Representing The Bahamas in Miss Teenager Universe, Sasha Miller was crowned Miss Teenager Continents 2019 during her pageant journey to Guatemala, August 10.
Miller departed Grand Bahama August 3 and returned August 12, with an experience described as, “hardworking and overcoming.” Her coach and Director, Dominic Russell, in an interview on Tuesday, August 13 explained that the beauty queen represented The Bahamas “exceptionally” and made him proud.
Russell, who crowned Miller as Miss Teenager Bahamas Universe at a Coronation Ball held on April 27, claimed her beauty, style and grace made her the best queen for the title.
“This year, Sasha Miller was crowned in advance and she was able to experience four months training by Sharie Kowalska, Deanna North and by myself.
“Miller competed with 30 girls and my ultimate goal this year, was to make it to the top 15 like I did the first year that we went. While being there, there was national costume display, then we did the preliminaries. The preliminaries were the most important, because that would’ve determined if you made it in the top 15. During the final night when Sasha was called for the top 15 spot, I knew she had the potential to make it because of her wardrobe which was well put together,” said Russell.
“When they called The Bahamas, we thought she was called for an answer and question section; but unbeknownst she was called to be in the top eight. I was so excited and ecstatic, it was well-deserved and she looked like a beauty queen. She presented herself as a beauty queen and I was so proud of her.
“When she got her final question, she was able to capture a title, Miss Teenager Continence 2019. They have five official queens and Miss Netherland captured the title of Miss Teenager Universe.
“I am so happy,” he added.
Although Russell said the journey was a bit rough as he had the flu, he said the support of Miller’s father was a great help.
“I had to get a little down on her a few times, but then she started to get the hype of it and met a lot of friends.
“This year was a very rough year, but for the past two years I have had a lot of experience in knowing how to deal with things and how to really prepare.
“I had to push and guide Sasha and help her to understand that there is a lot of people rooting for you. I told Sasha we needed to do this pageant not only for her, but to show people that The Bahamas can make it somewhere in pageantry and The Bahamas can place, once we have the right young lady and we do what we have to do,” Russell added.
“You cannot just jump up one day and say you want to be a pageant girl. There is training and Sasha has been a pageant girl for the past three years. Although it wasn’t long, she also performs with Bahamas Dance Theatre and that helps with stage presence. I also think that helped her with stage performance.
“My only concern with Sasha was her speaking on stage because she gets a little nervous, but she did an excellent job. She did what she was supposed to do and I am very proud,” he said.
In addition, Russell explained his future plans for The Bahamas which will engage every island. “Next year will be the first year I have an actual pageant, Miss Teenage Universe, and that pageant may be in Freeport or Nassau.
“I am also looking for Island Directors, because I am looking for a young lady from every island and at the standard of Sasha.”
Miller, 17, shared the experience of her journey.
“I was crowned Miss Teenager Bahamas in April and I was so excited to do it, at first, because I got to represent The Bahamas; but as time went on and seeing that it was a universe pageant, I became more worried than scared.
“I didn’t think I had what it took to actually do well in this pageant or represent The Bahamas proudly. It also became stressful, because of trying to get sponsors, trying to get my walk correct, my speaking, it was not easy, I even cried a few times.
“But the hard work paid off and now I am walking away with Miss Teenager Continence and that moment when I won, I honestly wasn’t expecting that. They had their top 15 and right after the top 15, they announced the top eight and I did not know I was going to make it to the top 15. But when I was called to the top eight, I was really shocked,” she recalled.
“When you are chosen in the top eight, you automatically receive a title. So, I was excited that I was able to get a crown and I was bringing something back home to show my family and friends,” said Miller.
She noted that the pageant journey was a real hard one and a hard working one. “I have never been to Guatemala and seeing that it is a poor country and seeing all the people who are doing whatever they can to earn money was encouraging.
“It made me really thankful to be here in The Bahamas and have the kind of family that I have, and to have the things that I have. Guatemala really opened up my eyes to seeing that.”
The young queen noted that her future plans include encouraging other young women to follow their dreams, despite what others may say.
“I plan to encourage all of the young ladies who think pageantry is something that is too hard and who think that they don’t have what it takes, because I once thought that too. But now I am here with a title and crown, bringing it back home.
“It might be hard, but with hard work it is worth it and it will pay off. You would be surprised at what you can do,” Miller said.
Miller and Russell sadly expressed the lack of support from The Bahamas is disappointing and he hopes to see a change towards the pageant industry.
Nonetheless, he thanked Miller’s parents who did an amazing job in helping out and extended thanks to Cashwiz, Super wash, Mary, Star of the Sea Church along with Father Cooper, Mason Curry, ‘Cheese’ from The Sign Man, Joy Bowleg, Glen Riley, Velma Russell, Pulcheria Hanna, Bahamasair, Darrol Stubbs, K. Hepburn and David Rolle.