A queen in China - Chantal Raymond looks forward to the Sanya experience
Garfene Grandison, Gleaner Writer
She just missed having to go through days of torrential rain, and in fact, looks forward to a bright future from this day onwards.
Chantal Raymond, Miss Jamaica World 2010, left the island on Monday for Sanya, China.
For Raymond, the opportunity to make Jamaica proud at the 60th annual Miss World Pageant looms large. Never will it be larger than on October 30 when the competition begins.
On the day she left, Raymond had an all-day photoshoot where she displayed the outfits she will be wearing in China. That done, she spent some time with The Gleaner.
Excited about what her experience in China might be like, Raymond said she was looking forward to "the different cities, new sights and the varied cultures in the orient."
"I'm also looking forward to meeting 119 different girls from across the world because it would be nice to have friends from across the globe to go and visit," she said.
No man, or woman, is an island and Raymond has had help.
Miss World franchise holder, the Spartan Health Club, has provided Raymond with lessons in stage presentation, while Soft Sheen Carson has taught her about hair and make-up. Speech lessons and gym training have been a constant part of her training.
good track record
Going into the competition knowing that Jamaica has a track record of doing well with former beauty queens such as Carol Crawford, Cindy Breakspeare, and Lisa Hanna, you would think the pressure is immense.
According to Raymond, there is no pressure.
"It actually takes off the pressure because I know that there is an opportunity to do well. It isn't like Miss Universe where Jamaica doesn't usually do well, but to be in a pageant where the country is usually ranked is very comforting," she said.
"I'm not trying to overthink things because when I'm at ease it is much easier for me. I'm hoping that will help," she chuckled.
With the assistance of former beauty queen and pageant director Terri-Karrelle Reid, the 2010 queen admits that she feels adequately prepared both mentally and physically for the upcoming competition.
Time to prepare might be a challenge though. Other countries have been preparing for the Miss World competition for one year, while Raymond has had five weeks. But Raymond isn't so sure this is a negative thing.
"I don't know if having a year to prepare gives anyone a bigger advantage. A lot of things that I did in the Miss Jamaica World pageant were also useful in preparing for the international competition," Raymond said.
The newly crowned queen had come under much flack from detractors when she won the competition in August, but not even this has phased the Miss World hopeful.
"In the competition, these naysayers either had their own favourites to win or didn't get a chance to know me but lately a lot of them have come around because they have got to know me and respect the hard work and dedication that I have been putting into this competition," said Raymond.
That being said, there was just one parting quip left for Raymond to reel off. And that was thanks to all those who have been supporting her.