Isabel takes the crown - 18-y-o wins inaugural Miss Universe Ja North West
Throughout Isabel Dalley's school life, she was ridiculed and humiliated because of her height.
Standing at 6ft 2 inches tall, last Friday night, the 18-year-old beauty surpassed 17 other women, making history in the process by being named the first Miss Universe Jamaica North West at the event's inaugural staging at the Hilton Rose Hall.
Dalley, a science major student at the Montego Bay Community College, says that as the reigning queen and the new ambassador of the anti-bullying campaign, she will now be able to improve the lives of Jamaican youth "as I myself was subjected to bullying".
The beauty queen, who walked away with the crown and the sectional prize for Most Aware, received stiff competition from first runner-up and winner of the Swimsuit section, Natalee Prout, says she had high expectations of taking home the crown but was still uncertain as all the girls were very strong competitors.
"After completing the elimination round, I realised that I would be up against intelligent and beautiful women, some of whom have had years of experience in pageantry," she said, adding that she was truly humbled and hoped she could at least have been placed in the top five.
"I could never have imagined being crowned the first Miss Jamaica Universe North West despite the strong support from my family and friends," she admitted.
Among one of the crowd favourites, Dalley's presentation was outstanding, particularly, in the interview segment. Prout again was her closest rival in that segment, along with third place winner Shadae Haye.
Dalley describes winning as an experience unparalleled with anything in her life.
"I hope that I can promote my platform of a healthy environment for a better Jamaica. This platform was brought about by my stay at the Montego Bay Marine Park, where I did volunteer work with Mr Hugh Shim and his enthusiastic team of rangers, who I had the pleasure of working alongside," she said.
With hopes of becoming a marine biologist, this platform is in sync with her career path. Her commitment to education is already clear, and this was evidenced throughout the competition.
"During the competition, I was in the process of preparing and sitting my Level One CAPE pre University exams. I had to manage my time efficiently, inputting study time, ensuring that I fit in appearances, three training sessions a week, and also gym time. It was a great feat of self-discipline," she tells The Gleaner.
Already, the western Jamaica audience is touting her as a great possibility for the national finals. Dalley is humbled by this.
"Like most other confident beautiful women who enter this competition, I see myself having the intellectual capacity, beauty, and determination to, hopefully, take home the national crown to Montego Bay, then further, to take the international crown home to my beautiful island, Jamaica," she says confidently.
The exceptionally executed event, staged by franchise holder Michelle Parkes and produced and directed by Alex Foster of ShowJam entertainment, saw Karel Ann McPherson receiving the Best Personality award, Shanique Jhun walking away with the Most Congenial prize, and Dominique Hendricks being named Most Photogenic.
Runway Star was Jodian Grant, Miss Social Media was awarded to Olivia Dwyer, and the Most Improved contestant who also wore the Best Gown was LeShae Sterling.
Parkes, in her speech, said the Miss Universe Jamaica North West was not just a beauty pageant, but an opportunity for young women to further their education and become leaders within the community.
"The experience and exposure gained from this journey are invaluable and will impact them positively," she said.
The event's major sponsors included the Hilton Rose Hall, John Swaby Entertainment, Jamie Delgado of JAVCO, Kiuki Tours, Mello TV, The Western Mirror, Di Foto Shoppe, and Bute Cosmetics.
Again, the duo, Granville Morgan and Naedene Rawlins, who are fast becoming the faces of events of a certain standard in Montego Bay, did the emcee duties.