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Belize places Top 40 at Miss World 2023

HighlightsBelize places Top 40 at Miss World 2023

Photo: Elise-Gayonne Vernon, Belizean contestant

by Kristen Ku

BELIZE CITY, Tues. Mar. 12, 2024

22-year-old Elise-Gayonne Vernon made history for Belize this past week when she placed in the Miss World 2023’s Top 40 delegates.

Viewed as one of the oldest international beauty pageant competitions, Miss World’s 71st edition was held on 9th March 2024 at Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai, India.

Contestants from 112 countries and territories competed in the pageant, which was co-hosted by Karan Johar and Miss World 2013 Megan Young.

Vernon’s achievement is particularly notable as it marks the first time a delegate from Belize has placed in the Top 40.

“I got into Top 40 through the judge’s choice and I mean that is incredible to know that they chose me out of 112 other girls because of all the work that I’ve done, because of everything that I represent, because I represent the entire Belize, everyone who’s watching this. So, I’m just so happy that the judges saw that potential; they saw what I was able to do, and they allowed me to show that on the big stage,” she told us today at the Philip Goldson Airport after landing back home.

Her success comes as a result of her remarkable representation of her country and her unique background.

Prior to her participation in Miss World, Vernon was not particularly drawn to the beauty pageant scene. With a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, she embarked on a journey of self-employment as a farmer, a food security activist, and a certified beekeeper, with aspirations of furthering her education in veterinary science.

She credits her ability to remain true to herself for her standout performance, noting the importance of authenticity in the pursuit of such titles.

Her preparation for the pageant was extensive, involving not only physical training but also mental and emotional preparation to handle the pressures and challenges of the competition.

Despite the overwhelming experience, Vernon’s joy and pride in representing Belize on the global stage were commendable. She took the opportunity to share Belizean culture, food, and Creole language with fellow contestants and organizers.

On her first trip so far away from home, her time away taught her so much. “I got to experience new cultures, new food, new people, and that in itself was a great experience. I come from a village with only about 700 people, and then I went to Mumbai with millions of people within the city, and that was a new experience, something that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life,” she shared.

Vernon accredits her success to both her mother and her supporters in Belize who contributed to her throughout her journey.

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