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Subject: New Miss Guyana/Universe will be crowned tonight

Stabroek News
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Date Posted: 04/ 3/05 1:46:41am

Sunday, April 3rd 2005
The hour is at hand for delegates of the Miss Guyana Universe pageant. The 14 delegates will take to the stage at the National Cultural Centre tonight in a much-anticipated showdown that has been twice delayed.

Stabroek News profiles the last five candidates today.

Chelan Yhap: Her name may not be a household one yet, but Yhap has been the new poster pin-up girl on the local scene for several months and there is no stopping her. She is the most sought-after model on the local catwalk and with her magazine cover looks, it is not hard to see why. At age 19, she is already a professional dancer and model with hopes of being a diplomat someday. But, this beauty is not all glitz and glamour; she likes extreme sports and was once captain of the volleyball team at St Joseph High. An ardent debater, Yhap does animated drawings when she is not dancing, modelling or studying. Very modestly, she said she never thought there would have been so much hype about her being in the pageant and also being compared to veterans like Asha Pieters who is also in the running this year. For her, she led a normal life until she started dancing at age nine and when she met local designer, Derek Moore at 13 years. Since then she has been modelling and dancing to rave reviews. She described herself as open-minded and as a person who can adjust to change. In her first pageant, Miss Guyana World 2003 Chelan copped the fourth runner-up position. She is currently pursuing pre-law studies at the Critchlow Labour College.

Allison Isaacs: She can walk into a room and get people to look up because there is something about the way she steps. Her walks make a statement; it tells the world that Isaacs does not need a crown to step like a queen. This soft-spoken beauty from Den Amstel is a fresh face on the scene and could be among the top five. Though she moves with confidence, Isaacs admits she was initially scared when she got into the pageant. But over the past months she has found courage and is ready for the title clash. For her the challenge hits a little closer to home since her neighbour, Tatum Reis is also in the running. But it's all good and fun to compete with Reis, Isaacs said and if either of them should win she would be overjoyed. Two years ago, Isaacs who said she is big on family lost her mother to cancer. She said it was a difficult time and though she has found the strength to press on and do bold things the void is there. She said the pageant is one way of saying that she is learning to adjust.

Cassindra Alonzo: She just has to smile and it obvious that Alonzo is new to the limelight. There is an easy-going air about this beauty but that is just what makes her one to watch. It is her first pageant, but she comes with a package solid enough to upset the favourites. The 22-year-old Alonzo is a pharmacy assistant who hopes to be a medical practitioner in the near future. She is currently taking a pharmacy technician course. All her life, Alonzo said she has done boring stuff so she decided to make her first exciting step and enter the pageant. The shy beauty, who thought she might never enter a pageant because of her timidity found the Miss Guyana Universe pageant to be an eye-opener. She said it could be tough when it came to training and being disciplined with punctuality. She said the scholarship in medicine, which is up for grabs this year, was a big motivating factor for her entry in the pageant. Alonzo admitted that she is scared of criticism. She likes to cook and design clothes and other stuff in her free time.

Margaret Khanhailall: She is the beauty from Parika who dared to be different. For her, there is some feeling of responsibility since she is representing her area, but she is really there to have fun and compete. For several years, this 20-year-old says she has been dancing for the love of it. Her passion is chutney music. She also likes reading and modelling. Khanhailall says she is big on romance novels

and considers herself a hopeless romantic. This is her third pageant, but she sees this one as a greater stepping-stone for things to come. A middle child, she says it has become second nature for her to sit and observe and that is just what she has been doing since entering the pageant. But she is waiting to shine at the right moment and hopefully leave a lasting impression. She is studying computer science and has dreams of designing software programmes some day. She has only had one role model all her life; her mother who she says has never misguided her.

Nadia Shung: She entered the pageant with a mind set that there is always someone who is better than you. But for her, that does

not mean she cannot come out on top. The baby in her family, Shung said she always wanted to do something daring and the pageant just seemed like it. The challenge is what makes it exciting, she said and admitted that she is having a whole lot of fun. She said that if the crown is not hers, there is no reason for her to feel bad because the moment was what she wanted. Shung is a schoolteacher with the ambition of becoming a child psychiatrist one day. This beauty said she is a clean freak who likes everything around her to be clean at all times. When she has free time, she meditates. She said meditation gives a person a quiet calm and she is able to draw strength from it. If she does not mediate for a day she hardly looks forward to the next one.

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