Toshami heads to 71st Miss Universe pageant
On January 14, Miss Universe Jamaica Toshami Calvin is set to represent Jamaica on the world stage as she competes in the 71st annual Miss Universe pageant being held in New Orleans, Louisiana. Following her crowning in September of 2022, Calvin immediately entered weeks of intense training to help her prepare for the competition.
As she prepares to proudly wave the Jamaican flag, she said the journey so far had been nothing short of exciting.
“Preparations for the 71st Miss Universe pageant have been going extremely well and have kept me very busy. We are working on the various aspects of the pageant, such as stage presentation, interviews skills training, fitness, and I’m also making appearances, which is an important part of training, as it helps to improve my confidence in my interactions with the public,” she said.
“One of the highlights of my journey so far is exploring my beautiful island and discovering many of our hidden gems such as Lovers’ Leap, Pelican Bar and the rustic, serene Windmill Cottages in the community of Malvern, St Elizabeth. Another highlight would be my visits to schools and the interactions I’ve had with our young people, seeing how receptive they are and hearing the questions they ask me. But the most exciting highlight thus far was being the patron for the Jamaica Council for People with Disabilities (JCPD) during their Disability Awareness Week 2022, where I assisted in raising awareness for individuals with disabilities, as we spoke about inclusion and how important this is for our society,” Calvin continued.
Doing It Big for St Thomas
The 26-year-old grew up in the parish of St Thomas. The cousin of Miss World 2019, Toni-Ann Singh, Calvin revealed to The Sunday Gleaner that it had also been a focus of theirs to bring their parish to the forefront through strong representation.
“Toni-Ann and I didn’t grow up talking about pageantry, but we did talk about the legacy we could create for our “forgotten” parish, St Thomas and that we would like to be examples who our young people could admire. We want to represent the fact that no matter where you’re from you can achieve any goal even the ones that seem bigger than you feel you are,” Calvin shared.
As for words of encouragement from the former Miss World, Calvin said her cousin told her to focus on the reason behind the pursuit.
“Toni-Ann’s main advice to me is that in everything I do or say, I should always remember my purpose,” she said.
“This competition is important to me because my goal is to raise awareness for children with disabilities and for children on the autism spectrum, and the pageant provides me with a platform that amplifies my voice to reach a wider audience and to interact with individuals who can help facilitate these objectives,” Calvin further said.
Over the weeks of preparation, Calvin, who recently departed the island for the competition, believes she has improved mostly in areas of self-expression, time management, fitness, and self-care. She is also very happy with the overall development and growth that she has seen in herself.
She hopes that even after the competition has ended, she will be a beacon to young girls to always go steadfastly after their dreams.
“When the dust settles, I want to be a reminder to young girls that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. I hope to have brought awareness to children with disabilities to foster conversation and effect change for more inclusion. I want us to continue to celebrate our accomplishments together and to be there for each other, especially on our down days,” she shared.
Calvin is competing against a total of 84 women from across the world.