This year’s Miss Gibraltar pageant has seen a shake-up with new producers at the helm and the swimwear routine axed from the show.
Eight contestants will be vying for the crown tonight at a new venue, the Special Olympics Sports Hall at St Christopher’s Alley.
The show will be produced and staged by Yalta Pons and Darion Figueredo from YDS, and in a return to the norm the pageant will be broadcast live on GBC at 9pm tonight.
Last year the television station produced a documentary that was broadcast after the pageant due to the lack of contestants.
The Miss Gibraltar 2018 pageant saw three contestants, there was also no swimwear routine and no first and second princesses were crowned.
The budget was cut to £18,000 and it was ultimately Star Farrugia who scooped the Miss Gibraltar 2018 crown.
This year the Miss Gibraltar pageant will be a full-scale event with a budget of £50,000 and two international acts expected to perform on stage.
However, last year’s low turnout brought the pageant into the spotlight and drew public speculation on whether the golden era of pageants was well and truly over.
“The debate is still out there on whether the era of pageants is over,” said producers Yalta Pons and Darion Figueredo.
“In fact there are probably more locally produced pageants today than ever before.”
“It’s a difficult question to answer, but if we try to make the competition more current and in line with modern female ideology of empowerment, individuality and inclusiveness then perhaps it could become more attractive for young women to use this as a platform for their own development and ambitions.”
Earlier this year the recruitment process for Miss Gibraltar was changed in a bid to entice women to sign up to the pageant.
Ms Pons and Mr Figueredo admit they had some “doubts” on whether these changes would work.
“It was a process of ‘thinking outside of the box’ and listening to the demographic and their fears, concerns and expectations,” the producers said.
They added: “We are very grateful to the eight brave young women who have joined and made the show possible and keep the tradition alive.”
The changes to this year’s pageant including keeping the recruitment process anonymous until after the deadline passed.
“We decided not to include the swimwear, not to reveal names and keep it anonymous, we kept to the deadlines with no extensions and we met with all those interested before they signed up,” they said.
“We have afforded support and encouraged them to be themselves. We are very lucky to have this group of special women.”
The Special Olympics Sports Hall will mark its public debut at the Miss Gibraltar pageant.
Facilities for this year’s pageant were limited due to the upcoming Island Games, and the producers are grateful to have the opportunity to inaugurate the new facility.
“We have been working closely with all departments, agencies and contractors over the past few months to get it ready on time. Many sleepless nights.”
They added: “To be honest our main issue has been the venue, date and logistics but the pageantry and entertainment production has gone as planned.”
“We have been in event production for many years and we have an experienced and professional team with us. We would like to thank the hardworking team at GCS and Ministry for Culture especially Seamus Byrne, Dylan Ferrar and Nadia Gomez who have been fully supportive throughout this project.”
Now Ms Pons and Mr Figueredo are looking forward to giving Gibraltar an exciting show tonight.
“We always try to be as creative and original in everything that we do and Miss Gibraltar 2019 will be no different,” they said.
“It will be a fast paced, varied and entertaining production with the contestants being the main focus. We have some great original collaborations and of course out two international acts Soraya and Rafa Blas who will both put on a great show.”
As for the contestants tonight will finally be the time to show off their work over the past few months.
“The contestants have been fantastic,” Ms Pons and Mr Figueredo said.
“They are a hardworking, talented and open minded group who have clicked instantly with each other and the team. They have welcomed the changes with open arms and really engaged.”
“Their schedules have been hectic but have managed very well to combine routine rehearsals with ourselves and Bianca Zammitt, wardrobe fittings, hair and make trials with Deepak Ramchandani and Karina Walker from Fringe Benefits and the many social, PR events and photo shoots with Stephen Perera and Gerry Fagan.”
Pics by Johnny Bugeja