Though she did not win the recent Miss Grenada USA 2023 crown at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College, young Grenadian beauty Rhea Catherine Date dazzled in her splendid Evening Gown to win the Best Evening Wear.
Besides Evening Wear, the five contestants were judged on Introduction, Swimwear, National Dress, Question and Answer, and Talent.
Mickalia Forrester-Ewen, 25, a fledging actress, who was born in Brooklyn to a Grenadian mother, was crowned Miss Grenada USA 2023, on Sept. 16, during the 28th anniversary of the beauty pageant organized by the Brooklyn-based Grenadian-American Ex-Teachers’ Association, Inc.
Forrester-Ewen, 25, snatched the crown, from four other contestants, before an ebullient, standing-room-only, audience in the Founder’s Auditorium at Medgar Evers College, City University of New York (CUNY).
She was crowned by last year’s inaugural Over 50 Queen, St. Lucian Sharon Eutrice Willie. That pageant was also organized by the Grenadian-American Ex-Teachers’ Association.
On her way to attaining the coveted title, Forrester-Ewen, Contestant #5, also won Best Introduction, Best Swimwear and Best Creative.
Contestant #3, Tyler Jade Phillip, 19, took the first runner-up spot; and Contestant #1, Britney Charles, 23, was second runner-up.
Phillip was also adjudged Best Performing Talent; and Contestant #2, Atilyah McEwen, 23, was voted Miss Congeniality.
In winning Best Evening Wear, Contestant #4, Rhea Catherine Date, 20, wore a dazzling gown, called “Sunlit Spice Elegance”, which “embodies the vibrant spirit of Grenada”, according to Date’s mom, Pamela Hankey Date, a Brooklyn resident and native of the parish of St. Andrews, Grenada.
“Its radiant yellow hue, reminiscent of the sun and the friendliness of the Grenadian people, makes it a symbol of hospitality,” Hankey Date told Caribbean Life on Tuesday. “At the front, this masterpiece is adorned with delicate yellow bougainvillea (Grenada’s national flower) and glistening sequins that shimmer like sunbeams.
“The pièce de résistance lies in ‘Sunlit Spice Elegance’s’ back, adorned with an intricate nutmeg pattern, paying homage to Grenada’s primary agricultural export and the beloved ‘Isle of Spice,’” added Hankey Date in describing the Evening Wear. “This gown is a captivating fusion of culture, natural beauty and sheer elegance, a true embodiment of Grenada’s essence.”
She said that the Evening Gown was made by Trinidadian designer Patterson Nelson, and that the idea came from her and Nelson.
Hankey Date disclosed that, five days before the pageant, her daughter had “a severe asthma attack, but she was resilient” and that “she still went ahead to compete.”
“She was able to walk away with the prize for the Best Evening Gown,” Hankey Date said. “After winning the Best Evening Gown, Rhea was excited and overwhelmed with joy. Although she had an asthma attack, and she struggled a bit with her breathing, just hearing that she won was extremely satisfying to her.”
Hankey Date said she was not surprised about Date’s accomplishment because she knew that the nutmeg is “significant in Grenada.”
“So, portraying and making it come alive on a dress, it was a clear winner,” she said.
Date was born on Feb. 21, 2003, in Brooklyn. Her father, Glenroy Coxall, was also born in St. Andrews, Grenada.
Her mother hails from a tiny village called LaFillete, meaning little girl in French, and her dad is from Grand Bras. These villages have been well known for their breath and depth of their rich, artistic, sporting and cultural activities.
At 2, Rhea attended Future Kids Learning Center Daycare in Brooklyn. She then attended P.S.235, where she enrolled in the SOAR Program, and excelled in her activities, both classroom and extracurricular.
Her other educational endeavors included Lenox Academy Junior High School, followed by Brooklyn High school of the Arts, where she majored in dance.
Date currently attends Borough of Manhattan Community College, pursuing a major in criminal justice, with the goal of becoming an attorney.
Hankey Date said music and dance were an integral part of Date’s early life. At 10, Hankey Date said she had already begun dancing and singing “in a manner that attracted people to her.”
Hankey Date said Date performed at Grenada Day, Grenada Youth Independence and Miss Grenada USA Pageant.
She also served as Grand Marshall at the West Indian Parade and created a Kiddies Carnival band, Rhea and Associates, Hankey Date said.
In addition, she said her daughter was “engaged” in a short film with Robert DeNiro.
“Rhea has a passion for fashion as a means of self-expression,” Hankey Date said. “She is drawn to a variety of brands and designs that offer good looks and affordability.
“Her passion also lies in hair styling, with giving clients the look that makes them feel confident both inside and outside,” she added. “Her goal is to become finally solvent. She plans to own her own business and to help other young people to build requisite skills, knowledge and abilities to become entrepreneurs, so that they can thrive and achieve success in their lives.”
Hankey Date said “Rhea is a proud winner, and we say a special ‘thank you’ to Miss Cicely Mason and the Grenada American Ex-Teachers’ Association for giving her this great opportunity and exposure.”
The Miss Grenada USA Pageant, which started in 1992, was inspired by Mason, a Brooklyn resident, who is currently president of the Grenada American Ex-Teachers’ Association.