Tonnia Ramsey, 20, wears a Carivog International design. She will be representing T&T in the Miss Mash International pageant in Guyana on the Easter weekend.
Photo: Karla Ramoo
BY AVALENE HARRIS
Tobagonian Tonnia Ramsey plans to make a career out of her passion for modelling. The shy 20-year-old of Blackrock, Tobago, was chosen by Carivog International to represent this country at the Miss Mash International pageant being hosted in Guyana.
The pageant, which was introduced in 1970, is part of the country’s Mashramani festival, a celebration of Caribbean countries.
“I want to visit places like Milan to model for some of the top fashion designers,” said the lanky former student of Signal Hill, in an interview at the Guardian’s office on February 10.
This is the second year that the pageant will be hosted.
Last year Miss Margarita took the title.
Ramsey hopes to do the same this year.
The reigning Miss Tobago Fest 2005, who is confident about bringing home the title, said it would be her first time gracing an international stage.
“I have been in competitions before, but not of this nature,” she added.
Ramsey, who would be competing against 16 other participants from countries including Brazil, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Colombia, said she would like to make appearances in some of the major magazines such as Vogue, Glamour and Elle.
She is expected to leave with an entourage to Guyana on April 14 (Good Friday).
“I never thought that my love for modelling would have taken me this far,” she said, “but I can see this going long term.”
Ramsey will be judged on four categories: costume, evening wear, swim suit and talent.
Her costume was designed by Carivog International and evening wear done by designer Patricia McKane-Williams.
Ramsey, who enjoys dancing, aerobics and singing, said that so far she has been getting support from both her family and her peers.
“They knew that I always had the potential since growing up.
“One thing’s for sure, they never knew that I was going to represent this country,” she said with a smile.
Ramsey, who smiled throughout the interview, said she owed it all to her mother.
“As a single parent, my mother had always shown true dedication and determination in raising three children on her own.
“And I believe that because of my mother, I could do anything that I set my mind to do.
“Now that I am in the spotlight, I am looking at life differently.
“My whole self-esteem has changed. Slowly but surely I am seeing my physical appearance changing with it,” she said.
Between rehearsals, Ramsey said that she prepared herself with a lot of exercise and a healthy diet.
Valeria Noreiga of Carivog International, who is responsible for Ramsey’s wardrobe and make-up, said that Ramsey would be among 50 participants from Tobago and 75 from Trinidad to travel to Hollywood for the annual World Championship for Performing Arts in August.
Noreiga said that in November last year a team from the US School of Film and Television and the Wilhemina Models agency visited T&T after Carivog received a contract to send representatives to take part in the parade.
“It’s all about exposure,” she said.
“This is the first time that she would be competing against other participants from other countries,” Noreiga added.
As part of the parade of nations, Ramsey is expected to prepare the traditional Carnival dish of pelau for the food festival.
“The competition would be like the Olympics for the arts.”
The competition lasts a week-and-a-half and includes categories for acting, singing, dancing, modelling and instrumental music.
The awards would be presented in gold, silver and bronze.
Ramsey is still looking for sponsorship for the trip to Hollywood.
“We have already begun raising funds for the trip, but we could do with so much more.”
Ramsey concluded, “I am still in the process of getting myself prepared, but I’ll be ready in time.”