Sabrina Clinton along with Elijah Knight founded Caribbean Gemz in September 2013, an organization which strives to bring new facets to Caribbean culture including fashion, health awareness and beauty care. The two are life and business partners, both of Barbadian heritage, and are referred to in the fashion world as the “power couple.”
Sabrina comes from a modeling background, but it was Elijah’s concept to start a beauty pageant for Caribbean women, an idea he had when they asked themselves: How can we get people more involved with their heritage?
“The Ms. Caribbean Gemz Pageant is designed for women of West Indian descent, living in the United States, and gives them a chance to represent their culture and be introduced to other opportunities,” says Clinton. “For women, we introduce fashion and beauty care. Some women do it for confidence building. It’s also a way to be introduced to the fashion world.”
Their queens — last year’s from Barbados, this year’s of Puerto Rican heritage — rode on the lead float in the Caribbean Day Parade.
“This year’s queen, Katherin Jennings was chosen because the judges felt her confidence. “Her personality really stood out and she was the more articulate,” said Clinton. She and the first runner up spoke at a Breast Cancer event. The queen spoke at other charity events such as the Brooklyn Cinderella Program.
The eight competing young women, ages 21-35 came from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St. Kitts & Nevis, Puerto Rico, Guyana and Jamaica, this year. One aspect of the three-part competition is when they wear a cultural outfit they have made or put together to depict their island’s culture or heritage. They write a description and give a heritage background.
The two agree that, “We want to help women get further in fashion, modeling and gain the experience needed to obtain their goals.”
As for inspiration, “A few close friends that have companies of their own, making differences in their unique ways, inspire us,” says Knight.
He adds, “We are proud of our Ms. Caribbean Gemz Beauty Pageant in which we inspire Caribbean women to reach for more than just the norm. We have made an impact on these women in giving opportunities that they thought were just dreams.”
Knight emphasizes that the winners have opportunities for interviews, fashion shows and socializing in elegant settings in addition to their attendance at charity and fundraiser events and hosting book readings for children.