It was my first time in Russia so I had to get used to the cold weather. But I think that's one of the benefits of actually being in a pageant like that; you get to travel the world and experience different cultures and meet new people. The Miss Universe pageant itself and just being an ambassador on a whole takes a lot of hard work. You quickly realize that it's not all glamour and red carpets as some people might think.
Apart from blood donation awareness, what are the other projects of national import you hope to get involved with?
The list is endless, so I try to help in as many different areas as I can. Having this platform, a lot of people come up to you, which helps. I try to say yes to everything that comes my way where I know I can make a difference.What's next for you professionally?
I have a few things in the pipeline I can't mention quite yet. Just keep an eye out.
Let's switch gears and talk relationships. Do you see a spouse and kids in your future?
Hahaha! Not anytime soon, but we'll see.
What's one thing people would be surprised to discover that Kerrie Baylis is into?
I actually enjoy very simple things. I don't get much downtime, so when I do I very much like spending time with the family. I love going to the beach and visiting different parts of Jamaica and exploring the natural beauty that we have on this island.
You're always so impeccably turned out for your appearances. What does style mean to you?
I think style is a great way for people to express themselves, and especialy as a woman how you feel on the inside is reflected on the outside. No matter how I'm feeling, I make sure that I wake up and I dress up. It really brings out what I'm feeling and boosts your confidence. I love fashion and I love style; it's my little way of expressing myself.