In its third season, the popular fashion and beauty competition, Face of Grenada (FOG), returned this past spring and summer to train a new set of young women looking to delve into the modeling and fashion world. With a new logo design (created by Christabelle Andrews), a bigger organizing team, more sponsors, and continued partnership with the Government of Grenada, through its Ministry of Tourism and Culture, and Ministry of Education, FOG is expanding their “Beauty with a Purpose” mission. Merging fashion, environmentalism, education and female empowerment, FOG is challenging the preconceptions of beauty pageants and providing a platform for young, Grenadian women to embrace their inner (and outer) beauty.
Shenika Adams, a 20-year old university student from St. Andrew Parish, took the title as Miss Face of Grenada 2017. It’s her first introduction to the pageantry scene, but she’s always expressed an interest in modeling from an early age.
“Growing up, I’ve always had that love of being on stage and modeling, but because of my [low] self-esteem, I kind of pulled away from that,” she explained.
She continued to struggle with self-acceptance, until she heard of the FOG competition through its’ first winner, Rehanna Warren.
“She [Rehanna] went to the same school as me. And the first time I saw her, I was like ‘Oh my gawd, imagine if I could be like that.’ She was my inspiration to get into the competition.”
Rehanna and Shenika share similar stories of how their lack of self-confidence manifested and almost became a deterrent to pursuing their modeling dreams. With the support of friends and family, both overcame their shyness and feelings of inadequacy to be an entrant in Face of Grenada, and ultimately, winners.
“The major part of this [competition] was building up my confidence. Winning gave me assurance that I can do something if I set my mind towards it,” Shenika said.
Throughout the months-long competition, Shenika and her fellow contestants would go through rigorous training, participating in workshops that focused on fitness, beauty, and confidence.
FOG had each contestant model in five themed photoshoots prior to the runway finale. The stunning editorials reflected the 2017 theme, “The Power of Women”, addressing women’s issues (i.e. the lack of employment opportunities in male-dominated fields, domestic violence, bullying, etc.) – and highlighting female empowerment and cultural expression, including Caribbean folk culture through traditional garb.
Soaking up the professional training she received, Shenika went on to dominate 5 out of the 7 pageant rounds on finale night, exuding her passion for modeling and displaying a newfound confidence.
“In a competition like this you can’t just be that shy girl; you have to show people that you actually want to do this.”
She recalled how overwhelmed she was by her win and credits it to the copious amount of support she received from family, friends, and the FOG team.
“I was so surprised but very happy and very grateful, because people believed that I could do this,” she explained. “I had a few friends behind me, pushing me, telling me ‘don’t be nervous,’ and ‘you got this’, and those little things actually matter, because it can take you a long way and help you to perform better.”
Since being crowned, Shenika has collaborated with FOG to create an essay competition for young girls interested in nontraditional careers. Although her prize(s) included additional modeling opportunities, Shenika has decided to continue pursuing her education, moving to China to study civil engineering. But she still hopes to continue modeling in her downtime and will incorporate what she’s learned from her personal journey of self-love and acceptance.
“Battling self-esteem isn’t an easy thing, but I believe that with experience, you get to learn [about] yourself more and love yourself better and that’s the best part to me about growing up,” she said. “I would advise any girl who wants to be a part of the fashion industry or who wants to model, just go for it, because you have nothing to lose. And at the end of the day, if you don’t win a competition, you gain experience. It’s the way you think about things. You can take a negative and turn it into a positive. I believe that if you live that way, then you will progress.”