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Excited to serve … Miss Ja Festival Queen Khamara Wright ready for reign

Published:Monday | August 5, 2019 | 12:14 AM
Miss Jamaica Festival Queen 2019 Khamara Wright poses with her trophy.
Khamara Wright (centre), Miss Jamaica Festival Queen 2019, is flanked by first runner-up Annakay Hudson (left), Miss Kingston & St Andrew; and second runner-up Chardonnae Parkins, Miss St James, at the Miss Jamaica Festival Queen Competition held at the National Arena on Thursday, August 1.
Miss Jamaica Festival Queen 2019 Khamara Wright accepts her trophy and prize money presented by Olivia Grange, minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sport; and Pearnel Charles Jr, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.
Khamara Wright, Miss St Catherine, models evening wear during the Miss Jamaica Festival Queen Competition.

She has an undying love for community service and is now fired up to do even more.

She is Khamara Wright, the 23-year-old sous chef, who, on Thursday night, broke the 29-year drought for St Catherine, becoming the Miss Jamaica Festival Queen 2019.

“It truly is an amazing experience that words can barely do justice,” Wright told the Flair magazine on Friday.

A member of the Greater Portmore Joint Council, the New Kingston Rotaract Club, and the Council of Voluntary and Social Services, Wright beat back the challenge from 12 other parish queens to take the national title, last won by a St Catherine finalist in 1990 when broadcaster Dahlia Harris was crowned.

Wright currently holds a bachelor’s degree in food services management majoring in culinary arts and management, and is an aspiring nutritionist.

“I really enjoy enriching someone else through the skills I have garnered,” said Wright, and that’s exactly why she entered the Miss Jamaica Festival Queen competition – to get a broader platform to serve.

But preparing for Thursday’s grand coronation show was gruelling at times – tight schedules, rigorous routines, and formal fittings.

“While I think I had a good handle on this, the demanding schedule made me realise the importance of budgeting my time well to ensure a sufficient work, competition, rest balance. I now own a planner, and it has played an immense role in structuring my daily activities,” said Wright.

And there were other benefits, too.

“The competition allowed me to step out of my comfort zone, which was a challenge. It required being outspoken and employing personal management, and I know further developing those two skills will be invaluable assets going forward,” she said.


According to the new queen, through the competition, she was able to interact with young, strong, and inspirational women from all parishes; forge business ideas; and share perspectives.

“I know I’ve made lifelong friends,” said Wright, relishing the memories of media appearances and meetings with civic and government officials.

But who really is a festival queen?

She is someone who is a passionate cultural ambassador who is proud to wear and share Brand Jamaica, said Wright.

“The Festival Queen is selfless, driven, transparent, engaging, and relatable. A woman who is on a mission to enact changes where necessary while inspiring others around her,” she added.

Wright will reign for one year, and over the period, she intends to balance her role as a sous chef while carrying out her duties as Festival Queen, including launching her national project.

About the Miss Jamaica Festival Queen

Organised by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), the Miss Jamaica Festival Queen Competition has catapulted the careers of countless young Jamaican women for more than 50 years. The programme focuses extensively on the pivotal role of women in society in various capacities.

Some of the more notable past queens include Dr Marsha Barnett, Jennifer ‘Jenny Jenny’ Small, Jacinth Hall-Tracey, Dahlia Harris, Krystal Tomlinson, and Kaysia Johnson.

“Each year, the young women who are selected are those who best represent the brilliance and resilience of the Jamaican woman. Our theme for the competition this year is ‘Strong Jamaican Woman: Woman of Culture’, which is fitting as I believe our 13 parish queens are indeed strong women of culture,” said Andrew Clunis, director of marketing and public relations at the JCDC.