Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
Twenty-four-year-old Kerrie Baylis will once again represent Jamaica in an international beauty pageant, this time in Moscow, Russia, come November.
Baylis was crowned Miss Universe Jamaica 2013, ahead of 10 other contestants, in a coronation show at Jewel Dunn's River Resort in Mammee Bay, St Ann, on Sunday night.
Wearing the sash Miss BCW Capital, Baylis won ahead of Chantel Davis (Miss Jewel Runaway Bay Resort), and Salome Campbell (Miss Jewel Dunn's River Resort). Completing the top five were Monique Brady (Miss Kavalo), and Kesheima Scarlett (Miss Knutsford Express).
Prior to receiving the crown, Baylis copped the sectional prizes for best in swimsuit and most aware, with Campbell strutting away with best evening wear.
For her victory, the new queen earned a wardrobe valued at $1 million, $200,000 cash, jewellery, a weekend on the north coast, and other prizes.
Her victory followed her 2009 triumph in the Miss Jamaica World competition, representing the island in Johannesburg, South Africa, as well as winning the Miss Jamzone International Beauty pageant last year.
This time around, armed with those experiences, she will journey to Moscow, Russia, (later this month) for the finals at the Crocus City Hall.
"I'm confident. I think I have what it takes to do well. I have some prior experience behind me, having been Miss Jamaica World, so I'm hoping that I can do us proud," Baylis said after the contest.
"I'll bring that (Jamaican) spice to the international stage," she added, after revealing that she would be banking on the "Jamaican spirit" to do well.
The show was a low-keyed boutique staging, because of the short preparation time, but this did not cause it to suffer much in terms of quality. Top local designers Uzuri International acquired the Miss Universe Jamaica franchise in July, and were required to crown a winner by Sunday, September 15, and present her in Russia eight days later.
According to Uzuri's Mark McDermott, "We opted to do something small because we think the focus really should be on selecting the ideal candidate to represent Jamaica, rather than a big show, seeing the time that we got the franchise."
He continued, "We did our best under the circumstances. What was most important for us is getting a strong representative to go up."
He said that come next year, the event will be a "larger-than-life production" and will be televised live.
National director, Karl Williams, expressed confidence that Baylis would do well in Russia.
"I think she is a very rounded young lady, and I think she will do pretty well," Williams said.
Uzuri received full support from Jewel Resorts, which sponsored and hosted the event and also had two contestants in the top three. Prior to the coronation night on Sunday, the management of Jewel Dunn's River hosted the contestants to a special candlelit dinner on the pier along with the team of carefully selected adjudicators and special guests.