Five young St. Thomians vied for title of Carnival prince and princess Sunday at the Vita Malt V.I. Carnival Prince and Princess Selection Pageant 2018. When the night was over, Ta’Mya Davis was wearing the crown as princess.
For Maike Caracciolo, the road to his title was easier, as he was the only candidate for prince.
But Davis had to overcome three other contestants – Syneece Forbes, Caricia Caesar and J’Naiya Squiabro – to wear the crown.
During the night, Davis won the titles for Miss Congeniality, Best Presentation, Best Holiday Creative Couture, and Best Evening-wear. Squiabro, who was first runner-up, won the Miss Intellect and Best Talent titles, and Forbes was honored for Best V.I. Strong Costume-wear and Miss Photogenic. All contestants received Miss Cooperative.
Caracciolo underwent an abridged form of the pageant that included sportswear, V.I. Strong Costume-wear, Evening-wear, and Question and Answer.
As masters of ceremonies, 2017 V.I. Carnival Princess Tae’zha Maduro and Sheldon Turnbull of 107.9 Da Vybe maintained the energy of the audience throughout the Lionel Roberts Stadium. Performances by BDJ and DJATC, the Dynamic Dancers from St. John, Institute of the Performing Arts’ Harmonic Inspirations, the St. Thomas Majorettes, the CAHS Royal Masqueraders, and the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School Caribbean Girls also entertained between segments.
The head sponsor for this year’s pageant was Vita Malt, and the Carnival Committee made sure to show appreciation by offering packs of the drink as prizes for trivia questions throughout the evening.
Sunday’s event included some new additions, setting it apart from previous pageants. A segment called Holiday Creative Couture challenged the princess contestants to model an outfit themed around a particular holiday.
Forbes portrayed Transfer Day with three costume changes representing the Danish flag, the American flag, and the flag of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Caesar portrayed an Easter fashion show, with an outfit featuring bright flowers on her back, and the colors yellow, fuchsia, pink, and blue throughout her skirt. Squiabro portrayed Mrs. Claus in front of a backdrop listing names and organizations on the naughty and nice list. Ta’Mya appeared on stage out of a revolving gold coin to portray the $25 million in gold that was paid for the territory on Transfer Day.
One segment called V.I. Strong Costume-wear paid homage to the resiliency throughout the territory following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The Prince Contender honored the decades of work in broadcast and community service by Addie Ottley.
Forbes had a presentation entitled “Bruised, but not Broken”, in which her costume acknowledged the damage done to the environment, and the overall strength of the two storms. Her skirt opened to show the homes that sustained damage, and they also lit up to represent the restoration of power to homes made possible by linemen.
Caesar wore a costume that combined several elements of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Much of her dress was made of traditional madras, her bodice was emblazoned with the V.I. flag, her skirt featured sections of white and blue representing the beaches, and her headpiece depicted a cruise ship representing both tourism and the many mercy ships that transported families out of the territory after the storms.
Squiabro wore a bright costume representing Carnival, Transfer Day, and the strength of the historic queens who led the 1878 Fireburn labor revolt in Frederiksted. Her dress and headpiece featured orange, green, red, blue, and yellow. Her skirt lifted up to depict a band playing during Carnival.
Ta’Mya wore a dazzling costume modeled after the flag of the U.S. Virgin Islands. In her presentation, titled “True Love,” she wore large fuchsia wings on her back, and symbols such as golden wings, a claw clutching an olive branch, and a claw clutching arrows were painted on the inside of the wings.
The Talent Segment gave contestants an opportunity to showcase their skills in performing arts. Forbes sang, played the violin and danced; Caesar danced and played the saxophone; Squiabro danced, played the trumpet, and performed a majorette routine; and Davis played steel pan and a bass guitar, and performed aerial acrobatics.
The Evening-wear Segment featured elegant gowns and suits, as well as the grace and modeling technique of each participant in the pageant. Prince Contender Maike Caracciolo wore a rose suit with a gold dress-shirt. Forbes titled her evening-wear performance “Dawn of a New Day”, and wore a bright yellow taffeta gown adorned with crystals along the sleeves and neckline. Caesar wore a multi-layered turquoise gown and she was escorted by her father. Squiabro wore a magenta gown decorated with crystals around her waist and neckline, and her performance paid homage to the children of the territory who stayed during the hurricanes and the aftermath. Davis wore an extravagant green dress to represent nature and nurturing, and she was escorted by her mother in a presentation called, “A Mother’s Love.”
The Question and Answer Segment had each participant discuss what tips and advice they would give to a child of their age during a major hurricane.