Leila Lopes, reigning Miss Universe, will be the special guest at the coronation show for Miss Universe Jamaica to be held next Saturday, May 12.
This was announced by the local organizers as they disclosed plans for the event which will be held at the National Indoor Sports Centre in St Andrew.
Lopes, the 26-year-old Angolan beauty who swept the title last year after wowing the panel of judges at the pageant in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is set to arrive in Jamaica on the evening of Friday, May 11 and depart on Sunday, May 13.
According to Jamaica’s creative director for the pageant, Melissa Warner, Lopes’ presence will add an international flair to the presentation during Jamaica’s 50th year of Independence.
She also highlighted the raft of prizes which the 2012 Miss Universe Jamaica will receive. These include more than $500,000 in cash and prizes, a two-week trip to Europe, lifetime membership at Gymkhana, a centrespread in Buzzz magazine, a North American shopping trip, and the Miss Universe wardrobe to be worn at the international pageant in South Africa later this year.
Dimitris Kosvogiannis, franchise holder, said that this year the focus is on the complete development of the the young ladies and as such the prize of the two-week trip to Europe will also be extended to the first runner-up.
“This will give the girls some international perspective. They will now be able to speak about the cities they have visited on that continent while spreading the word about Jamaica,” he said.
In 2010, Jamaica had its highest-ever placing at the Miss Universe pageant. That year local beauty Yendi Phillipps took the first runner-up spot at the pageant in Las Vegas. The title eventually went to Miss Mexico Jimena Navarrette.
Over the years Jamaica has had a number of top 10 finishes at Miss Universe — Sandra Foster in 1989, Kimberly Mais in 1991, Nicole Haughton in 1999, and Christine Straw in 2004. (Jamaica Observer)