Don't ask me how I got involved in the Ms. Caribbean USA 2009 contest... go here. Well I DO know, I just didn't want you to ask. It has been an interesting look into the world of beauty pageants. According to a former Miss Jamaica (in another pageant), Daisi Pollard, there are 40,000 pageants worldwide. We only know the biggees, like Miss California, (well we do now, thanks to homophobe Carrie Prejean), Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss USA and, I guess it's still going strong, Miss America. But Ms. Caribbean (careful! there's a MISS Caribbean contest in Florida) is just below the radar but nevertheless offers a $5,000 prize to the winner, among other prizes to various contestants. It is being held at the Celebrity Centre Theatre in Hollywood on July 4th, 2009 at 5 PM. I highly recommend it. Check out the women on the website. Interestingly "beauty" per se is not the highest priority of assessment from the judges, although of course there will be swimsuit and gown promenades up and down a runway. There is much larger emphasis on talent, and one-on-one interviews with judges (one of whom is the aforementioned Ms. Pollard). My stake is that I am sort of a mentor to Haitian native, NAHOMIE MERILAN, quite a talented beauty, whom I first saw performing as an actress and model at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Los Angeles in 2008, which I've written about elsewhere. (PS, There is an Internet voting element to the website; I urge you to vote for her!) She speaks little English, but is fluent French and Creole - thus she is about the most authentic "Caribbean" in the Ms. Caribbean contest. The other contestants are largely American born, with a couple of exceptions. But Nahomie will have a translator at the contest, and thus add some international flavor to the proceedings. I believe there will be a little "after party" at Kassava Caribbean restaurant (really excellent) on 3rd & Sherbourne in West Los Angeles. The owner thereof, actor/writer/director Jean-Claude LaMarre will be a co-host of the event, and I'm sure is providing some of the underwriting of the event. More later when results are in.