Words by Lisa Collins-Haynes
Fresh off the heels of winning the second annual Face of Grenada (FOG) competition, POTENT sat down with Tiffany Evans to discuss life after winning. If you’ll recall from our previous coverage, the competition was created by former teen model, Roxanne Graham. Graham envisioned more than an ordinary beauty queen show and incorporated both modeling and photography into the competition and pairing fashion and environmental awareness to tie into the slogan, “Beauty with a Purpose.”
When asked how Evans qualified to compete in the FOG, Graham replied, “We had an audition for the competition in February of this year. The chief requirements included to be a Grenadian woman of good moral standards with secondary school education and higher, and having a passion for the theme of this year’s competition.
“Out of 21 applicants, Tiffany was one of the successful 8 chosen to compete,” Graham said.” Not only did she meet the basic requirements, but the executive team of the FOG Organization thought she had a unique look, and felt she was very passionate about the theme of this year’s FOG competition “Promoting Marine Protected Areas and Healthy Coastal Ecosystems.”
Still reeling from her big win, read on to get to know more about the new FOG winner, Tiffany Evans.
POTENT: Please share your story briefly about why you decided to participate in FOG.
EVANS: When the competition launched last year, Roxanne Graham approached me about the opportunity to assist with advertising. I agreed. She told me that if I chose to assist with advertising, then I wouldn’t be able to audition. I still agreed, since I would not have had time to commit as I was preparing to do my CAPE exams in college. So naturally when the time came around this year for auditions, I snatched the opportunity after seeing the success of last year’s winner.
The theme for this year’s competition is what initially attracted me to audition. I had learned quite a bit about Marine Protected Areas in June/July of last year when I volunteered at the MPA summer camp. I became more aware of the marine environment and developed a passion for the field. The prize package is what kept me most intrigued. I had my eye on the scholarship, since I am currently a student at St. George’s University and was paying out of pocket for my tuition. I mean, who wouldn’t want to attend university for free?!
POTENT: What was the experience like? Tell us about the training, photo shoots, etc.
EVANS: Firstly, I have to say I had a lot of fun. As previously mentioned, I am enrolled in university, but I am also a full-time employee at Sandals La Source Resort & Spa, in Grenada.
‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’, so the competition for me was the “play” aspect of that quote. I can still hear Roxanne saying, “Tiffany, you have to walk slower, it’s not a race” – this is what I had a little difficulty with, in terms of runway training. What was most challenging was learning routines for each category.
Photo-shoots were the most fun! Getting dressed up, putting on makeup; every girl’s dream. But, I struggled with confidence when it came to having my picture taken. I always had to ask, “Am I doing okay? Was that a good pose? ” My confidence waivered immensely throughout the entire competition. The locations of some of our photo shoots didn’t help with that; the Conch Shell Restoration Site was very difficult to maneuver in and the waves tossed me around a few times at the swimwear shoot.
POTENT: What was your greatest challenge in the competition and how did you overcome it?
EVANS: My greatest challenge in the competition was my battle with confidence. Though I probably did not display it to the other girls, it was a personal struggle that had me questioning whether or not I should continue on. Thankfully, I had amazing support from my family, friends and loved ones. They urged me on, told me that I couldn’t quit…at that point I didn’t have a choice but to suck it up and keep going.
POTENT: Has your life changed since winning?
EVANS: My life hasn’t changed much in terms of my day-to-day activities, but I am now recognized practically everywhere I go. At work, I’m either Miss Grenada, Miss Face or simply, Miss FOG. On the street people ask, “Are you the one who just won the queen show?”
I must also say that receiving the scholarship will be life changing. I can now sleep peacefully, knowing that my financial requirements for school are being met. Hopefully along the way, some more amazing things will happen for me.
POTENT: Was this your first pageant/competition and have you modeled before?
EVANS: Was this my first competition? Does my primary school queen show count as one? Lol, if not then, yes it was. I did have experience with modeling before. I took part in the “I Am Fashion 2 – Strut the Runway” Fashion Show put on by local designer Neisha La Touche in 2013 and I also did a bit of promotional modeling as well.
POTENT: What was your secret for winning?
EVANS: My secret for winning was simply to keep my eye on the prize. I tried my hardest not to let anything or anyone break my spirit. I always sought out advice, whenever I felt down and stressed. I kept on going.
POTENT: Who was your biggest cheerleader and supporter?
EVANS: To mention just one person as my biggest supporter/cheerleader would be impossible. I’m a “mung- mung” – a nickname given to people from Mt. Moritz in Grenada. I have a huge family, and they all played a tremendous role in terms of support. From the wall posts and picture sharing all over social media, from family near and far, to the phone calls and harsh, but kind words of encouragement, I’d say my family were my biggest supporters.
Mention must also be given to my manager, Denis Gilbert, at Sandals, for without him tweaking schedules I would have never been able to make it to photo shoots and practices sessions. I know my other team members probably thought I was being shown too much kindness, but they supported me all the same. Lastly, my chaperone Mrs. Tara Richtell of Muse Grenada, always kept me in check whenever I tried to slack.
POTENT: The theme of Marine Protection and Healthy Costal Communities carried throughout the competition…what are you doing now to continue to promote the cause throughout Grenada?
EVANS: One of the categories of the show was the platform speech. My platform was “Establishing a culinary market to control the invasive lionfish population in Grenada”, and on the night I gave a speech, I suggested ways of doing so. Currently I am in the process of working on a draft/proposal to conduct my project, which would ultimately contribute to the enhancement of our marine environment.
POTENT: Beyond the competition, what do you do in your everyday life?
EVANS: I work six days a week as a bartender at Sandals. Classes at SGU resume in August. Whatever free time I am afforded at the moment I spend with family and friends. I go to the beach, I read, I watch videos online; TedTalks and YouTube are my favorite sites. I mostly just lounge around at home and relax, because I know that soon I wouldn’t have time to rest because I have a lot of commitments, work, school and my title as the Face of Grenada.
POTENT: If you could give your younger self a message or a piece of advice…what would you say?
EVANS: There’s something a lot of people say that has resonated with me – “what is for you, will always be for you”. It simply means that we must take our time, never rushing anything, continuously working hard at our craft, whatever it may be. Even if we don’t initially see the benefit and we feel discouraged, God has a plan and he always aligns things to get a perfect domino effect every time. That would be the advice I’d give to my younger self.
POTENT: Who’s your role model and why?
EVANS: I don’t have a role model but there are multiple character traits I admire in the women I am surrounded by and aspire to have. Some of them include confidence, honesty, integrity and humility. I think if I gain a little bit more of these every day, I would be a better person and possibly someone’s role model.
POTENT: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
EVANS: My final words would be to always pursue your dreams, no matter how impossible or farfetched they may seem to others. Give everything your all, and if you fail, try harder next time. If you like to model, do it. If you like to debate, become a lawyer. If you want to sing, sing. But always do everything with integrity and always remain humble.
In addition to carrying the coveted title of FOG, Evans is also contracted and managed by the Face of Grenada Organization and her duties extend beyond the prizes, says Graham. Some of the prizes include: the scholarship opportunity provided by the Government of Grenada; representing Grenada at Fashion Week next year in San Fernando and being featured on the cover of Caribbean Posh Magazine
While Evans briefly touched on her secret for winning, her victory was well deserved for many other reasons as well. “Tiffany attended over 90% practice sessions, was generally very kind to the other contestants, vested in researching her platform and she invested her personal savings into attaining what she needed for sponsorship,” Graham explained. “I believe her dedication, intelligence, drive, initiative and confidence are all qualities needed for a successful Face of Grenada.”
With the continued success of last year’s winner Rehanna Warren, Face of Grenada is quickly gaining recognition and locally seen as the most rewarding means of launching the career of an aspiring model both regionally and internationally. We congratulate Tiffany Evans and look forward to following her winning journey.