Soyini Fraser is first Miss Guyana Earth

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A statuesque figure, a dazzling smile, and being on target with environmental issues helped 20-year-old Soyini Fraser, Delegate Number Six, sponsored by UNICOM, emerge as Miss Guyana Earth in the first pageant of its kind for Guyana, hosted last Saturday at Princess Hotel, Providence, East Bank Demerara.
At the  environmentally conscious pageant which recognises winners in four categories: Earth, Fire, Air and Water, Delegate Number Seven, 19-year-old Kiswana Jefford, sponsored by ‘Double C’ , with the  platform ‘Embracing Controlled Logging’, was sashed Miss Guyana Fire (1st runner up).
Delegate Number Five, 20-year-old Franale Holder, sponsored by ‘Sunlight International’ , with the platform ‘Clean Air’, was sashed Miss Guyana Air (2nd runner up) and Delegate Number Four, 22-year-old Shelon Fraser, sponsored by ‘Lucky Dollar’, with the platform ‘Using Plastics Wisely’, as Miss Guyana Water (3rd runner up).
The other contenders of the evening were Delegate Number One, 23-year-old Deoranie Badal, sponsored by the National Communications Network (NCN), with the platform ‘Sustainable Logging’, Delegate Number Two, 22-year-old Anesha Benjamin, sponsored by Forest Enterprises Ltd, with the platform ‘Responsible Garbage Disposal’, and Delegate Number Three, 21-year-old Velesha Easton, sponsored by Y&J International Cuisine, with the platform ‘Renewable Energy’.
The evening began on a high note  with the delegates making their entrance dressed in earth toned Afro-centric costumes, dancing to the official world cup song:  Shakira’s “Waka Waka”, and continued on its course with songs, dance, dramatic pieces, modelling and informative videos.
The official swimsuit leg of the competition had been hosted two weeks earlier, but those present were treated to a scintillating display of swimsuits from designer Alana Bennings swimsuit line “Gold Rush”.
But the real high point of the evening for many was the evening gown segment when the delegates displayed an impressive and varied selection of gowns. Anesha Benjamin wasn’t a finalist, but looked a vision and captured the “Best Evening Gown” prize, in an asymmetrical black and white creation aptly titled Ying and Yang; Deoranie Badal, looked like a goddess in a ruffled red creation.
Kiswana Jefford, stuck to the theme of the pageant and looked like a nature queen in a dress that blended shades of flora and fauna, so did Velisha Easton and Franale Holder, who combined nature and high couture in bouffant gowns. Delegate Number Four, Shelon Fraser, combined art and fashion with an avante garde piece that featured a ‘peek-a-boo’ front while the perfectly accesorised Soyini Fraser glittered in her figure hugging diamante accessorized pale blue evening own.
Then the most nerve wracking part was yet to come. The “Question and Answer” leg of the competition was over but the four finalists faced yet another question.

Coming out one by one from a room where they were isolated, the girls were asked the question, “What attributes would you highlight to attract tourist to this beloved land of ours Guyana?”
Kiswana was first and answered that she would highlight flora, fauna, waterfalls and hospitality of the Guyanese people.
Frenale, the ‘Intelligence winner’ said that each individual needs to contribute. We need to be courteous to foreigners and locals and we need to sell LCDS, she stressed.
A nervous Shelon was less clear but mentioned waterfalls and scenery.
Soyini was not as calm and collected as she had been in the other pageants, but answered well enough, saying “Guyana is a paradise on the way to heaven”. She said she would sell Iwokrama and highlight birds, jaguars and other rare species.
Ten awards were made, with the ‘Best Project’ and ‘Best Evening Gown’ awards going to Benjamin, the ‘Stick-to-it-ivness’ award to Badal, ‘Totally Together’ award to Shellon Fraser, ‘Photogenic’ and ‘Miss Congeniality’ to Frenale Holder, ‘Body Beautiful’ and ‘Queen of the Catwalk’ to Kiswana Jefford and ‘National Dress’ and ‘Most Creative Swimsuit’ to Soyini Fraser.
The winners were chosen by five different panels of judges after participating in five events spanning a period of two months.
The pageant was preceded by a ‘National Dress Competition’, the first in a string of scheduled events to promote the environmentally-conscious affair, a  second fashion show, dubbed ‘Elements of the Earth’, the Question and Answer segment and the swimsuit leg of the competition.
More than 90 delegates from various countries and territories will compete for the title of ‘Miss Earth 2010’, which will be held in Vinpearl Land, Nha Trang, Vietnam on December 4, 2010.
‘Miss Earth 2009’, Larissa Ramos of Brazil, will crown her successor at the end of the event.
The ‘Miss Earth’ winner serves as the spokesperson for the ‘Miss Earth Foundation’, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other environmental organizations.