Jump Start girl Nuriyyih Gerrard takes on pageantry
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You’d been forgiven if you’re still having trouble pronouncing her name. We are too! So, try slowly with us – Noo-ree-yae. Miss-Guyana2i

Another confession: We know calling her the Jump Start girl might be too cliché, but seriously, that’s how we all know Nuriyyih Gerrard.

She is the swashbuckling radio jockey that wakes people out of bed on 94.1 Boom FM and keeps them entertained for a full three hours alongside Gordon Moseley, the former Capitol News anchorman who decided to adjectivise the show’s time slot with a sexual position.

Of course, long before Hits and Jams asked her to join Moseley on the morning show, Nurriyyih had had her time on the radio. In fact, she tells us that she used to do programmes on all three stations of NCN, but, am, before Hits and Jams (and, well, the Hindi filmi music on NTN and RGI) ain’t nobody had time with radio![box type=”shadow” align=”alignright” width=”300px” ]Potaro-¬Siparuni,tThe Heartbeat of Beautiful Guyana

(Each of the Miss World Guyana contestants represents a different geographic region in Guyana. Nuriyyih represents Region Eight and, we extracted the following description, from an essay she wrote)

Region 8, ¬ Potaro-¬Siparuni is 20,051 square kilometres of sheer beauty. Located in the forested highlands of Guyana, the region got its name from the Potaro and Siparuni rivers, tributaries of the Essequibo river and its natural boundaries. According to the 2012 census, the region has a population of 10,190 people, predominantly the indigenous Patamunas and Macushis. While commerce is centred on the area’s gold and diamond mining operations in the administrative centre of Mahdia, other economic activities include forestry, farming, cattle rearing and tourism. Potaro¬Siparuni is home to the iconic Kaieteur and popular Orinduik waterfalls; and one of the four remaining unspoiled rainforests in the world, Iwokrama. With its mountain ranges, natural waterfalls, high altitude communities, pristine forests and countless species of animals and plants this region is a gold mine of eco¬tourism potential. [/box]

While trying to carve out a space for herself as a young broadcaster, she was also busily engaged in her true love – acting. It started when she interned at the National AIDS Programme Secretariat, and as part of the communications strategy there, she helped developed Shattered Hopes and Dreams, which was eventually made into a movie.

She won best actress then from the National Schools Drama Festival. Then, in 2011, she was adjudged Best Actress for Ensnared by the National Drama Festival, and she collected the same prize from the Festival last year for the production Crack Jokes.

Nuriyyih puts her entire being into acting, conscious of the fact that she can’t appear to be seen as “acting.”

“When you’re acting, you have to embody the character that you’re playing, so none of it is you on stage.” That fierceness with which she approaches acting is the same attitude that she brings to radio.

Take her off the radio and stage though, and what you find is a calm, almost diminutive character. That stems from her ongoing battle to be confident in herself.

Ever since she had a fall as a little girl that left a scar on one of her feet, she had been secretly harbouring the desire of entering a beauty pageant. Her father had said to her in typical Guyanese Creole refrain: “Look how you gone and damage yoself; now you can’t even do a pageant.”

Though she fantasised about the idea, she didn’t think she was beautiful enough or had the body type fit for a beauty pageant stage. Her move into broadcasting saw her interviewing beauty pageant contestants and the like, and she still all the while felt she could not be one of them.

But, no more of that now.Nuriyyih has entered the Miss World Guyana pageant, and, while she eyes the crown, she already sees the experience as one that has helped her fight inward tendency to second guess her true worth, and she doesn’t care if the cynicism of others say that that’s what every pageant girl says.

The Miss World Guyana pageant is set for May 27 at the National Cultural Centre. The winner will represent Guyana at the Miss World Pageant. Will it be Nuriyyih?

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