Jaynene Jno Lewis captures Miss BVI crown

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TORTOLA - Before a large gathering and in the presence of 25 women who have worn the crown before her dating back to 1957, Jaynene Jno Lewis secured the 60th Miss BVI Pageant title from four challengers early on Monday morning at the Multipurpose Sports Complex in Road Town.

Wearing a green dress with an assortment of rhinestones, Jno Lewis, 24 - who was unsuccessful when she took part in the pageant in 2008 - raised her right hand, bowed her head and said a short prayer after her name was called.

"When you come back, you don't want to have an opportunity to be crowned first runner-up or second runner-up or anything," Jno Lewis said afterward the pageant. "You don't want to do anything less than what you did in the past, so this opportunity now just gave me a chance to really believe in the words that when Jesus says Yes, nobody can say no."

The first runner-up was Doneisha Maduro-Findlay, 19, who won the Best Evening Wear and Best Interview categories and displayed her versatility during the talent segment with a Beethoven rendition, amalgamated with a dramatization of Maya Angelou's "I Rise" before ending with a Zumba dance piece.

"This was a great experience for me, but I really wanted the crown," Maduro-Findlay said. "However, I've learned and grown a lot. It was a great competition."

Second runner-up Aribella Parsons, 21, won Miss Congeniality and Miss Intellect.

The other contestants were: Tecora Morgan, 18, who won the Miss Virgin Gorda Easter Festival this year and walked off with the Best Swimwear segment. Leah Johnney, 19, won Best BVI Promotion.

Jno Lewis, who served in the U.S. Navy as a trained captain before crossing into the medical personnel field, won Best Costume Wear; Most Poised and Best Talent, with a routine that paid homage to those who helped shape the territory.

"I am an ambassador for the BVI inside and out," Jno Lewis said. "With this opportunity, now I am getting to represent the BVI locally, internationally and I am going to continue to do that."

When she first ran as a 19-year-old in 2008 and was unsuccessful before joining the Navy and gaining valuable experience, Jno Lewis said she didn't do anything wrong then.

"This time, I am just more mature, more refined," she noted. "This is the 60th, so I had to come big."

Jno Lewis also praised Pageant Committee head Alicia Hamm for preparing them well and credits Hamm for her improvement. She also praised her mother, who she said always told her that success is never final.

As Miss BVI, Jno Lewis will receive a cash prize, wardrobe and a scholarship and have opportunities to represent the territory in regional and international competitions.

Also during the evening, 25 former Miss BVIs - from 1957 winner and former BVI Beacon owner Michelle Abbot Smith to 2013 winner Rosanna Chichester - paraded on the stage and were introduced and had their photo taken with the new Miss BVI.

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