Mélange Travel & Lifestyle Magazine January 2019 - Page 26

Mikeela shared with Mélange . . . ” About her background I was born in Anguilla to Guyanese parents, who are two former Guyana Defense Force officers, and are now civil servants in the Government of Anguilla. About her early pageant influences. I grew up Mikeela Skellekie Miss Anguilla 2018/2019 watching broadcasts of Miss World and Miss Universe as a young girl. My parents always pointed out the personal achievements of the contestant rather than their physical appearance. It sent a strong message that these women were excellent role models who offered more to the world than just a pretty face or a stunning physique. Performing for teen pageants with the All-ah-Wee Young Theatre Players brought me even closer to the pageant scene in Anguilla. Several of my fellow members competed in these events as well as the Miss Anguilla Queens Pageant, and we were always there to show our support. My most recent influence was the illustrious Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers and her historic win at Miss Universe Great Britain this year. She encouraged me to enter Miss Anguilla and it was a decision I did not regret. Her determination to do things that were unheard of in Anguillian history, influenced this girl - who grew up a tomboy - to use pageantry as a tool to inspire and encourage others. About her motivation to get involved. This was my very first pageant! Over the years, I became so engrossed in academics that I found myself longing to become active again in the performing arts. It also became very clear to me that pageantry was an excellent avenue for bringing awareness to the causes closest to my heart. The Miss Anguilla Queens Pageant is one of the long- standing highlights of the Anguilla Summer Festival, a season that brings the entire island, and many of our neighbors, close together in a wash of vibrant color and celebrations of life. I used this opportunity to present a platform advocating for mental health awareness, and gender equity. It also allowed me to continue my involvement in activism, which was a significant part of my University career while living in Canada in the 4 years leading up to the pageant. This also presented opportunities to engage in lots of self-reflection; to meet fitness goals that I procrastinated on; and to get back into the performing arts. About her fondest pageant memories. My most memorable moment was modelling my evening wear. By that segment of the pageant, it no longer felt like a pageant, but like I was a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. When I saw myself in videos later, I couldn’t believe it was me.