Not every pageant is cut from a shallow cloth.
Mainstream media and television programming might suggest that pageantry is all about tanning, false teeth, and big hair but there are organizations giving pageants a level of substance.
The Grenada Independence Anniversary Committee of New York (GIACONY), hosts a Miss Grenadian Independence pageant in hopes of helping young Grenadian teens learn more about their roots.
Founding member and Grenadian native, Kizzi Belfon, used the pageant to make learning about Grenadian culture fun.
“It’s really about the culture, instilling those values – when we mentor those ladies Grenada, Grenada, Grenada is drilled into their brains,” Wall said.
Miss Grenada Independence 2015 is Grenadian and St. Vincent United States-born Cianni Thomas. Wanting to learn more about her father’s country, the 14-year-old decided the pageant would be a fun and enlightening experience.
“My dad is Grenadian and I wanted to learn more about his culture because I like the things I learn from him like the food and carnival. I really admire it since I’m American and we don’t really have things like that,” Thomas explained.
Thomas says that she will now launch an animal welfare project and hopes her title will help make people aware of the casue.
“I want the people in Grenada to take the importance of animal welfare as seriously as I do,” she said. “In Grenada there is a lot of stray animals — cats, dogs, and cows on the streets of our country. I don’t like it all. I want it to end ” Thomas said.
And pageant organizers back her up.
“She is really passionate about animals and we’re very excited to launch her project,” Belfon said.
On social media, Thomas is creating flyers to be shared in the streets of New York and Grenada. She also plans to share a public service announcement video via Facebook to reign in her audience.
Thomas takes this project and her love for animals seriously, she is currently volunteering at the Sean Casey Animal Rescue center.
“They have me walking dogs, helping vaccinate cats, cleaning out cages, feeding them, giving them water,” she said. “Sometimes, I have to help with the turtles like pick them up and carry them. They’re really big turtles and I have to feed them watermelon but be careful that they don’t bite my fingers off.”
Thomas is also organizing a walk-a-thon to raise funds to donate to the Grenada Society for the Protection and Care of Animals and other similar organizations in Grenada.
“Since it’s summer I thought doing a walk-a-thon would be nice since it’s nice outside. People can enjoy themselves while they’re also working and helping a cause,” Thomas explained.
The well-poised crown holder is hoping to continue this project domestically as she enters her freshman year at Abraham Lincoln High School. Thomas was determined to attend the school solely because of its veterinarian program.
“That’s the only school I’ve heard of that has a veterinarian program,” she said. “Many people told me that Abraham Lincoln is good school but I didn’t care because I want to do that veterinarian program no matter what.”
Join Thomas Aug. 29 at Prospect Park to walk for animal rights, for more information on Miss Grenada Independence and Thomas’ project please contact giaco