Winning the Miss Wob Dwiyet pageant last Saturday night was a major achievement for Jasmin St. Clair. It’s, however, the individual honour – Best Public Speaking Award – that she will treasure the most.
“Before this experience started, I was very shy and I was not comfortable speaking in front of an audience,” admitted the 21-year-old Centennial College nursing student. “I just cannot believe I have come this far that I can stand up and express myself clearly with so many people looking on. It’s amazing and I will covet this prize more than the crown even though they are both special.”
St. Clair also captured the Best Talent Award for her presentation of the Flag of the Commonwealth of Dominica.
Born in the Greater Toronto Area to a Dominican mother and Trinidad & Tobago father, St. Clair visited Dominica last year for just the second time for the World Creole Music Festival.
“I had a great time and I wanted to learn more about my culture,” said the Blessed Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School graduate. “With encouragement from family members and friends, I decided to take part in this pageant and it was quite the learning experience. It took me out of my comfort zone and I learnt many new things and made new friends.”
For first runner-up, Nikessa Joseph, the weekly trips from her Hamilton home to the city for rehearsals over the last four months paid handsome dividends.
Representing Dominica’s national bird, the Sisserou Parrot, the Grade 11 Cathedral High School honour roll student was the pageant’s youngest participant at age 16.
“Of course, I was extremely intimidated when I first found myself in the presence of the other contestants who are older than me,” she said. “They, however, made me feel very welcome and comfortable…This was just a wonderful experience and I was delighted to be part of it.”
Joseph aspires to pursue a career in either marketing or interior designing.
Jyvon Samuel and Mariah Robin – who won the Best in Wob Award for her presentation of the Screws Sulphur Spa – were the second and third runners-up respectively.
A Dominica State College graduate, Samuel is enrolled in Centennial College’s Business Finance program and she’s the Commonwealth of Dominica Ontario Associations (CODA) webmaster. Robin, 20, is a Durham College marketing major who is passionate about music and all things Dominica.
The other contestants were 24-year-old Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology social work program student, Shem Shillingford, 19-year-old Seneca College computer systems technology student, Brittany Benjamin, third-year Ryerson University Child & Youth Care program participant, Asha Mullings, and Mellissa Robinson who is enrolled in the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Bachelor of Health Science program.
Wob Dwiyet is a style of ladies dress that emerged in the French West Indies towards the end of the 18th century and its design is believed to have originated in southern France where women at the time wore a similar outfit.
The dress, which is considered a significant aspect of Dominica’s colonial heritage and is usually worn on special occasions, comprises a long petticoat made of cotton or satin and decorated with rows of lace and ribbon, a full length outer dress with a trail and narrow sleeves that extend to the wrists, a scarf and a folded headpiece that’s decorated to suit the wearer’s taste.
The Wob Dwiyet display encompassing poise, grace and stage presence accounted for 40 per cent of the points.
The judges included Ronnie Severin, Ross Cadasse, Sandy Norde, Heather Seaman, Shani Leatham and Avril Jno-Baptiste-Jones while the master of ceremonies was banking executive Karlyn Percil.
BY RON FANFAIR