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Monday, June 12, 2006

From Mahdia to LA: Former tomboy vows to do Guyana proud


The Scene- Scene Stealer


Once upon a time she could have been considered a tomboy. At another time she called herself a scientist, which propelled her into the field of nursing.

Today she is a beauty queen and plans to enjoy every moment of it.

This is the story of newly crowned Miss Guyana Universe, Alana Ernest who leaves Guyana on June 27 to take part in the Miss Universe contest on July 23 in Los Angeles, California.

For Alana, heading to the United States is a long way away from the country girl who grew up in Mahdia.

She says all she can promise is that she will do her best.


When The Scene caught up with Alana she was still basking in having outshone ten other young ladies all of whom she described as being "intelligent and beautiful". Alana and her minders would not allow pictures to be taken of her during the interview, as she was not "looking like a queen" on that day. We beg to differ. Even without the makeup and the crown, she has the beauty queen look, what with her chic suit, long flowing hair, and slim stately body, what more can one ask for?

Okay, we went a little overboard there. She actually needs much more than that to be a 'real' queen, particularly if she wants to place in the final ten at Miss Universe or win the crown.

Alana is a mite too soft spoken. If she intends to be heard at the international pageant she needs to do something about this. Franchise holder, Odinga Lumumba has recognised this and plans to have her work on it.

But back to who the beauty really is. Alana told The Scene that she was born in Mahdia and she enjoyed the natural beauty of her community so much that she was sad to leave when it was time to further her studies.

In those days in Mahdia she loved to climb trees, swim and made numerous trips to the back dam. But she did not go fishing because she hates worms. And remember she is also no lover of chocolate and ice cream, strange but true.

The 23-year-old has numerous adjectives to describe herself, some of which are: friendly, dependable, adorable, hardworking and polite.

At an early age she was packed off to the city where she attended the St Margaret's Primary School but after four years she returned to Mahdia before returning to the city to become a student at the Central High School.

After the secondary school examination she returned to her hometown and applied for several jobs gaining one as a teacher at the Mahdia Secondary School. But even as she taught the children she knew her calling was nursing and was just waiting for the opportunity to skip professions.

And that's what she did one year later when she was accepted at the New Amsterdam Nursing School last November.

But why nursing? Alana said she since was a child she was into scientific programmes as she was fascinated with the body and its parts. There was a television scientist that she admired so much that she sometimes made believe she was in the field. As she got older she realised that the chance of her becoming a scientist was slim to none so she picked the next closest alternative, nursing. At least she would be able to learn the body parts and help to treat the diseases that may affect them. And she will not stop at nursing. Alana would dearly love to study medicine and one day become a doctor.

It may seem a little strange that Alana is now a beauty queen when one considers her childhood. But she revealed that she did a little bit of modelling recently and as a child, like most girls, she and her older sister held mock pageants and crowned each other with paper crowns. And as she got older and it became obvious that she would have a body most women would envy, her sister saw the potential in her and wrangled a promise out of her that she would one day enter a national pageant.

"My sister always reminded me and I remembered, so one day when someone approached me at the school and told me to enter the Miss Guyana Universe pageant, I said no at first but then I remembered the promise to my sister," she said.

She dropped her studies and hotfooted it to the city to be part of the pageant, which may have not been the wisest of choices she admits; she will be required to restart the nursing programme. But she feels the exposure she will garner from her one-year reign would make it worthwhile. And she would also have the opportunity to work on her tuberculosis awareness plan, which she said would be most rewarding. Tuberculosis awareness is her platform.

Alana was part of a historic pageant as for the first time it was held at a fun park - Splashmins on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway. Not only that, she also modelled in the rain. The inclement weather that was experienced on Sunday last would have made it not the best of ideas to have the pageant at such a venue, but maybe it was too late to reschedule.

Alana said it was not that bad. "Well the people [patrons] were in the rain and I felt if they were in the rain then I could model for them with some rain wetting me, I felt comfortable with them."

So she may have been a little cold and her teeth may have chattered a bit but she warmed right up when she was named queen.

Four days after the crowning when The Scene caught up with her she was still feeling, "great, ecstatic and excited."

She would probably still have that feeling when she flies out to the US later this month, but before that she would be spending some time with international designer Roger Gary and she would be working on that voice with someone else, Lumumba says.

Lumumba feels that not much work needs to be done on his queen to make her ready for Miss Universe. He says she already has the poise, grace and charm - what it takes to be a queen.

Alana is the fourth of six children, four girls and two boys, and she was born to Justina Polius and Lambert Ernest.

Stabroek News

Link Posted by jebratt :: Monday, June 12, 2006 :: 0 comments

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