Velonique is Miss Kgn and St Andrew

Velonique Bowen (centre), Miss Kingston and St Andrew Festival Queen 2022, is flanked by second runner-up Seana’Kaye Wright (left) and first runner-up Aaliyah Myrie at the grand crowning of the occasion which took place held at the Little Theater in St Andrew last Sunday.

HER passion for culture was the deciding factor that prompted Velonique Bowen to enter the Miss Kingston and St Andrew Festival Queen Competition.

Last Sunday she emerged victorious in the grand coronation pageant held at the Little Theater in St Andrew’s. Her runners-up were Aaliyah Myrie and Seana’Kaye Wright for second and third place, respectively.

“I entered because I am a culture lover. As far back as I can remember, I’ve always considered myself a naturalist and always been at the forefront of anything cultural. I thought that by entering the contest, it would prove the love I have for the country and [it would allow me] to be put in a position to be an ambassador for the culture where I could execute some plans that I have to preserve the culture,” Bowen told the Jamaica Observer.

“I feel like our young people are moving away from our traditional culture and moving more towards global culture. We still have to retain some aspects of our culture. I also participated in the growth contest. I was a little scared to go in, but I decided to sign up and follow,” she continued.

Bowen, who won three of the five section awards – most culturally sensitive, social media popular and most aware – said her experience in the competition was rewarding.

“The overall experience was superb. I met 11 other candidates who are so bright and knowledgeable. I had fun with the experience and we practiced from all angles. I felt determined,” she said.

Velonique Bowen, newly crowned Miss Kingston and St Andrew Festival Queen 2022

When asked what she thought would give her the edge to win the crown, Bowen said: “I have to say the other women were bright, very cultured young ladies. I think what maybe gave me the edge was that I was passionate about getting the title because of what I wanted to do with it.

She has big plans to connect young people to Jamaican culture during her reign.

“During my reign, I want to bridge the gap between our youth and the older generation. I believe that young people are being hijacked by international or global culture. They are watching netflix instead of watching shows or plays produced in Jamaica, nor are they familiar with Jamaican folk forms such as kumina. There is a certain apprehension in accepting aspects of our culture. I want to use my skills as a communication strategist to meet them where they are. I want to use social media to run campaigns to educate young people and inform them of so many aspects of our rich culture,” Bowen said.

An alumnus of St Andrew High School for Girls, Bowen recently completed her bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of the West Indies, with a minor in cultural studies. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Cultural Studies with the goal of pursuing a Ph.D.

She currently works as a broadcast journalist at MVC Television.

Bowen will then compete in the Miss Jamaica Festival Queen pageant, which is one of the highlights of the Jamaica 60 celebrations.

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