A 22-year-old Kingsborough Community College graduate Saturday night outshone six other beauties to win the Miss New York Continental Cultural Pageant at George Wingate High School Auditorium on Kingston Avenue in Brooklyn.
Miss Georgetown, Guyana, Shary Solomon, 22, outclassed her competitors with elegance, beauty, grace, poise, talent and articulation to win the crown with the judges’ vote – and the crowd’s acclamation.
When Master of Ceremonies Atiba Williams announced the winner late Saturday night, Solomon, who was also voted “Miss Photogenic,” could not withhold her emotions, breaking down in tears.
“I was overwhelmed,” Solomon told Caribbean Life in an exclusive interview afterwards. “I’m not a talker.
“It’s something I like doing, but I just have fear of crowds,” she added, referring to participation in the pageant that was organized by the Brooklyn-based Caribbean American Cultural Group, Inc. (CACG).
Solomon — who holds an associate degree in substance abuse and counseling, and plans to pursue further studies in counseling and education — said it was the first time she competed in a pageant.
“I feel the other contestants were beautiful, and they all did well, making it a tough competition,” said the Guyanese beauty, who migrated to Brooklyn from her native country when she was 15.
“When I was backstage, I was mentally preparing myself, and God’s favor was upon me,” she added.
Solomon, currently an assistant in a doctor’s office in Brooklyn, wowed patrons in her evening wear, wearing a gold mermaid, V-neck, backless gown.
For her talent, she performed a praise and worship dance to “Ocean” by Hill Song.
In response to the pageant’s interview question, “Do you think public citizens have the right to carry a firearm?” she said: “Yes, only if they are licensed to carry that. If the people think they have a right to carry the license, once they qualify, they have the right to carry it.”
Competitors were also judged on swimwear.
Miss St. Vincent Yeshi Francis, 17 — who graduates this month from Brooklyn High School for Leadership and Community Services in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and will attend La Guardia Community College in Queens in the fall – took the first runner-up spot.
Miss Barbados Drena Akuetaire, 20, was second runner-up. She is pursuing a career in fashion designing and will also return to school in the fall, pursuing a degree in nursing.
Other competitors were: Miss Grenadines (St. Vincent) Raphaelia Leamy, 21, who was voted “Miss Congeniality;” Miss Guyana Aliyah James, 17; Miss Haiti Anaise Guillet, 19; and Miss New York Stantel Trapp, 21.
“I was grateful for the opportunity [to compete in the pageant],” Solomon said. “I’m going to use my winning to speak to young girls, like myself, to stay humble, stay true to themselves and be confident.”
Solomon’s platform is “Taking a Stance for Substance Abuse.”
The judges hailed from several Caribbean islands and territories — including Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, the British Virgin Islands, and Belize – as well as New York.
The pageant was founded and headed by Vincentian Yvonne Peters.