5 Questions with Toni-Ann Singh
Before she jets off to London, England, to compete with over 100 other similarly talented, educated and personable beauties, The Gleaner caught up with the island’s newest Miss Jamaica World, Toni-Ann Singh. If this interview were an indicator of what to expect in the upcoming nail-biting question-and-answer round (that we all hope she dominates), Singh is well on her way to charming the pants off the international judging panel.
Eloquence aside, Singh’s tone is delicate and slightly nasal, floating her words across in a comfortably conversational manner, which turns out to be a pleasant feature for someone who is not short on words. But that’s just when she speaks.
When Singh sings, it’s a different story – an epic comparable to the life and vocal chops of Whitney Houston herself. Find out a bit more about our new queen with these five questions:
When did you start singing? Is it in the family?
I’ve been singing since I was very young. I sang in church with the children’s choir, and I’ve been classically trained since I was nine. I would say it’s a thing in my family, because we all like to sing together. I even have an uncle on my mom’s side who does music a lot – Prince Theo.
Did you ever aspire to a singing career?
I think there was a time when I did, when I really thought about what I wanted to do with my life – and that turned out to be serving people, and medicine, and helping people in my community. I haven’t written it off. If the doors open, why not?
When you’re not making appearances, how are you preparing for the pageant?
Walking, because there’s modelling and Beach Beauty – just fine-tuning those things. And working on my talent piece. For question-and-answer, it’s all about being genuine and true. The whole point is to be your genuine self, so I’m making sure that what I’m saying is what I’m thinking – rather than something that was given to me.
What kind of preparation does pageantry take that ordinary people don’t realise?
Two things: This is mentally draining. The goal of this pageant is if you win, you become an ambassador for the United Nations with engagements all over the world, speaking to people all over the planet. You have to be working on all these to make sure people don’t meet a tired, angry or hungry you. It’s a lot of mental strength because I’m an ordinary person.
I don’t really wake up and remember that I’m Miss Jamaica World until something happens or someone says something. I hope I’m going to be a representation of that fact that you don’t have to be superhuman. You can be ordinary and still be worth a crown.
Do you watch television shows? Do you even have time for them? What do you watch?
Yes! Game of Thrones, The Office ... . I’m an only child, so I got used to playing TV shows in the background to keep me company. I’ve burned through a lot. I also like The Mindy Project and The New Girl. I identify with them because I think I’m equally as awkward (laughs). I find a lot of joy in that.
Bonus: What do you have to make some time for? How do you unwind?
I like food – a lot. I have an obsession with avocado, ice cream and delicious chocolates. As I mentioned earlier, I would sit and watch a show – kind of absentmindedly watching it, just relaxing. But get this, if I’m tired and I have a headache, when I start singing, I don’t feel the headache. I could be driving home and get a headache ..., if I sing all the way, I won’t feel it. But if I’m silent ... (laughs). I don’t understand it.
And my family! I am so big on family. My goals and dreams always tie into leaving something for my family. In my spare time, I plan for Christmas. Everybody else doesn’t really care about it (laughs), but I spend time planning everything. I send out assignments to everyone from January. I bought my gifts at the end of April. It really brings me joy planning family events. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine.