The entire pageant community is abuzz with the breaking news that after 6 years, the Miss Universe franchise has found a new home with former Miss Bahamas, Michelle Collie. The Pageant Diaries team was thrilled to snag an opportunity to speak to this pageant visionary about the future of the Miss Universe Bahamas Pageant.
PD: It’s a resounding sentiment throughout the pageant community locally that Miss Bahamas has lost the prestige that once had. You are undeniably coming in as a breath of fresh air and as dramatic as it may seem, a beacon of hope to restore pageantry to where it should be (No pressure here lol), what changes in competition can we look forward to now that you are the official franchise holder for the Miss Universe representative from the Bahamas?
MC: Unfortunately, there is a general sentiment across the Bahamas of what once was, I don’t think that this is only specific to pageantry. We are thrilled that there is a feeling of excitement and buzz about the new franchise holders and the new team. Undoubtedly we are in the very fortunate position of having the backing of a brand like the Tavistock Group and ALBANY, not to mention the willingness of some extremely talented people who have committed to the ultimate success of this pageant. As far as changes, we will be hosting all events at ALBANY, open to the public, and producing the first ever Miss Universe preliminary pageant on the beach. What better way to showcase all of the beauty of The Bahamas!
PD: Wow! That’s pretty exciting. Speaking of preliminaries, there’s always an outcry for a level of transparency when it comes to the judging criteria. Do you feel as though this is a serious issue? Is there a point system that will be visible, clear and standardized for the viewing audience?
MC: Without question I believe that judging criteria and transparency is a serious issue. Any competition that you ask the public to support has to have a measure of transparency. The people and even the contestants want to know what their scores are in each segment and I think that is fair and doable. Our judges will be given specific criteria for them to execute their function. Of course, everyone has a different perspective of what truly makes someone beautiful to them, but ultimately we are looking to go from The Bahamas stage to compete on the World stage.
PD: Tell us, what essentially is the ideal candidate for Miss Universe Bahamas?
MC: Aside from the stipulations as it relates to age, children and marriage, the ideal candidate for a pageant is no different than from any competition. The ideal candidate is someone who is committed to doing what it takes to compete at their fullest potential. Anyone who has ever competed knows that a win is not guaranteed every time, but if you play your hardest and show up when it is game time, you can never be disappointed by your personal best. On this note, hopefully we can change the perception that entering 2 or 3 times is foolish for a pageant girl…who would say such a thing to the Cleveland Cavs?
PD: Some would say the pool of possible contenders have been exhausted in Nassau and it seems we are missing out on the potential candidates in the family islands, how does this committee plan on rejuvenating young women throughout the entire Bahamas to compete?
MC: This must be a ‘gotcha’ question lol…the pool of beautiful, poised and intelligent young ladies within the Islands of The Bahamas is not even close to exhaustion. Our challenge is to captivate them, to show them the value of participating in this pageant as a beneficial journey in the course of their lives and in tandem with their ultimate goals.
PD: That’s seriously inspiring to hear. Sometimes its easy to get caught up in the negativity amongst the pageant community. As a matter of fact; we have our own extreme pageant enthusiasts that have pinned Michelle against Michelle, it must be frustrating to know that every move will be scrutinized.
MC: Being scrutinized is not a bad thing; with scrutiny comes the opportunity to improve. In our first year we will face certain challenges, but ultimately we hope that the Bahamian people will embrace our program and celebrate all of our young ladies.
PD: No doubt we have fallen down when it comes to Miss Universe, we seem to be missing the mark when it comes to landing in the semi finals, is there a strategy in place that could potentially help us land top spots at Miss Universe?
MC: All successes are likely preceded by some failure, this isn’t falling down, this is not giving up! We will continue to fine tune our process and seek out the best talent and advisors until The Bahamas produces a Miss Universe…and she will shine!
PD: We have no doubt! Being a former titleholder (Miss Bahamas 1996), this must be a full circle reality for you. What ideals did you get as a former contestant and winner of the prestigious Miss Bahamas title, that you think will work in your favor as a director?
MC: I am a very proud titleholder, believe me 🙂 It is a special honor to represent your country and be an ambassador for your people. I suppose it is full circle and it is also an honor to work with the pageant in this capacity. Our future plans go far beyond the pageant and into the community as we seek to support educational efforts in the community and specifically with young girls. My thanks is to my ALBANY/Tavistock family for selecting me as the person who can lead the new organization.
PD: With such an extensive history with pageants, I have no doubt that the committee is absolutely stellar!
MC: Our Board is stellar! The organization is the beneficiary of the brilliance of both local and international team members. On a personal note, I cannot thank enough, Loretta Thomas, Jules Greider, Andy Odenbach, Tom Youth, Bianca Carter and Tiffany Forbes for their expertise, time and commitment to this project.
PD: Browsing through the website, Albany is a big sponsor this year (can I tell you how excited I am about that?!), can you give some more details about their involvement this year as other sponsors that have decided to come onboard?
MC: You and everyone reading this should be excited about ALBANY being the official host for the Miss Universe Bahamas pageant! I am excited and I am there every day lol. It is the most amazingly beautiful community and through these events we get to invite the public to experience the sophistication and glamour that is ALBANY and that is Miss Universe Bahamas.
PD: Time for the crowning elements! Give us the inside scoop on the Miss Universe Bahamas crown and all the amazing goodies that the new queen will receive this year!
The Queen’s Prize Package is as follows:
- Represents The Bahamas in the 2016 Miss Universe ® Pageant
- Albany membership for 1 year
- $10,000 Cash Prize
- Official Car during her Reign
- $50,000 Appearance and Competition Wardrobe
- Official Hostess of Hero World Challenge ® PGA Tour event
PD: Let’s have a little fun and get to know this pageant vet a better! Are you ready for some Q & A Michelle? Think of the first answer that comes to your head (no judgement, we promise)
Diamonds or Glitter? Please, no glitter!
Evening gown or swimsuit? Swimsuit!!
Mani or pedi? Wish I had the time…lol
Favorite place at home to watch a pageant? Cozy in bed, with a snack and some tea.
Favorite food? Greek yogurt
Are you a morning or night person? Formerly night….add children = morning!
Did anything spontaneous lately? Took a new job on a whim 😉
Most inspiring person? My parents. My father is wickedly smart and my mother is amazingly insightful.
Favorite beauty queen? Me…I believe in loving yourself.
We couldn’t be more excited about the launch of the Miss Universe Bahamas Pageant under the directorship of Michelle Collie and her premier team. This glamorous event is scheduled to begin on Friday, July 15th with a Toast to the Queen. You can find out more information by visiting: http://missuniverse-bahamas.com/