Lateefa Noel, the winner of the Scotiabank National Secondary Schools’ Miss Heritage pageant Saturday night, says she has thought about entering the Miss SVG pageant but is focused on her education for now.
“Right now, I just want to focus on education of course. But my dance — I really want to open a dance school down here,” she told reporters in a post-show interview.
Asked about her plans for pageantry in the future and whether she has considered the miss SVG pageant, the 15-year-old Form 5 students said:
“Well, I am really not sure yet. I used to when I was smaller but as I grew, my interest dropped.”
The pageant on Saturday was Noel’s second, having won the right to represent the host of the event, the Girls’ High School, during an internal pageant at the institution.
“I feel overjoyed. So much work and energy was put into this. It is just — you do not want to believe the amount of work, but I came out successful with the crown on my head, I took every category, I am so proud of that and this night could have gone better,” Noel told reporters.
Noel won every judged category of the show, namely: Best Interview, Best Ambassadorial Speech, Best Cultural Wear and Best Talent.
She also amassed over 22,000 votes to take the Viewers’ Choice Photo award.
Asked if going into the competition she felt that she would have won, Noel said, “I did not have that feeling, to be completely honest, because I must admit that I did my stuff a little bit late.
“I was kind of unprepared. Up to about Friday, my ambassadorial speech was edited, so I wasn’t too sure. I was just — either way, I just had to be ready for it…” Noel said.
Among the persons who helped Noel prepare for the show is her dance instructor, Jamilia Pope, writer of her ambassadorial speech, Rodion Hunte, brother Chrislon Noel, mother Lauret Noel, and chaperon Charmaine Toppin-John.
“She pulled everything together. Trust me, the best chaperon anyone can ask for,” said Noel, who was born in St. Vincent and the Grenadines but left for the United States at age two, them for Canada, before returning to the country when she was in Form 2.
Asked if she thinks that being a student of the school that hosted the pageant put her at an
Advantage, Noel said:
“Not necessarily. It made it even harder. We all know that people tend not to like the High School girl. We all know that they are going to think that this is bias, but actually, it was more difficult for me, because all the pressure was on me and probably, they tried even harder so it would not be bias, so I just had to deal with all of that,” Noel said.
Noel said that ahead of the pageant she considered the St. Joseph’s Convent Kingstown delegate, Sherikah Rodney to be her toughest competitor.
Rodney placed First Runner-up.
Second Runner-up was Terreka Nero of Buccament Bay Secondary School.