National Carnival Queen Hardai Baley (center) seen with first runner-up was Jacynthia Tesheira (left) and second runner-up Nakita Thibou as well as Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris carried out the crowning (official Sugar Mas 48 photo)

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Tuesday 31st December 2019)-With an overall score of 853.5 points Hardai Baley outshone her fellow five competitors to be crowned Miss National Carnival Queen 2019-2020 following pageant held on Friday 27th December 2019 at the Sugar Mill housed at the Warner Park Stadium in Basseterre.

First runner-up was Jacynthia Tesheira with 819.5 points followed by second runner-up Nakita Thibou with 815.5 points.

The newly-crowned young beauty captured two out of the five judged segments namely Best Swimwear and Best Evening Gown. Additionally, she was the recipient of the following awards: Miss Amity and Most Popular on Social Media.

Thibou walked away with the other three categories- Best National Pride, Best Interview and Best Performing Talent.

Her National Pride ensemble called ‘The 869 Masquerade’ saw her dressed in a red vibrant lace jumpsuit adorned with ribbons, bells and peacock feathers as part of the patriotic display.

The interview session was the first segment having been switched from traditionally being last segment.

The question posed to each contest individually was: “Persons who suffer from mental illness are often alienated from society and this can worsen their mental state. What can you say t persons to discourage discrimination against mentally persons?”

In her eloquent response, Thibou replied: “I am the face of depression and anyone of us can be the face of depression. Anyone can be subjected to deterioration in their mental health at any time. Just recently I came across a video of famous actress Taraji P. Henson as she broke down into tears when she shared her fight about depression. So I say this to say that Ms. Henson probably appears to have it all; she’s well-established but she suffers from a mental illness. Mental illness knows no colour, class nor creed. Therefore, we should not discriminate those who are affected. Stop treating mental illness as if it is a unicorn. It is real and it can affect anyone of us. Thank you.”

For her talent-entitled ‘Words Cut Deep’- which saw a drama presentation followed by a calypso song penned by her, Thibou addressed the issue of name calling that society has given her such as “fat”, “obese” and “overweight”.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words do me no harm, they say?! Well that is a lie because these words like a knife cut me deep!” she voiced.

Thibou opened up about being the “chubby one” of her class as a child who was bullied by her peers.

She shared: “I used to tough it out though and act like it didn’t bother me but when I got home, I was at war with myself in the mirror: Why can’t they see that I’m beautiful?, Why can’t they love me for me?, Why can’t they understand that we all can’t look the same?”

 While belting her song lyrics, she gave advice to her gender peers saying “Remember we’re a unique creation, don’t ever feel you’re less than human. Your beauty is not defined by the way you look but by your inner self…”

Meanwhile,  Baley’s performing talent, no doubt tugged at the emotional heartstrings of many members of the audience who learnt that a few years ago, her mom (Tehanai Baley) lost her battle to cancer and that soon after that tragedy, she (Hardai) also lost her dad to the dreaded disease.

Her talent performance was described to speak to the mutual bond that her mom and dad had for each other.

As told in her write-up, Baley often thinks about her mom’s burial day and how did she make it to say goodbye.

“She often wonders if the pain will ever go away but as sad as it may seem, when she remembers the memories, she feels alive and knows she must go on and spread her seeds and bloom whatever path she takes in life.”

Through her talent presentation dubbed Dear Mother Mom’ she paid tribute in dance and also playing the piano to Celine Dion’s ‘Mama’. At the end of her presentation, she release pink balloons as the audience clapped and cheered with some even moved to tears.

 In a voice-over while dancing, she spoke about her “best friend” who lived “your life for others, giving until your end.”

According to Hardai: “Even on your hardest days, you would just say ‘Hardai, mommy is just having a no-hair day’.”

Another contestant Kalia Daniel was awarded Most Photogenic and also received the Chairperson’s Award. The other two contestants were Sheniqua Cannonier and Tywana Cranston.