Miss World Bahamas 2012 DeAndra Bannister wears a bikini during the 2012 Miss Bahamas swimsuit competition.

By Constance Watson, Reuters

LONDON — Miss World contestants will not wear bikinis when they vie for the pageant’s crown in Indonesia this September to avoid causing offense in the world’s most populous Muslim country.

Miss World organizers said the 137 women in the competition will instead wear one-piece swimwear, some of which will also have sarongs over the top.

“This is perfectly reasonable in a country that prefers one-piece swimwear,” London-based Miss World Organization Chairwoman Julia Morley told Reuters on Thursday.

Morley denied suggestions the decision to ditch bikinis was made after local complaints about the contest.

However, reports in Indonesian newspapers said a number of conservative groups had taken issue with the staging of the contest, highlighting bikinis as a key objection.

The Jakarta Post reported on Monday that deputy tourism minister, Sapta Nirwandar, said the government had also asked Miss World to follow Indonesian tradition.

“Some people in Indonesia still consider it taboo for women to wear bikinis and outfits that expose body parts,” the paper quoted Nirwandar as saying on its website.

Over the past year other entertainment events have been disrupted in Indonesia due to threats by Muslim organizations.

Pop star Lady Gaga was forced last year to pull out of a concert after a hardline Muslim group threatened to disrupt her show, saying her performances were immoral.

Last month veteran U.S. rock band Aerosmith cancelled a concert in Jakarta citing security concerns.

The 63rd Miss World pageant will be held on September 28 in Jakarta, the capital of a country where nearly 90 percent of its 240 million people consider themselves to be Muslims.

The Miss World contest dates back to 1951 and during its first decade the outfits of contestants raised eyebrows and grabbed headlines while building a growing audience for its televised show

Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters.

Some of the members of the new MBO team.

Members of the new MBO team. From L-R: MUB National Director Loretta Thomas; MBO President Michelle Malcolm; board member Beverly Saunders; Board Chairman Dr. Barry Russell; Events Manager Zhivon Young; Little Miss Sunburst Bahamas National Director Lisa McCartney. Photo by Ashley Taylor.

Nassau, Bahamas (MBO) June 3, 2013 – The nation’s premier beauty pageant organization has a new face, and the leadership of the Miss Bahamas Organization® (MBO) says it is the last piece of the puzzle needed to fulfill its vision. Some of the nation’s leading business and civic minds are now at the helm of a newly formed Board of Directors which will guide the organization as it branches out from one to four national pageants each year.

Serving as Chairman of the Board is orthodontist Dr. Barry Russell. In 1991, Dr. Barry Russell became the first Bahamian orthodontist to establish a practice in The Bahamas. The Bahamas Orthodontic Center has grown from a staff of two employees in 1991 to a current staff of twenty-one with practices in Nassau and Freeport, Grand Bahama. Dr. Russell is a past board member of the Bank of the Bahamas and a past Chairman of The Bahamas Dental Council. He has been a long supporter of MBO, serving as the organization’s official orthodontist and dental sponsor for several years. Coralie Adderley is on board as Vice Chair. Mrs. Adderley is the President of Creative Leadership and Management Solutions and an accomplished leader with over 25 years in public and private health care systems in the Bahamas and the United States. Prior to establishing CLMS, she spent seven years at Doctors Hospital Health System beginning as an Assistant Administrator and ending her tenure as the Senior Vice President for Doctors Hospital East. She went on to serve as Chief Hospital Administrator of the Princess Margaret Hospital, served for eleven years and holds the distinction as the youngest and longest serving administrator to date, bringing fresh energy and commitment to tackling systemic issues.

Other members of the board include international motivational speaker, best-selling author and Senior Pastor of Bahamas Faith Ministries International Dr. Myles Munroe. Dr. Munroe is a well sought after lecturer, educator, leadership and business consultant who travels the world extensively addressing critical issues affecting individuals social and spiritual development. The central theme of his message is transforming followers into leaders; leaders into agents of change; and the maximization of individual potential. He is the founder and President of Bahamas Faith Ministries International, and he is the executive producer of a number of radio and television programs aired worldwide.

Also serving on the board is CEO of Digicel TCI Mr. E. J. Saunders. Mr. Saunders started with Digicel TCI as its Project Director on 1st September 2005 and by January 2006 he was appointed CEO, where under his direction the company more than doubled its subscriber base and its market share. E. Jay’s experience in telecommunications includes his years spent with Cable & Wireless Turks & Caicos Islands (“C&W”) as Senior Manager for Information Services, where at the age of 24 he became its youngest Senior Manager.

Board member Mrs. Beverly Saunders serves as Vice President of Training & Organization Development for Atlantis Resort Paradise Island. Her portfolio includes Atlantis University; customer service training; orientation, technology training; student internships, and other talent development initiatives. She is a certified coach, performance consultant, motivational speaker and local and international speaker and workshop facilitator. Beverly is a member of the Society of Human Resources Managers (SHRM); and Past President of the Bahamas Hotel Association of Human Resources Professionals; Member and speaker for The International Third World Leaders Association and The International Leadership Training Institute; President of the Board of Directors for The Lead Institute; Member Focus Woman International where she mentors women and works with young career professionals in developing their careers

The board of directors forms the highest level of authority in the governance of MBO. Its role is to ensure that strategic decisions achieve the organization’s objectives in the most efficient way, including scrutinizing investment decisions and the expenditures required to support the organization’s efforts. An executive committee headed by MBO President Michelle Malcolm will answer directly to the Board of Directors. That committee will be supported by several working committees. Other new talent joining the executive committee includes businesswoman Loretta Thomas who will serve as the Miss Universe Bahamas National Director; veteran child educator and former Miss Bahamas Lisa Sawyer McCartney who will serve as Little Miss Sunburst Bahamas Director; former Miss Bahamas Michelle Collie who joins the team as Director of Contestants Enrichment Program; Former Director of the Cindy Thompson Miss Teen Bahamas Pageant and current marketing manager/home consultant at Arawak Homes Chakita Archer who will serve as Assistant Director to Ms. Collie; and VP of Public Relations and Marketing Bianca Carter, a businesswoman and social media specialist. Returning MBO alumni include Events Manager Zhivon Young; Legal Counsel Genell Sands; Accountants Christine Rollins and Latia Duncombe; Contestants Manager Anishka Lockhart; Assistant Contestants Manager Khandise Smith; fundraising coordinator Yvonne Gibson-Sands; Media relations manager Jerome Sawyer and Pageant Coordinator Leslia Miller.

Four National Pageants

MBO’s new structure comes at a time when the organization is experiencing explosive growth, branching out into three divisions. In order to solidify the distinction between its two major franchises, the organization is now separating the Miss Universe Bahamas and Miss World Bahamas pageants, holding two separate competitions instead of one event in which two winners were crowned. Its first Miss Universe Bahamas pageant will be held on August 11th at the Atlantis Resort which has once again partnered with MBO for the staging of the event. The Miss World Bahamas pageant is slated for later in the year. The reigning Miss World Bahamas De’Andra Bannister will compete in this year’s Miss World pageant in Indonesia this September.

Miss World Bahamas 2012 DeAndra Bannister. Photo by Farreno Ferguson.

In addition to the two “Miss” pageants, for the first time in its history MBO will stage a “Little Miss” pageant for girls between the ages of 5 and 12 years old. The Little Miss Sunburst Bahamas pageant will be held in the spring of 2014. It will be open to girls in three divisions: Pee Wee (5-6); Little Miss (7-10); and Pre-Teen (11-13). In keeping with its mandate of character development, the organization will place heavy emphasis on fostering self-esteem, social graces, and a sense of purpose in the girls who undergo the pageant program. Winners will compete at the prestigious Sunburst International Beauty Pageant which has a mission to provide wholesome competition that creates an environment where contestants can grow, mature, develop while exhibiting their talents, personalities, interpersonal skills, and sportsmanship. Sunburst provides opportunity and rewards that will further enhance their lives and provide direction as they pursue their ambitions. Winners have gone on to become Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Universe, doctors, lawyers, CPA’s, business entrepreneurs, engineers, actors, singers, dancers, musicians, and many other success stories over the years.

While the Miss Teenager Bahamas pageant will not be produced by MBO, it will be held under its auspices. MBO contestants’ manager Anishka Lockhart who is co-owner of the Miss Teenager franchise in The Bahamas, will serve as National Director of that pageant which will launch in the summer of 2014. Winners will compete in Miss Teenager International pageant.

Miss Universe Bahamas Application Process Now Open

Miss Universe Bahamas 2012 Celeste Marshall. Photo by Fadil Berisha.

On August 11th, Celeste Marshall passes the Miss Universe Bahamas title and crown to a new winner. Interested young women are being invited to apply as soon as possible if they wish to enter this year’s Miss Universe Bahamas pageant. A screening is scheduled for June 9th, 3 p.m. at The Balmoral – the new official home of the Miss Bahamas Organization – at which time applicants will be interviewed one-on-one by MBO officials. Applicants will need to bring along a Bahamian passport, birth certificate, a valid police record, a pair of high heels and a swimsuit of their choice. A non-refundable application fee of $100 will also be due payable. Naturally born females between the ages of 18 and 27 who are of Bahamian ancestry and/or citizens of The Bahamas may enter the Miss Bahamas Beauty Pageant. Contestants must be at least 18 years old by Coronation Night. However, all women crowned queen must be at least 18 years old and under 27 by February 1st in the year that follows their coronation. Candidates must be single, must not have children, nor have ever been pregnant or given birth. Minimum height requirement is 5′ 5″ and maximum height requirement is 6′ 2″. Weight must be proportionate to height. Candidates must be beautiful in face and figure, intelligent, and charming, while possessing poise, a pleasing character, and high moral convictions. The Miss Bahamas Organization reserves the right to refuse an application or dismiss a contestant, using the Organization’s codes and regulations as the basis for its decision.


MasterCard Guests Treated to a Priceless Experience at Program Launch - MasterCard executives, participating merchants and guests enjoyed Junkanoo, one of the Bahamas’ ‘Priceless Experiences’ at the 2013 Priceless Bahamas program launch. Attendees were wowed by members of the Valley Boys who performed a pulsating rush-out at the event. Pictured with the junkanoo dancers left to right, Ray Merceron, MasterCard Territory Head, Western Caribbean, Rafael Fuentes, MasterCard Director of Acceptance, DeAndra Bannister, Miss World Bahamas, Lorena Holguin, MasterCard VP of Marketing, Caribbean and Rafael Puebla, MasterCard Head of Marketing, GeoCentral region.

Nassau, Bahamas – MasterCard, in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism for the Islands of the Bahamas, announced today the launch of the 2013 Priceless Bahamas program during an exclusive cocktail event for participating merchants, tourism industry influencers and media. The successful destination program was initially launched as the Find Your Way program in 2008 and evolved into Priceless Bahamas in 2012.

This year, MasterCard welcomes 56 participating merchants with more than 70 locations in Nassau and Paradise Island. This number represents a fifty-five per cent increase in the number of participating merchants since the program’s inception with 36 merchants in 2008. Participating merchants represent six categories or “passion points” which include culinary, sports, lodging, travel, arts and culture and shopping.

“In 2013, Priceless Bahamas will continue to offer MasterCard cardholders unique experiences and exclusive benefits through a series of special offers designed to enhance the visitor experience,” said Rafael Puebla, head of Marketing for Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and the Caribbean for MasterCard Latin America and Caribbean region. “In addition to discounts and offer benefits, cardholders will enjoy priceless experiences including access to exclusive celebrity events, excursions and unique cultural festival experiences.”

For the first time since the program’s launch, two major hotels and two airlines have enlisted to join the program. MasterCard cardholders will be able to enjoy daily $10 resort credit for stays of three nights or longer at The Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort & Casino, as well as a fifty per cent discount to guests purchasing a day pass with their MasterCard at Compass Point Beach Resort.

New participating merchants also include Bahamasair and Sky Bahamas, which will offer travelers who pay with MasterCard 500 frequent flyer points at enrollment and a free gift with purchase respectively. A total of twenty-four new merchants have been added to the annual program.

“The Bahamas is without a doubt a key tourist hotspot in the Caribbean and we are happy to partner with the Ministry of Tourism and merchant partners on this very important initiative. We have high expectations for 2013 and we hope to achieve even more successes than in previous years,” said Ray Merceron, vice president and territory head for the Western Caribbean.

Returning major retailers include John Bull, Carlo Milano, Columbian Emeralds and Diamonds International. For a complete list of merchants and program details, please visit http://www.mastercard.com/bs.

Miss World Bahamas De'Andra Bannister with the Deputy Director General of Tourism, Ellison Tommy Thompson.

The Bahamian Deputy Director General of Tourism, Ellison Tommy Thompson, added, “We’re excited to partner with MasterCard once again in 2013 as we continuously seek to support programs that enrich the destination experience for visitors to our island. The value proposition provided by “Priceless Bahamas” provides visitors with yet another reason to make The Bahamas their destination of choice. We are behind the program one hundred percent and truly encourage those planning a trip to take advantage of the extraordinary deals and live a ‘Priceless Experience’ in The Bahamas.” Miss World Bahamas De’Andra Bannister delivered the welcoming remarks at the event.


Follow Miss World Bahamas on her Europe Tour via social media using the hashtag #FollowTheCrown & the id @DeandraB242 on Instagram, Twitter & Google+ Like here on Facebook for daily updates facebook.com/deandrabannister

Up since 4am that's why I look so excited :| #Breakfast in #TheBahamas, #Brunch in #Miami. Traveling makes me hungry! What's for lunch and where?! #followthecrown

#ThankGod for comfortable shoes. Lunch in #Detroit :) What's for dinner?! #jetsetter #toms #oneforone #picstitch

Ostrów Tumski in Central Wrocław #Beautiful

Visited another beautiful #castle today and found this #WildOrchid in the garden of #tulips #EveryQueenNeedsACastle

#Lovers come onto the #Tumski #Bridge, write their name on locks & lock them onto the bridges rails- throwing the #keys into the #river to pronounce their love forever #Beautiful

#Love, in the palm of my hand #MissWorld #Bahamas #Poland #TumskiBridge #ThePowerOfLove #Amazing

#BehindTheScenes #FollowTheCrown #Europe #Sony


Celeste Marshall Miss Bahamas Universe 2012 on the cover. Photo. Barry Williams. Cover design. Amelia J. Hair. Devon Hanna. Make-up. Italia Williams. Dress. Phylicia Ellis.

A little about Nu Woman Magazine:

Nu Woman Magazine is a quarterly publication that is based in Nassau, Bahamas. The magazine’s main focus is on Bahamian and Caribbean women who are contributing in a positive way to community and society. Nu Woman also features festivals, events and destinations from the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and the Caribbean. In each issue you will find Caribbean designers and fashion, profiles on Caribbean women and entrepreneurs as well as articles on relationships and the Arts & Entertainment, all specifically designed to promote Bahamian and Caribbean culture.

This quarter  get an in depth look at Miss Universe Bahamas Celeste Marshall


“Most beauty queens are perceived to be perfect in the public’s eye, not approachable or pretenders. Myself, I let people know, understand and see that I am a real person with real feelings; I’ve allowed people to see that I am understandable and I can relate to a real situation.”

See the entire spread and read the interview by subscribing to nuwomanmagazine.com today.


JEM Music Group, producers of the Campari Caribbean Poster Girl Search “Reality Series,” and DIRadioCast New Media Network have teamed up to bring you #Bahamas40ATL.

bahamas40atl5x4#Bahamas40ATL is a campaign created to promote the celebration of the Bahamas’ 40th Independence during the Atlanta 25th Annual Caribbean Carnival Memorial Weekend, May 22-27, 2013. Shooting will begin May, 22, 2013, upon the arrival of Miss Universe Bahamas in Atlanta, GA, and end on June 5, 2013, upon her departure.

bahamas40atl-tour5x4The reality show will be produced by JEM Music Group and aired on various cable channels internationally.  The show will examine the relationship  between Caribbean, Caribbean American and African American Culture. The central theme of the show will be the #Bahamas40ATL project as the Bahamian subjects, Miss Universe Bahamas, Celeste Marshall; Rake n Scrape Artist, Stileet; Freeport DJ, Da Lioness; and Campari Caribbean Poster Girl Search reality star, Tomii Culmer,   interact and experience both Caribbean American and African American festivities from Atlanta, GA – Jacksonville, FL.

DIRadioCast New Media  will document the trip  for new and social media outlets, allowing supporters to follow the action in real time.

The project is supported by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and its Entertainment Department.  Details on activities and events can be found on Bahamas.com, CelseteM242.com or DIRadioCast.com.

Purchase Tickets for Events Public Appearence


By Arthia Nixon

De’Andra Bannister’s whirlwind year of being Miss World Bahamas hit another high. The Bahamian beauty revealed this image of her with supermodel Shakara Ledard taken around the filming for the Bahamian tourism commercial. The supermodel was one of the first Bahamian sex symbols from her country to hit it big on the international market. The commercial featured another sexy Bahamian star, former NBA hunk turned actor, Rick Fox (shirtless I might add!). The ad featured Shakara wandering down a postcard perfect beach in The Bahamas and ended with with Bahamian resident magician David Copperfield greeting local kids.

De’Andra had the chance to get one on one with Shakara and revealed some details about the supermodel who has successfully managed to keep her private life public.

“She is a very, very kind person,” revealed the beauty queen exclusively to Thia on today. “We spoke about travels, living in Argentina, her life as a busy model mom with two kids. She was very family oriented and we ate dinner and dessert while talking about our lives thus far. Her mom was with us and they seemed like a very close knit family. I really enjoyed meeting her. She is kind spirited and her inner beauty beams through. It was great to meet someone who has achieved so much while coming from the same, small island nation. She is such an inspiration.”

Speaking of inspiration, when it comes to beach bodies, De’Andra and Shakara both leave us a lot more than a ‘little inspired’! Check out their images in the gallery.

De’Andra had the chance to get one on one with Shakara and revealed some details about the supermodel who has successfully managed to keep her private life public.

“She is a very, very kind person,” revealed the beauty queen exclusively to Thia on today. “We spoke about travels, living in Argentina, her life as a busy model mom with two kids. She was very family oriented and we ate dinner and dessert while talking about our lives thus far. Her mom was with us and they seemed like a very close knit family. I really enjoyed meeting her. She is kind spirited and her inner beauty beams through. It was great to meet someone who has achieved so much while coming from the same, small island nation. She is such an inspiration.”

Speaking of inspiration, when it comes to beach bodies, De’Andra and Shakara both leave us a lot more than a ‘little inspired’! Check out their images in the gallery.


miss bahamas

by Thia Nixon

(Nassau, The Bahamas) From a hotel room overlooking the famous turquoise colored Bahamian waters, I got the inside scoop direct from Miss Bahamas World, Deandra Bannister and Miss Bahamas Universe, Celeste Marshall as they got set for R Kelly’s all-white party. The Step in The Name Of Love party was a lead up to R Kelly’s first Bahamian concert, set for February 23, 2013. The queens will be cohosting the pre-concert event.

With their crowns and sashes off, they finally put aside their queenly demeanors and gushed about meeting the R&B singer/songwriter who has been on their both their playlists for years.



Celeste travels to Las Vegas, Nevada for the Miss Universe competition!

Nassau, Bahamas (MBO) December 1, 2012 – Celeste Marshall is going into the 2012 Miss Universe competition as a favorite of pageant watchers worldwide, and with the help of generous local and international sponsors, her billing as a contender will be firmly established.

A $12,000 couture Eduardo de las Casas evening gown; two kaftans designed by celebrity favorite Camilla of Australia; a pair of newly released Fendi sunglasses; and a $5000 smile… all part of the arsenal that Miss Universe Bahamas Celeste Marshall will be taking to Las Vegas, Nevada in her quest to become the first Bahamian woman to become a finalist (and ultimately the winner) of the Miss Universe competition. The statuesque beauty has been preparing for months for her moment in the spotlight, and she has received a lot of help along the way from a long list of sponsors.

Topping the list is the Ashley Lauren Kerr group, consisting of designer Eduardo de las Casas, pageant coach Grace Fontecha, make-up artist/instructor Noel Garcia, and stylist Ashley Lauren. The group’s contribution to her preparations exceeded the $30,000 mark, and included two couture evening gowns; 2 weeks of private lessons with Guinness World Records recognized pageant coach Fontecha; make-up application and hair styling lessons; fashion tips; and a two week all-inclusive stay at a beach front home in Maine during her training. Kerr believes the investment was worth it. “Celeste’s beauty combined with her training can take her to the top,” she says. “I hope that is in her destiny because she has worked very hard preparing and I know she wants it; not only for herself, but for the Bahamas too.”
Much of the support for Celeste came from here at home. Those who generously gave included:

Diamonds International – Fine Jewelry $7500
Bahamas Orthodontic Center – Braces/Teeth whitening $5000
Escape Boutique at The Cove – Assorted clothing and accessories $3100
Coles of Nassau – Camilla of Australia kaftan, Jovani dress – $1535
Wedded Bliss – Evening gown $1300
BTC – Iphone & data plan – $700
MBO – Assorted clothing and shoes $900
The Luggage Store – $593
Boojie Bijoux – Costume Jewelry $500
Imperial Optical – Fendi sunglasses $450
The Shoe Village – Assorted shoes
All Yours Remy Hair – Hair products $425
Eye Candy Make-up Store – Cosmetics $400
Obsession – Assorted clothing $300
Lorene’s – Sleepwear $300
La Casita – Camari designer sisal/straw clutch $250 (auction gift)
Nassau Gals – Assorted clothing $225
Solomon’s Mines – watches
Cia Monet – Herve Leger dresses
D-Factor – Hair styling services
Nail Taxi Bahamas – Manicure/Pedicure

Celeste also received private donations from the Thompson, Marshall, Dames, and Williams families. Her national costume – which MBO officials describe as a very modern take on an era of Bahamian history – depicts a swashbuckling buccaneer and will be unveiled in Las Vegas during the Miss Universe national costume event.

Celeste’s popularity has spread worldwide, securing her a spot among the pageant’s pre arrival favorites – thanks in no small part to the well-oiled PR machine known as the DS3 group headed by PJ Douglas Sands. The group recently partnered with the Miss Bahamas Organization to handle the branding of its queens and its social media outreach. DS3 was the mastermind behind the popular “follow the crown” vlogs which have chronicled Celeste’s journey to the Miss Universe pageant for a growing number of followers on facebook, twitter, instagram, tumblr, and her own personal website http://diradiocast.com/dinmn/celestem242/.

The Miss Universe Pageant will be broadcast live on NBC on December 19th at 8 p.m. The Miss Universe Organization is once again allowing the public to choose one of its semi-finalists via online voting from now until the voting closes on December 18 and 6 p.m. Anyone located in, and a legal resident of, the Bahamas can cast their vote(s) for Celeste by logging onto www.missuniverse.com or telemundo.com, and following the instructions to vote and enter registration details. To register you will need to provide your email address, confirm you are 16 years of age or older, and confirm your acceptance of the voting terms and conditions. After you register, you should rank Celeste as a “10”. If done correctly, you will get a message on your screen. You can vote up to 10 times per e-mail address per day. Voting is free. The results may be revealed to the home viewing audience during the live telecast and may be posted on www.missuniverse.com after the show.


The 2013 Miss Universe pageant kicks off in a few weeks, and Miss Universe Bahamas Celeste Marshall will be stepping out in style when she sets foot in Las Vegas, Nevada, thanks to the genorisity of a growing list of sponsors. Just back from a two week training stint in Maine with pageant coach Grace Fontecha and stylist Ashley Lauren Kerr, Celeste was treated to a shopping spree courtesy of Escape, the luxury boutique at The Cove, Atlantis. There, she chose a few pieces of her pageant wardrobe. She also selected two luxury watches which she will sport in Vegas, courtesy of Solomon’s Mines, and luggage courtesy of The Luggage Store.

Later in the day, both she and Miss World Bahamas De’Andra Bannister received their prizes from MBO partner Diamonds International. The ladies were all smiles as they left the flagship Bay Store with thousands of dollars worth of “bling”.