Dr Sanneta Myrie still breaking barriers
Pursuing passion in medicine, performing arts
Dr Sanneta Myrie is passionate about the work she does in providing medical care. She has also embraced all facets of our Jamaican culture through the performing arts, and like she has done throughout her life, she’s putting in the work and excelling at it all.
Raised in Greenwich Town by her adopted father, Dr Myrie excelled in school, and went on to complete medical school at The University of the West Indies, Mona campus. In 2015, she was crowned Miss Jamaica World at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall. Her participation in this beauty contest has given her an enviable platform as a role model for girls throughout the Caribbean.
“I did the audition for Miss Jamaica World [on] the very last day that I had my final exams at UWI. It must have been divine inspiration. I did not consider myself to be that brave of a person to just go after something so big. I always took my Jamaican culture and heritage very seriously, and I always wanted to represent Jamaica on a grand scale, to wear that crown, and be that symbol for Jamaican beauty and culture,” Dr Myrie said.
Dr Myrie was the first woman to do so while wearing locs, joining the ranks of Joan McDonald, who was the first Jamaican woman with an Afro to be placed on the Miss World stage.
“I particularly wanted to enter with my locs, because I knew we never had a Miss World with locs before. So it was just in retrospect, I wasn’t very audacious and brave. It was the first time I really stepped out of my shell like that. My family was very surprised that I went up for Miss World, because I think everybody saw me as a tomboy before that,” Dr Myrie shared.
“I never had a pair of heels before that. Make-up, and all of those things were very foreign to me. As a matter of fact, for my audition, I borrowed my best friend’s heels. Of course, I was always a dancer and a performer, so I acted the role; they say, you kind of fake it till you make it. I never considered myself a beauty queen, but certainly, I think I became that, and I really am very grateful for that journey,” she added.
Dr Myrie outshone 19 other contestants, winning what could only be described as a hotly contested competition at the Montego Bay Convention Centre. The two women who came closest to her crown were first runner-up Royanne DeSilva and second runner-up Rochelle McKinley.
“What I remember the most though is when I won, and people started to take notice of the locs and the fact that I am medical doctor and just all of the things that were unique to me as a beauty queen. There was so much support from my fellow Jamaicans,” she said.
During her tenure as Miss Jamaica World, Dr Myrie, through a partnership with the Heart Foundation of Jamaica, participated in a three-week tour of duty in East Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya.
“I was able to bring art and dance therapy to children in these countries. It was impactful for me to use art and performance to create social change in the way they saw themselves and to think and apply [this] to their daily lives,” she said.
At twenty-four-years-old, Dr Myrie’s beauty and talent saw her finish among the top five out of 120 beauties who faced off at the 65th Miss World competition in Sanya, China. Dr Myrie fought hard and represented the country and herself with poise and grace that saw her included in the top 5 with the representatives of Spain, Russia, Indonesia, and Lebanon.
Since her sojourn as Miss Jamaica World, Dr Myrie has completed her qualifications as a general surgeon and is currently in residence at the University Hospital of the West Indies. She looks forward to becoming an oncoplastic surgeon.
Her story is also one in which she has combined her love for the performing arts with her medical career. “I have always been connected with the arts. I have always had memories of myself being a performer, so I am both analytical and creative. I find the synergy for helping people through both mediums,” Dr Myrie highlighted.
Dr Myrie is currently one of the main characters in the highly acclaimed theatre production, Pitchy Patchy, comical revue exploring the natural mysticism surrounding what it means to be Jamaican.
“Rayon McLean and I have been a part of the QUILT Performing Arts Company that began at The University of the West Indies. We have been performing together for over 12 years. When Rayon had this brilliant idea to bring together the creative expression of social media, meeting traditional theatre production, I became a part of it. This is my second year being a part of the cast. With the inclusion of Wayne Marshall, I am very grateful to be involved in this production,” Dr Myrie said.
She shared that she loves storytelling, and her patients appreciate her for adding creativity to the human element of their visits. “I hope to be able to do more plays and continuing performing on stage,” she said.
As we closed our interview, we asked Dr Myrie to share one of her favourite mantras. The phrase indicate her willingness and commitment to beating the odds. “Sometimes it’s the people that no one imagines anything of, who do the things that no one can imagine,” she said.
“I consider myself very fortunate because I know what it means to be at a disadvantage, and to understand the inspiration that is needed to accomplish goals; and these goals can be limitless,” Dr Myrie said.