Miss Guyana Universe 2012, Ruqayyah Boyer blossomed at the Miss Universe Pageant in Las Vegas now she’s rocking runways in New York and chatting with celebrities on BET’s 106 & Park. Though super busy, she still found time to chitchat with Maglyfe.
Who is Ruqayyah? This is Ruqayyah …
“I think it’s always a good thing when someone asks that question. Gives you a chance to look within and measure your journey thus far. I am first and foremost someone who believes in integrity, respect and love. I really hope after all my endeavours I depart this world leaving behind a legacy that can be emulated by generations to come. I’m still figuring it out but rest assured I’m no quitter. I have been told that I have a weird sense of humour, a chatterbox at times, a charmer. I pray when it rains J but I think my quirkiness is what defines me. I’m not afraid to be myself which sometimes can get me into trouble but that’s just life for me and Like Bob Marley said – You should live the life you love and love the life you live – and I think I strive to do just that.”
Beauty Ambassador to Global Ambassador
Modelling might be her sole focus now but actually Ruqayyah uses this talent and its opportunities as a stepping stone for her career as a Global Ambassador. Her desire to market her talents in the performing arts has led her down this path. Very early one she figured pageantry would be a great way to market her skills and talents whilst building her personal portfolio and networking. For her pageantry is – “…a fun job to be involved in with up’s and down’s like any other job but at the end it’s a thorough experience that builds you as an individual.”
Whilst Ruqayyah is paving the way for her career as a Global Ambassador, she is already a Beauty Ambassador for Guyana and a role model. She is now in a position to inspire and help young girls to develop their full potential in life. When asked who inspires her, she noted that her list is endless but that she draws inspiration from the strangest things, people and places. Sometimes it’s a dog barking, a painting, Four Seasons blasting from her computer or a bunch of old men playing cards. Her inspiration is never limited to who, what or when she just allows natural situations to motivate her.
When asked what advice she would give to young people as a Beauty Ambassador, she said “If you have a dream, plan, pursue it and work hard to achieve it. Always strive to do good, be yourself, believe you have what it takes to achieve whatever it is you wish to achieve because anything is possible in life. Live in love & remember that education is key, so learn as much as you can along the way.”
Ruqayyah Relives Miss Universe 2012
On winning the local leg of the pageant …
All I remember was a lot of people cheering and screaming, Miss Guyana 2011 (Kara Lord) saying ‘Proud of you darling’, Leila Lopes saying ‘congrats I knew you would win’ and then Usher’s serene voice serenading me as I took my first walk as queen. I thought I was dreaming. I still think I’m dreaming!
On preparation for the Miss Universe Pageant …
Two words YouTube! I learned a lot from looking at countless videos of not only Miss Universe but all the big 4 pageants. I did intense research ranging from Runway Video, Dining Etiquette, Fashion Trends you name it, I Googled it! J. Apart from the internet I had online mentoring from Natasha Blu-Martindale and Donn Thompson. Patricia Coates, Michelle Cole , Dr. Kurt Stephenson, Pamela Dillon, the National Communications Network, The Charles’ Family, Joan’s Salon, Renee Chester-Thompson, John Greene, DreamWorks Photo Studio, Kerry Woolford, Moutoori Boutique, Shimuel Jones, Milady’s Saloon, My Upscale Family, Linden town and many others helped me to prepare mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually for my journey. I went to gym and had my trainers work with me. I also conducted television interviews which prepared me for interviews overseas. Not forgetting the sessions I had with previous Miss Guyana’s such as Kara Lord and Tamika Henry, and also the reigning Miss United Nations Soyini Fraser, their insights helped me significantly. Many contributed to my preparation process and I am forever grateful. Overall I think I was fortunate to have some time to prepare before the pageant as I believed that preparation is one of the key determinants for the overall performance of any representative being sent to Miss Universe.
Mixing the Highs with the Lows …
First off I was very grateful that I was fully sponsored from day one by Spice Model Agency and entrepreneurs such as Mr. Kris Sammy and franchise holder Mr Odinga Lumumba. Without their investments my journey further wouldn’t have been possible. I was able to travel in style from Guyana to Las Vegas, adequately equipped to compete in the world’s most prestigious pageant. I believe my only challenge throughout my entire journey from the moment I was crowned would have to be attacks about my skin colour, some thought based on what they perceived to be the international criteria of Miss Universe that I wasn’t suited for the titled. Personally these things wouldn’t bother me but I was a bit worried initially about how such banter would reflect on the country I was representing. However at the same time I was empowered by such and it helped me to focus more on what I needed to do. Hopefully I was able to put a dent in their way of thinking.
A Day in the Life of a Pageant Contestant …
It’s a lot of work, always on your feet – interviews, photo-shoots, networking, and touring new and exciting places. A lot of fun but also a lot of work! Being a ‘Miss’ is a job! Yes there are moments of the glitz and glam but work first and fun later.
My favourite part of the pageant …
Evening Gown Segment!!! I always enjoy being elegantly dressed walking through music on stage. Maybe I looked at too much Cinderella and Anastasia when I was young but the feeling is that of a princess about to become a queen – Serene!
My fall and how it lifted me …
Bewilderment and utter disbelief were the initial reactions in my mind. Fortunately for me that was followed by a series of laughter that just wouldn’t stop. The laughing took me through my swim wear competition where I was secretly hoping not to land on the floor again. Strangely enough though falling on stage turned out to be a good fortune of mine. My popularity soared and every media outlet wanted to know who Miss Guyana was. It was great publicity for my country and I was happy to oblige. I gained a really huge and loyal following and they were very kind to show up at the finals and cheer GUYANA and wave our country’s Flag. It was quite an endearing experience and I wasn’t upset about falling after the response turned out to be very positive. I’ve now made history with the likes of previous finalists in Miss Universe. I really don’t see how that’s a bad thing (giggles).
My Supporters …
Like any other country there are those who will support and there are those who won’t, I had my share of both. My main support came from my hometown Linden, family, and close friends. Their support and the belief I had in myself kept me going. I wanted to make a difference and I went out and did what I had to do and I will continue to follow the positive road.
Motivation & Friendships
One feat is that I was told by our trainer, Ms. Lucierra Selena that apart from Miss Philippines and Miss Japan I had the best Cat Walk out of the 89 contestants. That was an honour and I was very delighted to be told such. I also made some great friendships which I hope will last a lifetime with Miss India, Miss Finland, Miss Malaysia, Miss Kosovo, Miss Venezuela, Miss Spain, Miss Curacao, Miss Trinidad, Miss Costa Rica, Miss Guatemala and a lot of the other girls so I have a list of countries to visit soon .
There’s Nothing You Can’t Do, In New York!
Ruqayyah is truly bent on using modelling as a catalyst for her ultimate career in life. Many opportunities have been afforded to her and she’s using them all to propel herself. She recently participated in the Plitz New York City Fashion Weekend where she was given the chance to showcase designs from around the world including – Guadeloupe, Dominican Republic, China, Europe and around the United States. She opened for the bridal segment showcase of the featured designer, Yohanna Gursey of Dominican Republic and was selected as the Show Stopper and finale model for the Shalottlilly collection by Adrian Amiro of Round Rock, Texas who featured dresses by Guyanese designer, Michelle Cole.
She was very fortunate to be invited to be on B.E.T’s 106 & Park for an exclusive but when she got there she was also asked to be a part of their virtual audience for one of the episodes they were pre-recording featuring actress Gabrielle Union as the main guest. Ruqayyah was offered the chance to chat with her about her inspirations and with singer, Bow Wow. She also visited CBS Studios and got to meet television personality Anderson Cooper. She’s been engaged in fun activities like visiting the Empire State Building, ice-skating at Rockefeller Centre and even meeting celebrities like Calvin Harris. Also, soon to come for Ruqayyah is her feature in the New York Times that will highlight her platform – Domestic Violence.
On her return home she is fixed on fulfilling her duties as Miss Guyana Universe.