Sunday evening marked the selection of the first set of 2019 V.I. Carnival royalty, with Prince Shacoy Emanuel and Petite Princess Amaya Marks capturing both the crowns and the hearts of the audience at the UVI Sports and Fitness Center.
Emanuel won multiple titles including Best Sportswear, Mister Cooperative and Best When I Grow Up, two segments in which he tied with his fellow Prince contender Jose Serverino Jr.
On his own, Severino Jr. won the titles Mister Congeniality, Mister Photogenic, Best Presentation Speech, and Best Evening-wear.
Marks won the titles Best When I Grow Up, Best Western Doll, Best Evening-wear, Best Talent, and Miss Cooperative, a title she will share with her counterparts J’Nay Liburd and K’Nai Foy. Liburd also won the Miss Congeniality title and Foy won Miss Photogenic and Best Presentation Speech.
The event also featured selections from DJ Selecta and performances from the Dynamic Dancers, Jewel Dancers, Harmonic Inspirations, St. Thomas Majorettes, V.I. Elite Dancers, and the 2019 Miss ACJHS Tyell Gifft.
This year’s show had multiple changes in format. In addition to the change in venue, the show was branded as a Prince and Petite Princess Selection Show, with the intent that V.I. Carnival Princess will be a separate title. As a result, the 2018 V.I. Carnival Princess will continue her reign alongside the royalty selected this year.
Other noteworthy additions include the direct involvement of parents as they took part in the opening number alongside their children vying for the crown, a sit-down interview of the contestants instead of a traditional question and answer segment, the determining factor for the prince contenders being the amount of votes they were able to generate prior to the pageant, and the dedication of an entire segment in remembrance of beloved educator, Mrs. Alisande Duraine Donahue.
Some slight variation in segments were established for the Prince contenders and Petite Princess contestants. Both groups were judged in the Introductory Speech segment, When I Grow Up segment, Evening-wear segment, and Personal Interview segment, but only the Prince contenders took part in a Sportswear segment, and only the Petite Princess contestants had a Western Doll and Talent segment.
The Western Doll segment challenged each contestant’s ability to model a Western style outfit with a creative and cultural flair. Liburd wore a dazzling turquoise cowgirl outfit adorned with fringe in her presentation of a cultural ranch. Marks modeled a yellow outfit that incorporated panels of madras. Her presentation was dedicated to the late Irvin “Brownie” Brown and featured multiple traditional games such as a maypole, a sack race, and a donkey derby. Foy gave a similar presentation honoring Brownie and traditional games, and her outfit incorporated the color red, madras, and a costume change from a skirt to a romper.
The When I Grow Up segment of the pageant was heavily inspired by the book of the same name written by local author Rick Grant, who also served as the master of ceremonies for the event. All contestants and contenders received a copy of the book.
Severino Jr. sang portions of the song Vivir Mi Vida by Marc Anthony to thunderous applause, demonstrating his desire to be a singer when he grows up. Emanuel entered the stage with a floral shirt, headset, and spirited attitude, displaying his aspiration to become a radio personality.
Liburd hopes to run for president in 2040, and she modeled a professional white dress in front of artwork of her inspiration, former first lady Michelle Obama. Marks takes much of her inspiration from her mother Shama Duberry, the owner of Shama’s Specialties, LLC. As a result, her presentation was titled “The Evolution of Mya’s Bakehouse” and featured a heavily stylized backdrop of a bakery with Marks modeling the way she assists her mother’s baking. Inspired by the aches and pains her mother experiences and the widening movement of people seeking holistic health approaches, Foy modeled the past and present of acupuncture.
Each of the Petite Princess contestants used the talent segment as an opportunity to use dance as an expression of their passion for a different subject. Liburd themed her demonstration around giving a show on stage, Marks performed as a Moko Jumbie with added voice-over provided by Senator Janelle K. Sarauw, and Foy danced in honor of a friend living with cancer.
In past Evening-wear segments, contestants have been given certain liberties with the design and color of their formal wear so long as it fit within certain guidelines. This year the Committee opted to use the segment as an ode to those who have died of breast cancer, those who have survived it, those who are still fighting, and the families affected by it. The young men modeled white suits with pink vests, and the young women modeled short pink dresses with white shoes.
All participants in this year’s V.I. Carnival Prince and Petite Princess Show received multiple gifts including a Galaxy Tablet, a Bluetooth speaker, and several gift cards. The two winners received an additional speaker and gift cards, a printer, and a bike and helmet.
The 2019 V.I. Carnival Queen Selection Pageant will also take place in the UVI Sports and Fitness Center on Saturday, March 20, at 8 p.m.