Miss Manchester wins Festival Queen for the fifth time
Chereese Ricketts is Miss Festival Queen 2015, the 25-year-old architectural designer was able to walk away with the crown and take home the title to Manchester for the fifth time.
Some of the duties Ricketts will undertake as festival queen include ambassador of culture for young people, the launch of her community project with the Lasco Financial Service prize award of $200,000, which is to be used towards nation building.
Ricketts said the competition has helped her to grow as an individual in terms of her knowledge of the Jamaican culture. She was also inspired by the other girls in the competition. "It is a good thing when you have young people who are passionate about Jamaica and can inspire each other."
Ricketts also told Flair she was confident she would win the competition, noting that she did not undermine the work of herself and the other girls. "Confidence makes sense in getting what you want, I wasn't surprised when I heard my name, but I am still pensive on how I am going to make it work," she said.
"Oh boy, do I really know what this question is asking?" was Ricketts initial reaction when asked, but she was able to use techniques taught to her during the competition to answer it confidently.
A proud Ricketts told us about her community project eMOTION: "It's all about emotional, mental and physical well-being - move your body to take care of your mind." Most of the work involves dancing and all sorts of body movement, and all (workout) sessions are free.
When asked what where her thoughts on young Jamaican girls becoming 'Americanised'. She said it's easy to overlook the beauty and strength of the Jamaican people. "It's not good unless it's from somewhere else. Yes, we should explore other cultures, but there should be a balance to it ... we are visible on the world stage and the beauty of the nation should not be denied. Individuals should see how they can contribute to others seeing it. Our national pledge says it best 'increase in beauty'."
Ricketts would like to encourage girls to enter the competition because it is a development process that will help you to grow and become a better woman. "It doesn't matter if you win or not, the competition will build you in cultural awareness, performance, talent and you will just grow as an individual."
Why is the Festival Queen Competition still relevant, when pageants such as Miss Jamaica World and Miss Universe Jamaica are receiving all the glamour and attention? This was a question we asked Ricketts who proudly answered: "This is one that is Jamaica-centric and is truly about building your nation, with competent women who truly explore the depths of beauty beyond the exterior."
The Festival Queen Competition was first introduced in 1975 by the Jamaica Festival Commission and 40 years later, in the hands of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, it is still going strong. The focus of the competition is to build strong women who can shape our culture through cultural awareness, personal achievement, leadership qualities, general knowledge, appreciation of the role of women, communication skills, creative talent, community involvement, deportment and personality.