CROWN HEIGHTS: Bryan, flanked by runners-up Sharlene Codner (left) and Honica Brown.
Considered from very early as one of the favourites to claim the crown, Anjell Bryan, a fashionably thin and statuesque UWI Mona alumna, nabbed the Miss Jamaica Festival Queen title before a capacity crowd at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre on Saturday, walking away with an attractive cache of prizes. It was a case of triumphing on home turf as Bryan, an Ardenne High old girl, represented Kingston & St. Andrew.
Incredibly poised and exuding a refined air (complete with a gap-toothed smile), Bryan took the top prize over a quality field of 13 radiant and highly intelligent - not to mention well-ronded contenders, who all gave impressive talent performances, one of the coronation's best segments.
But judges and audience alike clearly recognized a special quality in the 25-year-old who makes it clear that her main goal in life is to engage, educate and empower young people. "I must continue to be a role model for Jamaican youth," says Bryan. "As young people we have to hold our heads up." Bryan's runners-up were St. Ann's Sharlene Codner (2nd place) and Honica Brown of Trelawny (3rd place).
This year's judging panel, whose tough job it was to choose the most deserving contestant, comprised Georgia McDonald-Morrison (chief judge), R. Danny Roberts, Tastey Blackman, Toni Shae Freckleton, Rudolph Muir, Sheldon Shepherd and Ruth HoShing. The Entertainment Report's Kerry-Ann 'Kiki' Thombs proved a charming hostess while Romain Virgo put in a crowd-pleasing half-time performance. This year's theme: "Jamaican Women, Shaping our Culture and our Nationm."
> WHO WON WHAT: The Sectional Prize Awardees
Best Performer: Tahira Brown (Miss Portland)
Most Poised: Honica Brown (Miss Trelawny)
Most Active in the Community: Anjell Bryan (Miss Kingston & St. Andrew)
Most Congenial: Trudy-Ann Hylton (Miss St. James)
Most Culturally Aware: Anjell Bryan (Miss Kingston & St. Andrew)