|Subject: 2012 Miss Bahamas judges revealed!|
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Date Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 06:13:28pm
An impressive slate of judges has been assembled to choose the national beauty queens of The Bahamas. Assigned to the task of selecting the new Miss World Bahamas and Miss Universe Bahamas Universe:
On September 12, 2011 Leila Lopes made history as the first woman from Angola to win the Miss Universe crown. Leila is only the fourth woman from Africa in the pageant’s sixty year history to win the Miss Universe title. Before being crowned Miss Universe 2011, Leila attended school for business management at Suffolk University in Ipswich, England. It was during this time she decided to participate in her country’s national beauty pageant. Leila not only won the Photogenic Award, but the prestigious title of Miss Universe Angola 2011, gaining her the right to represent Angola in the 2011 MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant.
A strong, confident woman who is not afraid of a challenge, Leila says: “As Miss Universe, I want to show the world that there is more to Africa than poverty, hunger and disease. I want people to know that Africa has a lot to offer and that my country of Angola is not only beautiful, but it is a country that is developing socially, economically and culturally.” As Miss Universe, Leila uses her title to champion HIV/AIDS prevention and works with organizations such as YouthAIDS/PSI, Latino Commission on AIDS, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, among others. She was also named Drylands Ambassador by the United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in an effort to combat land degradation – an issue that affects not only her country but the entire continent of Africa.
Leila has been making waves in the media since winning the title and has been featured on the cover of publications such as New African Woman and Selecta Magazine. She also took her passion for fashion and hit the runway for designers, such as SACHIKA and Rolando Santana, during the 2012 New York Fashion Week. In her spare time Leila enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends. After her reign, she hopes to obtain her degree and pursue her dream of opening a cosmetics company in Angola.
Grace Fontecha has more than 30 years’ experience in modeling and training beauty contestants. Her dreams were realized when she began modeling in the early 1970’s in the Barbizon Agency. Within a few years, her modeling career was launched. Between 1974 and 1977, she appeared in more than 75 commercials for clients such as Max Factor, Clairol, Dove, Palmolive and Revlon. Grace was also the winner of Mattel’s Real Life Barbie commercial in the New York Modeling Association of America International Convention 1974. Photographers and designers sought her out because of her professionalism, her beauty and her ability to change her look. Grace’s pageant training career began in 1974 at the Barbizon Agency as a teacher and then a year later, a director. In 1976 she opened the doors of the Fontecha Modeling School where she trained models and beauty pageant contestants. Grace combined her love of modeling and her years of study of psychology to further her career by coaching these women. Since 1970, Grace has trained over 35 winning contestants, 4 being Miss Universe winners. Recently, she was invited by Osmel Sousa, President of the Miss Venezuela Organization, to accept the Guinness Book of World Records Award for training back to back Miss Universe winners for 2008 and 2009, Dayana Mendoza and Stefania Fernandez.
Bahamian beauty Braneka Bassett knew that she was destined for fame by the age of 15. From that point until now she has accomplished more than she could ever imagine and is still thriving for more. Braneka was born in Freeport, Grand Bahama and was raised there until she was 10 years old at which time her family relocated to the United States. At the age of 16 she convinced her parents to move to Hollywood so she could pursue a modeling career. Braneka took Hollywood by storm, landing a spot on the hit reality TV show The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency where she was featured for three seasons. Braneka entered and won the 2010 Miss Bahamas Beauty Pageant, becoming the first and only Miss Bahamas to have the opportunity to go to both Miss Universe and Miss World within the year or her reign. Labeled as a front runner in both competitions, she successfully landed a semifinal spot in Miss world, advancing to the Top 25 out of 120 countries. Following her reign as Miss Bahamas, she returned to Los Angeles with a new focus and passion and to decided to pursue acting as well. She has since worked with Anthony Hamilton, Cedric the Entertainer, Miguel A. Nunez Jr., Diddy, and many more. She is currently studying at the world renowned Ivana Chubbuck Acting Studio and continues to grow in the craft while still holding her own as a fashion model. The possibilities are endless for this multi-talented island beauty.
DR. BARRY RUSSELL
In 1991, Dr. Barry Russell became the first Bahamian orthodontist to establish a practice in The Bahamas. His vision was to develop a practice that was first world, providing the highest quality treatment and customer service to patients. In 1996 the practice was officially given the name, “The Bahamas Orthodontic Center.” In order to maintain the excellence Dr. Russell demands for patient care, B.O.C. has grown from a staff of two employees in 1991 to a current staff of twenty-one. Dr. Russell has established practices in Nassau and Freeport, Grand Bahama.
Dr. Russell is a past board member of the Bank of the Bahamas. He is a past Chairman of The Bahamas Dental Council, which has the responsibility of overseeing the regulation of dentistry in the country. He holds membership in the Bahamas Dental Association, the National Dental Association, the American Dental Association, the American Association of Orthodontists, the Caribbean Orthodontic Society and the World Federation of Orthodontists. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated and Sigma Pi Phi (Boule’).
Dr. Russell is an accomplished vocalist, winning The Bahamas Musicians Union Song of the Year for his single “Without You.” He is a founding member of The Gentleman’s Club program for high school students. He enjoys sharing success principles and helping others to maximize their potential. Dr. Russell enjoys staying fit, playing golf, and traveling. He is married to the former Mary (Missy) Thompson and they have three children: Lauren, Logan and Reagan.
Born and raised in Nassau Bahamas, Kamela Forbes has been enjoying a successful career as a professional model for the last 11 years. Prior to her years on the runway, Kamela attended The College of The Bahamas and then continued her studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. In 2001, Kamela accepted a job to tour with the Ebony Fashion Fair Troop, and for the next 9 months participated in 189 runway shows all across America, Canada, and The Bahamas. She later went on to model in Los Angeles, South Africa, Paris and New York. Throughout her career, she has been featured in numerous magazines including Ebony, Essence and O(Oprah), has been featured in music videos alongside the likes of Babyface, Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z; and has made television appearances on the hit show Entourage and in the movie “Maid in Manhattan” starring Jennifer Lopez. Most recently, she landed the coveted contract as the face of the world renowned Tiffany & Co. Rubedo Collection.
ASHLEY LAUREN KERR
Ashley Lauren Kerr grew up in Old Orchard Beach, Maine and spent summers working at her family’s restaurants. From a very young age, she enjoyed fashion and was inspired by her mother and great aunt’s classic fashion sense. After graduating from Stetson University, she moved back to Maine to manage her family businesses. In 2008 at the urging of her best friend, she decided to compete for the Miss Maine USA title. With her “go big or go home” attitude, Ashley came to the 2008 Miss Maine Pageant with exceptional grace and beauty. Although she didn’t take home the crown, her fun and caring personality won her the Miss Congeniality award and provided the catalyst for her current business. Eager to work in the fashion business, Ashley started representing Latin designers in the United States and quickly built their brands by sponsoring the 2009 Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants. As the Official Fashions Sponsor, Ashley developed relationships with pageant glitterati and established her reputation as the go-to girl for the best pageant dresses — Latin haute couture designers who specialize in bridal, red carpet, pageant and jewelry attire. Over the past 2 years she has added top Venezuelan, Peruvian and Puerto Rican designers to her exclusive group, opened a showroom in New York and Beijing and carved out her own niche business in the fashion world. In fall 2011, she launched ASHLEYlauren, a prom, pageant, evening and cocktail dress line. As a young entrepreneur, Ashley manages her company’s operations, where she is highly sought after by young women around the country and world to dress, prepare and train them for the Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, Miss Universe, Miss America, Miss World and Miss International pageants. Ashley also operates her showroom in New York City where each of her designers’ fashion and jewelry collections are displayed. She frequently travels around the United States, Central and South America, and the Caribbean to meet with retailers and designers, to judge pageant competitions and grow her business. In her spare time, Ashley writes on her blog, ALKStyleBlog.com giving all the best beauty, fashion and pageant secrets.
Walter Greene has combined a colorful background of fashion, travel and music to exhibit his many talents through his writings and involvement as fashion director/editor, coordinator, judge and commentator of fashion extravaganzas and beauty pageants all over the world. He was just named as the Fashion Editorial Director of Profiles98 Magazine, a Bahamian based fashion/lifestyles glossy magazine. Walter hosts `Greene On The Scene’ a popular on-line chat show on caribworldradio.com. His monthly column `Off The Runways’ was a favorite entre’ in Sister 2 Sister Magazine. As fashion and travel editor of the New York Carib News he travels the world covering fashion and travel related events. As an on air fashion correspondent for `In Style’ television on Cablevision in New York, Walter interviews designers, models and other luminaries on the fashion scene. He served as Fashion & Beauty Director of Odyssey Couleur Magazine, an upscale travel/style magazine that targets the educated, affluent multi cultural female traveler. His fashion and lifestyle articles have appeared in several prestigious publications like; Bazaar (Taiwan), Caribbean Escapes, Black Enterprise, Details, For The Bride, The Financial Post Magazine (Canada), Visions in Black (London), Panache (Canada), Model Magazine, EM – Ebony Man, Jewel, Hype Hair and Unfold. For two years he was elected to serve on the prestigious panel of voters for the International Best Dressed List. He helped launch the first Guyana Fashion Weekend in August 2007, and is currently the U.S. liaison of that project which celebrates its fourth year in 2010. He has also worked independently with several leading New York based records companies, prepping and grooming artists, styling CD covers, videos and photo shoots. He has served as Director of East Coast Publicity for Mercury/Polygram Records and was instrumental in generating publicity campaigns and molding the images of such noted performers signed to the label like: Oleta Adams, Black Sheep, Vanessa Williams, Third World, Tony Toni Tone, Brian McKnight, Ed O.G. and Da Bulldogs, Crystal Walters and Jon Lucien. Walter has worked in varying capacities with numerous beauty pageants from South Africa to Anguilla, and also assisted in the wardrobe selection of two Miss Americas. He has just completed penning his first book `A Style Of Our Own: A Chronology Of The Caribbean Most Influential Fashion Designers.’
Cheryl Edgecombe gracefully exemplifies the character and personality of a beautiful Bahamian woman who displays the true meaning of beauty both inward and outward. Born in the quaint settlement of Tarpum Bay, on the island of Eleuthera on January 25, 1969, Cheryl completed college in Florida before moving to Nassau where she met and married Real Estate Broker and Developer, Kingsley Edgecombe, Jr., President of King’s Realty to whom she has been blessed to be married to for the past 20 years. Cheryl and Kingsley are the proud parents of 2 lovely children, Kingsley III, age 18 and Gabrielle, age 13. Cheryl is an entrepreneur who has developed her own line of cosmetic and skin care products which she labeled “Essence of Eden”, providing Bahamian divas with the opportunity to enhance their beauty with a Bahamian line of makeup. Her hobbies include traveling, boating and she enjoys spending time with her family.
Anishka Lockhart is no stranger to pageantry, runway and commercial modeling. She has graced many catwalks in The Bahamas and has appeared in television commercials and ad campaigns for a number of clients. She is also a former Miss Commonwealth Bahamas delegate. Professionally, Anishka holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a Minor in Finance, which she puts to good use as a professional banker. However, she continues to express her love for the world of pageantry in her role as the Contestants Manager of the Miss Bahamas Organization. Anishka is the mother of an amazing 7 year old daughter, Aysha-Cassidi.