Saturday, 28 December 2019

THE TALENTED MISS WRIGHT: 2019 Festival Queen Khamara Wright on being a history-maker, her long-term plans and how cooking changed her life

THE NATURAL: "I'm a creative person," shares the 23-year-old, who hails from St. Catherine.

PUT Khamara Wright in the kitchen, and she’s immediately at home. “I started cooking when I was about eight because I sued to help my mom, Donnette, prepare meals. And I also helped my grandmother. So that’s where it started for me,” says the reigning Miss Jamaica Festival Queen, a sous chef and social activist who has put this early culinary training to life-changing use. “I’m a creative person; I love being creative in the kitchen. It’s definitely a passion. “

Her favourite dishes to prepare are traditional Jamaican delicacies like mackerel rundown and ackee and saltfish. I ask her about one day opening her own restaurant. “That’s part of my long-term plans, but first I want to get settled in my career then take it from there,” she says, sounding cautiously optimistic about what the future holds.

A daughter of St. Catherine, Wright firmly believes Jamaican authorities need to make vast improvements to the kind of assistance currently available to farmers and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector. “I am absolutely 100 percent on board with initiatives like the ‘Grow What We Eat, Eat What We Grow’ campaign,” she states emphatically. “It’s a great way to keep the income in Jamaica, while improving resources and creating opportunities for farmers.”

Which brings us to her planned national project. “It had to be something in line with my profession. It’s called ‘A Time to Eat’ and the aim is to help showcase and promote more indigenous Jamaican food items and raise the level of creativity in the preparation of Jamaican dishes.” 

Charming, intelligent and full of spunk, Miss Wright is the very definition of a young queen. A history maker in addition to being a high achiever, she’s the first young lady from St. Catherine to cop the title since Dahlia Harris’ triumph almost three decades ago. 

“It’s surreal but I’m proud that I was able to take the crown back to [my parish] after 29 years,” says Wright, whose favourite books include the John Maxwell bestseller What Successful People Know. “Now I’m a cultural ambassador for Jamaica, which comes with a little celebrity status that I wasn’t prepared for. But slowly I’m getting used to it.”

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