The Diamonds and Golds of Miss Liberia 2022 Kickoff
Hello dear readers, it’s Lady Whistledown. Missed me? Haha. On a more serious note, there is no better time to reactivate the dialogue than now. Why, you ask, dear readers? Well, the answer is quite simple. It’s a dawn of a new era in Liberia – the era of a new queen, Her Majesty, Miss Liberia. The time has come for some of Liberia’s most well rounded and beautiful young ladies to compete for the coveted crown. After 5 years of Miss Wokie Dolo as Liberia’s controversial and note-worthy queen, Friday, May 13, 2022, kicked off the journey to a new reign.
You know, I thought about taking us down memory lane of the current Miss Liberia regime, but I think we can all agree that it is time to move forward. In this new vision, we can rather shift focus to the new queens and the types of energies they’re bringing to the scene.
Over the past few weeks, the queens have made their debuts via social media, garnering some premature support from the public. Although, if you know the court of public opinion like I do, you know that it is as fickle as the stars on a foggy night. This was further showcased on Friday when the queens had their first ball of the season. At the Miss Liberia 2022 Kickoff event, held at the Monrovia City Hall, the queens showcased their beauty, brains, fashion sense, poise, and dance, after dance, after dance, after dance. Seriously, what was with all that dancing?
Let’s Meet the Miss Liberia Queens
When the curtains first opened, the show started with a cultural dance showcase, after which, the first performance of the ladies was also a cultural dance. Furthermore, when showcasing their various talents, more than half of the contestants also showcased some sort of cultural dance. While on its own, a dance would be sufficient in a cultural showcase, in this case, when each dance came right after another and another, it brought up the question of what Liberian culture entails beyond its dances.
There were opportunities to tell stories of powerful indigenous and Congau Liberians. This opportunity was utilized by the heart-wrenching performances of Miss Joicet Foday of Grand Capemount County, and the now eliminated, Assatu Turay, of Montserrado County. There were also opportunities to showcase culture through means of food, child’s play, language evolution, fashion evolution, and even a showcase of how the everyday hustle has evolved over the years. However, many of the contestants missed the mark and showcased dances that failed to provide the cultural shift in Liberian pageantry, as expected from this pageant. Although, out of the many cultural dances showcased, Grand Bassa County’s Julia Moore managed to gain the most public discourse due to her sassy and energetic embodiment of the Bassa woman.
Another missed mark in the kickoff was the fashion choices of the contestants during the evening wear showcase. While all of them showed great levels of creativity, many of them echoed a cry for help for the Liberian entertainment scene to utilize more designers and stylists for such events – not just tailors. More influencers, beauty queens, and celebrities need to understand the power of a great outfit in this age of social influence.
We saw this power wielded with few contestants, including Miss Montserrado County, Willimena Brown. While her dance performance could’ve benefitted from some props and/or precision in the storytelling, she was redeemed during the evening wear segment, when her gown wowed observers and judges alike. Likewise, other wow moments from the evening wear segment came from Miss Tracy Nagbo of Lofa County, Miss Favour Topor of Grand Kru County, and again, Miss Joicet Foday of Grand Capemount County. In a perfect world, it would be the brilliance and intelligence of these young women which buys them public favor. However, in the world of pageantry, it is all about beauty, wit, and evening gowns. Meanwhile, as with Miss Veralyn Vonleh of Rivercess County, a little scandal on top of all those other qualities could also do you some public good.
What to Expect from the Miss Liberia Queens
It has been an interesting and controversial reign with Nimba County on the crown. While Nimba has had the crown for 5 years, this season’s contestant from the county, Miss Rebina Carson, is not to be discounted. Notwithstanding, the new queens seem to be bringing an energy that appears to be anti-controversy, presenting themselves as the perfect packages of beauty, brains, and passion. But is it anything we haven’t seen before? Reading through their proposed platforms, many of their passionate causes echo those of the past, with many presenting no clear path as to how they will turn those causes into a marketable call to action.
Likewise, it is also not to be forgotten that the honor of being called Her Majesty, Miss Liberia, comes with both celebrity, access, and power. In their manifestos, the contesting queens have presented a solid front, highlighted by their accomplishments and public persona that tries to subtly rival their predecessor. As it seems, nobody wishes to present a controversial front, and everyone wants to seem like the safest option. But could that be a mistake?
Many of the queens are being so safe, that the best performances they could come up with were some cultural dances. Could this mean that a queen who’s a little more daring and controversial could be the choice? Well, think about who the people of Liberia are. Are we safe, or are we daring and controversial? Think about it, because who we are, is who our queen must represent. And who she represents, is who we must wish to embody the essence that is the Liberian experience and marketability. So truly, the stakes couldn’t be higher, and the crown couldn’t be heavier.
This year’s pageant is the most publicly anticipated for the Miss Liberia franchise in recent years. As XL Entertainment’s first year with the franchise in this Bicentennial year, coupled with public anticipation for a new queen, I say this again – the stakes could not be higher. However, as I watched a live broadcast of the event from social media blog, Chichipoly Room, I realized some few lapses in the event experience.
Although, I’m not here to talk about that right now. Right now, I choose to give XL Entertainment a chance to gauge the feedback from the just-ended Kickoff event, and perfect the main show. I choose to let all the contestants bask in the glory it is to be in the race towards the coveted crown. Right now, I choose to focus on the aforementioned names of the contestants because for this writer, it is they who stood out. They are the diamonds and golds of the season. But remember, dear reader, as with any season, you must expect some twists and turns. You’ve met my diamonds and golds, but continue below for a full list of the 15 contestants representing the 15 counties of Liberia, and decide for yourself who reigns supreme.
PS** We’ve been unable to acquire Miss Gbarpolu County, Christina WIlliams’ photo to include in the above gallery. **