Beauty with a purpose

Miss World Bahamas Nyah Bandelier has spent much of her summer getting in touch with her inner child as a way to further promote the importance of reducing consumption of single-use plastics.

The beauty queen joined the youngsters participating in Blue Lagoon Island’s SeaVenture Summer Camp once a week after she selected plastic pollution awareness as her platform.

“I chose this platform because I am unable to dream of a day when I won’t be able to go to the beach because of plastic pollution. I love the beach and The Bahamas has some of the most beautiful waters in the world, but when I think about how many species are now endangered, the various marine life that we eat…like conch, grouper, snapper and the list goes on, I cannot dream of a day when we won’t be able to enjoy them because they are full of plastic,” she said, explaining why she selected the important topic as her focus.

Protecting the environment and educating Bahamians and guests about the importance of doing so is a core part of Blue Lagoon Island’s mission, so the company was excited at the opportunity to partner with Bandelier and the Miss Bahamas Organization.

“When we learned that Nyah had selected plastic pollution as her platform, we realized immediately that by working together we could help her learn even more about the topic and also that having someone so high-profile onboard would help spread the important message to the rest of The Bahamas,” said Jessica Robertson, public relations manager at Blue Lagoon Island.

Every Wednesday, Bandelier joined the SeaVenture campers on Blue Lagoon Island. She addressed each group to explain why she chose to use her opportunity to focus on this topic, and then they participated in marine debris awareness crafts and activities.

The first week they headed out to Blue Lagoon Island’s north shore to participate in a simulated dolphin and whale stranding. They were divided into two teams and taught what steps to take in the event they come across such an animal in distress on the shore.

Bandelier had no issue rolling up her pants legs to help out.

“This is a reality for our marine life – they can get tangled up in fishing line and other debris that we humans throw into the ocean. It felt like the kids and I were on a real rescue mission. They really got into it and we refused to give up until we were satisfied that we had done everything we could to save a whale in this situation.”

The following week, they participated in an ocean clean-up simulation where they saw first-hand how polluted the ocean is with debris and just how difficult it is to clean it up once the damage has been done.

They were encouraged to dump vegetable oil, peppercorns, spices and other debris into a container filled with water, and then given syringes and cotton balls to try and clean up the water.

“Some of the kids were getting frustrated when one of the camp counselors dumped in more debris, but that showed them what happens in real life – one group is trying to clean up the mess and save the oceans and marine life while someone else comes along and carelessly dumps more garbage in. We all realized just how hard this can be and why we need to take care to prevent any garbage from making its way into the ocean in the first place.”

Although as Miss World Bahamas she gets to wear beautiful jewels, at SeaVenture Camp she got the opportunity make herself a piece of jewelry with invaluable meaning. Bandelier and campers made bracelets out of repurposed plastic grocery bags and plastic beads to wear as a constant reminder of the need to reduce plastics consumption and keep it out of the ocean.

Bandelier appreciated the opportunity to learn more and make an impact on the environment by teaming up with Blue Lagoon Island.

“I know that Blue Lagoon Island is very big on promoting the conservation of the environment. Every time I go over to the island I see evidence of that,” she said.

“Blue Lagoon has been around for 30 years and it just goes to show that we have companies that do care and want to take the initiative. I really applaud Blue Lagoon Island for the efforts it continues to take and I look forward to the opportunity to work with them again.”

Bandelier and the Miss Bahamas Organization have already committed to participating in the International Coastal Cleanup effort being spearheaded by Blue Lagoon Island on September 12.

Bandelier, 19, will be among representatives from 130 countries at the 69th Miss World final at ExCel Arena, London, on Saturday, December 14.

Bandelier represents The Bahamas at the Miss World pageant which started in 1951, ironically, in London, as part of the Festival of Britain celebrations, and has inspired 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.

At Miss World, Bandelier and her fellow contestants will compete in a series of fast track events that guarantee a place in the top 30 – multimedia, sport, talent, top model, head-to-head challenge and beauty with a purpose, taking them on a journey across some of London’s most iconic landmarks, taking in its culture and heritage.

The Miss World Festival will be held in Thailand in 2020 to celebrate their 70th year.

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