More than just a pretty face
Miss World Bahamas Nyah Bandelier is not just another pretty face. She has been accepted into eight universities and received scholarships from six of those institutes of higher learning. She is also an accredited cosmetologist, having earned her certification at age 17 from the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) while in 11th grade at Mt. Carmel Preparatory Academy; she took a dual enrollment class.
Having captured the Miss World Bahamas crown, Bandelier, 18, has taken a gap year off her post-secondary studies to allow her to focus on her Miss World Bahamas responsibilities and her goal to bring honor to herself, her family and The Bahamas on the Miss World stage, before she resumes pursuit of studies in biology with obstetrics or pharmaceuticals as her end game.
It was a well-spoken, confident, Bandelier who spoke to The Nassau Guardian after her crowning of being excited, yet grateful to have been given the opportunity to represent The Bahamas on the international stage.
“I honestly haven’t come to the realization that I am Miss World Bahamas. It has not quite settled in as yet, but I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity and I really hope to make myself, my family and my country proud,” she said on Thursday.
Bandelier was crowned on Sunday, May 27.
She will depart the country in early November to represent The Bahamas at the 69th Miss World pageant in Thailand on December 7.
“I am super excited and so grateful to be representing my country on the international stage at Miss World. The international buzz is that The Bahamas is coming strong this year, so I definitely hope to live up to that reputation and make my country, my family and everyone proud.”
For Bandelier, the title gives her the opportunity to bring greater awareness to her platform – plastic pollution. One of the first orders of business for the title holder is to get started on her “Beauty With A Purpose” platform for the December pageant. Whatever she decides that will be, she wants to incorporate her plastic pollution platform into it for the international competition.
She also said she brings to the crown someone who embraces all that she is.
“I use my strength and vulnerability and my platform to not only give back to my community, but I put myself in other people’s shoes to help them understand where I’m coming from, or why it’s important that we take this [plastic pollution] task at hand.”
She considers herself to be a leader of diversity, and her goal is to also show Bahamians and the international community that The Bahamas is not just a standard Afro-Caribbean country, but a diverse nation in culture and nationality.
“I’m going to put The Bahamas on the map and show that we have so much to offer as a nation and as people.”
For her, the title means more than just being a beauty queen.
“Beauty is within as it is without. I just want that to shine through – not only being just Nyah Bandelier, but as Miss World Bahamas herself.”
Going after the Miss World title wasn’t something Bandelier dreamed about. She was initially encouraged to enter the pageant, and after giving it some thought decided to do it.
“I was approached about it, and of course, I didn’t really jump up and say let me join this beauty pageant. It took persons encouraging me to do it, but I also had to stop and look at myself and ask myself: Why do I want to do this and should I do it?”
She says she prayed about it a lot, considering entering the pageant was a decision that she had to make in a short period of time. And as a person who takes risks, she went with it, because she decided she would rather take a risk than actually regret not doing something later.
“You just never know what God has planned for your life,” she said.
From the training process that she was put through, Bandelier said she learned to always be true to herself and to let who Nyah is shine through.
“To not just say things that other persons want to hear, but literally to be yourself. To be confident in who you are and confident that other persons should love just who you are. Being in this process has made me more confident – especially with public speaking. I had a fear of public speaking and now I’m constantly doing interviews…public appearances, and it has definitely helped me to be more confident as an individual and as a young woman.”
This will be the first time in the history of Miss World that the month-long festival and final will take place in the “land of smiles”, and Bandelier will be among the 130 Miss World delegates represented.
The new Miss World Bahamas also describes herself as adventurous, and a person who loves trying new things. She loves to travel, and loves all things entertainment including modeling and acting. She’s also a lover of movies and says she can binge watch a series literally in a matter of days. She also loves to dance and has taken formal lessons since age eight; and did gymnastics and acrobatics as well.
That innate “true true” Bahamian spirit means that she has participated in Junkanoo, having rushed for four years (ages 11 to 15) with Roots Junkanoo Group.
Her favorite food is sushi; her favorite Bahamian dish is conch salad, and she stresses that she cannot eat it unless it has a lot of goat pepper and conch in it.
And as for her surname, her dad is Bahamian of German descent.
Bandelier’s prizes include a year-long salary as an Aliv brand ambassador. She receives a cash award, styling services by David Rolle, a designer wardrobe, a one-year Club One Fitness Center membership, hair and makeup services, dental services, travel and access to top-tier events.
Bandelier represents The Bahamas at the Miss World pageant, which started in 1951 and has inspired and empowered thousands of women to use their talents to support the poor, sick and disadvantaged through its “Beauty With A Purpose” charitable program. Miss World is not a traditional beauty pageant, but rather a platform for women from across the globe to raise awareness and funds in aid of humanitarian causes.
Past winners of the crown include Deandrea Conliffe (2006), Anya Watkins Mousis (2007), Tinnyse Johnson (2008), Joanna Brown (2009), Braneka Bassett (2010), Sasha Joyce (2011), Daronique Young (2012), De’Andra Bannister (2013), Rosetta Cartwright (2014), Chantel O’Brian (2015), Ashley Hamilton (2016) and Geena Thompson (2017).
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.