by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Usha Thomas’ environmental project is “Reject. Re-style. Re-purpose”
- GEF UNDP Ridge to Reef Project will be assisting her on this project
- Massive drive to encourage young people to donate unwanted shoes and clothing
Following her victory at the recently held 2020 Face of Grenada (FOG) competition, Usha Thomas is embarking on drafting her environmental project to be executed in keeping with her obligation under this year’s theme “Fashion through an Environmental Lens.”
Thomas decided on the sub-theme “Reject. Re-style. Re-purpose” to help push her campaign to help raise awareness on ways Grenadians can help reduce the amount of waste being dumped annually into the landfills. The Face of Grenada (FOG) organising committee and GEF UNDP Ridge to Reef Project will be assisting her on this project. As her first activity, Thomas is undertaking a massive drive to encourage young people to donate unwanted shoes, garments or other rejected materials that will then be restyled or repurposed as fashionable items.
In preparation for the competition, the participants were also required to learn more about their specific topic by conducting research to help construct speeches for the finale. Thomas said the journey of researching information for her platform speech enlightened her on the severity of the issue of faced by the Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority in dealing with the increase in waste disposal. “I receive a few statistics of the number of textile waste that is in the landfill and, to be honest, it did amaze me and moved me to want to encourage people on the night of the competition to recycle by repurposing old clothes into something fashionable.”
However, such a project wasn’t an easy task compared to the preparation for this year’s competition which proved to be quite competitive. “I found myself looking at various fashion shows that can uplift me like America’s Next Top Model and the Caribbean Next Top Model which I got to be a part of. Although I didn’t win that competition (Caribbean Next Top Model), this taught me how to position my body, my facial expression which I still struggle with, but I know it’s a learning process,” Thomas said.
This year 8 participants, Javis Knight, Kaylauna Chitan, Nickada Lalgie, Avian Victor, Ashphil Robertson, Meagan Goodings, Tonya Glean and Usha Thomas, vied for the title Miss Face of Grenada 2020. Thomas copped 4 major titles including
- Best Eco-friendly Accessories Wear Display
- Best in Lady Irie Sustainable Wear
- Best Swimwear
- Best Avant Garde Red Carpet Wear
The 1st Runner-up ultimately went to Kaylauna Chitan, while 2nd Runner-up went to Nickada Lalgie. Tonya Glean was awarded the Digicel Grenada Public Choice Award for FOG 2020.
The Face of Grenada champion also walked away with a $2,500 cash prize, a feature with Caribbean POSH Magazine, Potent Magazine and Story Book Canada, and the opportunity to participate in Islands of the World Fashion Showcase, Bahamas and assistance by the GEF UNDP (Global Environment Fund United Nations Development Programme Global Environmental Finance) Ridge to Reef project which is expected to provide technical support to her environmental project.
“I have a great interest in modelling and fashion, my biggest dream is to become a professional model,” she said. Thomas said seeking sponsorship for the competition taught her several valuable lessons including the need to repurpose old clothing which coincidentally coincided with the theme of the competition. “Many of the business places were not able to sponsor me so I had to improvise by repurposing, which cut a lot of the cost associated with the competition.”
Meanwhile, Janette Brin, Publisher and Founding Editor of Caribbean Posh Magazine was particularly pleased with the outcome of the competition. She credited the organisers for creating an event that stretches far beyond just the normal beauty pageant. “I loved it, the show was very exciting…I appreciated the fact that the Face of Grenada might seem like a beauty pageant but it is so much deeper than that, so I really appreciated that whole concept and the effort that all of the young ladies put in to really find their voice and be heard as they help to define what Grenada is.”
The Founding and Editor of Caribbean Posh Magazine has planned to be more creative in the way Thomas is featured on the magazine’s front cover. “I want to do more than just a cover. I would like to be able to work with her throughout the year and really just provide her with a platform to let the world know what she has to offer as a model, and to inform the world on what she has to say and what she is working on.”
The competition over a period of 5 months saw each contestant undergoing various photoshoots, one of which required them to be innovative in their fashion choices while in keeping with the environmental theme. For that particular photo shoot, the contestant had to repurpose old school shirts and a pair of jeans to create a whole new look.
The Face of Grenada Runway fashion finale this year also featured designs by the likes of Lady Irie Carnival, Adroit, Tambran by Tamara, Sabriece Designs by Lydia Smith, Shawna Jo, Rockin RoxCin, AP&A Creative Designs, Shereesa Walcott and Kasia Goddard.
The 2018 Face of Grenada winner, Shenika Adams, is presently in China pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering.