MISS BARBADOS SHANNON HARRIS SHARES HER PAGEANT REALITY
It’s not all peaches and cream behind the scenes at International Beauty pageants around the world. In an exclusive interview with Profiles98 Magazine’s Fashion Editorial Director WALTER GREENE in New York recently, the reigning `Miss Universe Barbados’ SHANNON HARRIS revealed her truth about competing in the last `Miss Universe’ pageant, held in Manila, Philippines. The 5’9″, 22year-old beauty was a clear favorite during the pageant, hitting the top 20 prediction list and even copping top 10 status on the Pageant Leaderboard on websites like globalbeauties.com, it was obvious that this Caribbean gem was overlooked when it came to the finale’ of the competition. France, Haiti and Colombia, copped the top three spots, Miss Barbados did not even make the semi-finals.
Noting that the Miss Universe Organization pretty much have their eyes on who would work the best for the organization, for one year. The reality of it all is that the pageant is a big job interview. Shannon re-iterated; “I think it’s a business and a lot of politics goes into this show, no matter what they say. They always have their set girls. I got what I wanted from it anyway, which was exposure, networking and overall a great move for me with new experiences.” Shannon was in New York months after the pageant looking into modeling opportunities. Up until pageant time, Shannon was signed to Elite Models Miami, where she shared residency with her native Barbados.
ON WINNING THE MISS UNIVERSE BARBADOS TITLE
Much like her attitude going into the `Miss Universe’ pageant, Shannon said; “I went into it knowing I was going to do my best and was fine with it. I knew I had a very good chance, I knew I was going to go very far and get into the top five. I did my best. I’d been modeling for a while and pageantry was not really my thing.” So why did she enter? “I was persuaded by a couple of people for some reason. I tried it and was able to represent my country at the `Miss Universe’ level. Now, I’ve done it, it was the top of the level of pageantry and would not do another pageant…..but, I’ll be very hands-on with the local level this year, working on the Miss Universe Barbados pageant. There is a lot involved.” What kinds of advise would Shannon give potential `Miss Universe Barbados’ candidates? “You have to come in with the right attitude. Take it one day at a time. You’ll have everything to gain and nothing to loose.”
I asked Shannon what she thought of the winner Iris Mittenaere and some of the other delegates that she thought were worthy of note. “I think Miss France is a great girl, she gave her A-game. She was very shy and cried when she was announced as the winner. Overall, the most beautiful was Miss Colombia, she was very captivating, you could’nt take your eyes off of her. During the competition, she was always bubbly with high energy and always gave everything, so did `Miss Brazil.’ Cayman Islands was like that also. Kosovo was also captivating. Venezuela was more of a model type than a Beauty Queen.” I asked what she thought of first runner-up and obvious crowds favorite `Miss Haiti’ Raquel Pelissier. “I was’nt a fan of Haiti, I found she was boring….more boring than France!”
“We were all shocked when they announced the top 13. People were freaking out backstage. There were LOTS of tears and a lot of the girls felt they wasted their time. For me, not winning was not the end of the world. I can’t tell the Universe what to do. I’m very grateful for what happened. I learnt to be focused, I learnt to be on time everytime and how to make myself present…..we all had something, everybody was sick, the flu, colds, you name it, but, we did’nt have time to stay in bed. There were Doctors on site, they gave medication, but with the grueling schedule, there was no time to rest.”
THE PERSONAL INTERVIEW
Shannon, whose room-mate was `Miss Aruba’ said that the individual interviews were very conversational. Done in private, away from the cameras and the public view, judges interviewed each of the 86 Miss Universe delegates, and, the scores from these one-on-one interviews help to determine who moves forward to the semi-finals (top 13) of the competition. “They asked me very simple questions,” recalled Shannon. “They asked me how did I get along with my room-mate; am I an organized person; what drives me and what I do to get over challenges.”
On more positive vibes coming out of the `Miss Universe’ pageant, Shannon said that the host country; the Philippines served as “an amazing host for the pageant. The cultural activities and tours were incredible, the people were welcoming and very mannerly and the food was incredible.” Now that the pageant is all over, what’s next for this Caribbean Beauty Queen? “I am getting back into my modeling. Five years from now, I see myself successful in my career.”
By Walter Greene