Guyanese beauty brings home the Caribbean Culture Queen crown
By Lazeena Yearwood
It was a triumphant win for Guyana and a spectacular opportunity for 20-year-old Shemena Peroune who emerged as the Caribbean Culture Queen at the pageant’s 15th edition.
Peroune’s win is dubbed historic as she is the first Guyanese Queen of the prestigious franchise which was held in St. Kitts and Nevis on August 7.
The reigning queen on Friday said her platform – women empowerment – stems from being an aeronautical engineer which is mostly male dominated.
“It was a part of my platform for the local leg of the pageant, but it’s something that I experienced on another level because as a female I have always been into a male dominated field.
“I found myself having to create spaces in rooms that you’re probably not welcome in. Because as a female, you would see yourself going to school every day and I’d be having equal opportunities because you’re seeing as a gender or the person that is not able to do things that a man is able to do so I would just like to change our narrative and what’s a better way to do so done by example,” the young woman told the News Room shortly after landing at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
Peroune received an extraordinary welcome home at the airport; her family, friends, classmates, teachers and the media welcomed her before a parade was held from Timehri to Georgetown.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Charles Ramson Jr. greeted her in the ministry’s boardroom and committed to providing support to both the pageant queen and the local pageant franchise.
With six weeks to prepare following the local pageant, Peroune competed against young women from nine other Caribbean nations in a variety of categories. She walked away with the titles of Best Interview and Miss Photogenic.
Peroune attended Marian’s Academy before completing her high school diploma and earning a spot at the Art Williams & Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School.
Her team consisted of Randy Madray and Richard Layne, among others for the regional pageant.
Reflecting on her journey to the crown, Peroune said it was overwhelming especially the support she received in Nevis where the competition was staged. With many Guyanese living on the island, the support was tremendous and she is grateful.
“I was really surprised because it was my first time in Nevis and I thought that, you know, I’m going to the island and it’s not going to be filled with Guyanese.
“So I had to put on an extra show because I wouldn’t have that crowd support. But I went over to my first segment…and I started to perform, everybody screaming Guyana, Guyana,” Peroune recounted.
She intends to continue her efforts to enable women with the confidence to ‘stand in rooms they are not welcomed in’.
“Always strive to create spaces in rooms with you are not welcome.
“Competition is always within do not compare yourself to anyone else. Always strive to be a better version of your previous self,” Peroune added as words of wisdom for other young women.