Carla Minto-Drummond embraces her past
Defiance and indiscipline became threads deeply sewn in the fabric of Carla Minto-Drummond's life as early as nine years old, a reaction to her parents' separation at the time.
Almost immediately, the then little girl began dressing and acting as the opposite gender.
By the age of 13, Minto-Drummond had become fully rebellious and had unfortunately found kinship among other wayward teens in her hometown of Falmouth, Trelawny.
She remembers drinking, smoking, and partying at that tender age and leaving home to permanently live with her friends.
"By this time, my mother really couldn't control me and she had given up telling me what to do. At that time, there were many troubled teens who had formed cliques in Falmouth and we all fought against each other because that's the life we thought we wanted to live," the now 26-year-old woman remembers.
But what seemed like cool breeze suddenly turned to fire to the tails of Minto-Drummond and others like her as the fights and often public misconduct soon got many of them in trouble with the law.
"Some of my friends got in trouble with the law and some even died. I began to fear and I felt like I was going to die too. I couldn't sleep well at nights either. One night, I cried and prayed to God and told Him that I wanted to know Him before I died. I fell asleep and dreamed that someone stabbed me to death," she said, adding that, surprisingly, the next morning she woke up a totally different person.
The following day, according to her, she found a church and was baptised by the end of that week.
"Many people I never used to talk to sent messages congratulating me on the change. It is funny how life changes because I couldn't even drink or smoke after I had that dream. I had no desire for those things. I became a devout Christian and dropped many friends because people didn't understand my walk with God," Minto-Drummond explained, admitting that she even dropped her tomboy persona when she became a true woman of God.
Her transformation also came just in time for her to finish high school with nine CSEC subjects and multiple awards, including top accounting student.
Landing a job as a loyalty and travel consultant at Sandals Montego Bay some years later, Minto-Drummond's life experiences have surprisingly come in handy.
The young overcomer recently copped the Miss Flagship 2018 title, a pageant which focuses on the poise and environmental awareness of female team members at Sandals Montego Bay.
She said: "Because of my life experiences, I don't compare myself to people and this quality got me through the Miss Flagship pageant. I found myself encouraging my fellow contestants, who sometimes struggled with self-confidence. I had to be strong for them because I had overcome those things already, but we each have our journey."
She admitted that she entered the pageant because she needed a platform to inspire people, particularly youth who may feel they can't recover from negative experiences.
Minto-Drummond, who comes with high ratings from her superiors, revealed that she has already started to work with the Sandals Foundation to reach children in St James.
According to her, "I confidently embrace my past because it continues to positively impact the great woman I'm destined to be."