‘A win for one is a win for both’
Twins Tia and Tika rooting for each other in Miss Universe Jamaica East comp
Identical twins Tia and Tika Rutherford remember going up against each other in the Making a Start modelling competition in high school. “Tia came third and I was fourth,” Tika recalled with a laugh as she spoke with The Sunday Gleaner. Now finalists in the Miss Universe Jamaica East competition, one of five regional pageants sending contestants to the national Miss Universe Jamaica pageant, the stakes are much higher but the two are undaunted. “We are working hard because as we have told each other, a win for one is a win for both,” Tika said.
Having participated in various events and pageants over the years has prepared them for this stage. “It is a learning experience. The more we go through, the more we understand how to go up against each other, and build our characters [and] our experience. So, if she is doing better at one thing, and I am doing better at the other thing, we look at each other and figure out how we can make it better. It is like a fun competition for both of us,” Tika added.
In 2016, Tia and Tika took the Digicel Rising Stars stage as a duo, dubbed T.N.T.
“[We’ve] done a lot,” shared Tika. “We look at life [like] you do things that [you] have a passion for [and] you work hard at it,” said Tika.
According to both ladies, being in the pageant is friendly family rivalry, and they do not view their participation as a competition. “It is more of helping each other when it comes to our personal development and empowering each other. I see a one-two, if I win, she comes second, then if she wins, I come second. That is how we view it,” Tia said.
The winner of the Miss Universe Jamaica East competition is an automatic finalist in the national pageant.
According to Jermane Blair, regional director, Miss Universe Jamaica East, the sashing was an interesting highlight of the pageant. The ladies, he said, have demonstrated such a high level of intellect that it is difficult for the judges to really decide on a winner.
“It will be left to their performance throughout the rest of the competition simply because they are so highly intelligent,” Blair said.
“This is the best batch of girls we have seen in a while from the eastern side. The competition is so tight that it is going to come down to the wire on the day of finals based on how the competition is going,” he added.
Prior to the finals, that will be held at the Girl Guides Headquarters in St Andrew, there will be a private prejudging for the finalists. During the finals, each contestant will wear Bacchanal Jamaica Carnival costumes for their opening piece.
Fifteen finalists will compete for the Miss Universe Jamaica East crown come June 9. The contestants made their first public appearance last Thursday when they were sashed by their respective sponsors at the Footprints Café and Lounge in Kingston.
They are: Tia Rutherford, Courts; Tika Rutherford, Lucky Dollar; Imani Coleman, Star Agency; Deborah Gordon, Gustazos; Shanique Robinson, Dunn’s River Falls and Park; SeannaKay Wright, Creative Brands and Concepts; Ifa-Shanni Dehaney, Fit Farm Fitness; Alexcia Burrell, Courts Ready Cash; Anna-Kay Curtis, Courts Optical; Tyra Spalding, Mission Catwalk; Chavel Wilson, One Fi Di Road; Dreonna Powell, Anne Montgomery; Alicia Sewell, Bacchanal, Ramoneyea McKenzie, Footprints Café; Lianne Fullwood, Villa Fernando.
Zara Holmes is the reigning Miss Universe Jamaica East titleholder.
Title sponsors for this year’s competition include Unicomer (Courts) Jamaica Limited, Lucky Dollar and Fit Farm Fitness.