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Observer senior reporter—


DAVINA Bennett trounced 16 other contestants on Saturday night at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in St Andrew to take home the Miss Universe Jamaica title.

In a production that lacked fireworks, Bennett quickly became a front-runner once the field was reduced to the top 10. From then on she put in all the work to ensure that, at the end of the evening, the crown was hers.

Davina Bennett

Davina Bennett

But it was not all smooth sailing.

She would receive tough competition from Janae Jackson, the gorgeous, ebony beauty who is known to be a strong pageant competitor, having shown her mettle as a runner-up in the 2012 edition of the Miss Jamaica World pageant. Jackson again, like she did it 2012, had to settle for the first runner-up spot. Competition also came from Sara-Jade Kow, who was named second runner-up; dark horse Jodiann Harper; and Adrianna Bryan, who, were it for her stage presentation alone, would have already been on the plane to the international pageant — all of whom rounded out the top 5.

It was in the dreaded interview segment that Bennett truly stamped her name on the title. Asked for a strategy to inspire Jamaica’s youth, she suggested volunteerism as a means of bringing young people together, putting her thoughts together in a simple, succinct, yet complete manner. In doing so, she avoided the pitfall of the long-winded response, which afflicted a number of the other contestants due to nerves. Not even Jackson, who is usually strong in this area, could outclass Bennett. Jackson seemed thrown off by the fact she was introduced by the wrong name and had to remind the host of her own name; and to compound it, she was asked the same question previously asked of another contestant.

The finalists

The finalists

By the time the sectional prizes came around, it was beginning to become apparent that Bennett would be the girl to succeed outgoing queen Isabelle Dalley and represent Jamaica on the international stage. She was joint winner with Kow for the social media award, and also received the awards for best on the runway and altruism. Other winners were Addaire Esmie for congeniality, Andrea Myers — photogenic; Kamara Daley was voted best in evening gown, Kow took the best in swimwear prize; Jessica Wong received the public vote; and Jackson took the essence of style award.

Speaking to the Jamaica Observer following her coronation, Bennett said she decided to give the pageant a shot as a means to reach a wider audience.


“It’s a wonderful feeling,” she exclaimed. “I have been through a lot of struggles, but I worked really hard and just to see that it has all paid off feels great. It is really a blessing and I am really grateful to all my supporters. Fashion modeling was not really going my way, so I decided to take another route to get my voice and message out there. I see the Miss Universe platform as being a great way to spread the word about my foundation for the deaf.”

The 23-year-old Clarendon native is not resting on her laurels and will be sharpening her skills for the international stage.

“I will be preparing for a lot of gym work, reading a lot and just getting prepared mentally to take it all the way for Jamaica. I am confident and ready to take on the goals that I have set for myself,” said Bennett.

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