The View
from Here:
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline, and when she's not organizing the St. Barthélemy film festival, or supervising the local volleyball league, or writing for various magazines, she turns her all-seeing eye upon local happenings.
    September '02
    There they were. Six lovely young ladies competing to become Miss St. Barthelemy circa 2002. The event took place on August 24 at the town fair celebrating good old St Barth, the patron saint of the island. Of course the islanders had already celebrated pretty hard with festivals in Flamands and Lorient, not to mention Gustavia Day, as well as Pitea Day, the Swedish friendship tribute, all earlier in the month. And the next day, August 25, would be the crowning event of the summer, the St Louis festival in the little fishing village of Corossol, where many of the men have Louis as one of their names and the partying lasts almost 24 hours (the drinking begins early in the morning with a glass of rum and coconut water, or some such local concoction). And of course BouBou's third annual world music festival ran for about three weeks with tennis star Yannick Noah once more a main attraction (along with a roster of interesting characters including local twins Henri and Leon Ledee and their group Alerte 2B) But on the evening of the Miss St Barth competition all eyes were on the stage on the main dock in Gustavia as six leggy competitors swished across the stage, much to the delight of the crowd which included the crew of a French naval vessel that had pulled up to the dock for the festivities, and the sailors having as much fun as the natives.
miss st barths    The idea of a Miss St Barth contest seems like fun, and the girls have to be at least half St Barth - with at least one parent born on the island. That limits the competition somewhat but six qualifiers were ready for action. I had to wonder what somebody was thinking when I saw the girls. They were made-up and coiffed as if it were Mardi Gras. One of them had a large aqua-blue mask painted on her face, giving her the look of a startled actress that had escaped from the Chinese Opera. Another had a hairstyle that was enormous and topped with horns, very much like an antelope, which I suppose were added to accent her animal skin dress that was extremely short and gave her the look of a punkster rather than a beauty queen. But the winner, Miss Britalia Magras, had real style and class and was a winner from the moment she stepped onto the stage in the first round bathing suit competition. And her black gown (the dresses came from the haute-couture boutique of Stephane and Bernard) was quite stylish giving her the advantage of elegance to go along with her swaggering self-assurance, and a smile big enough to wrap right around the jury (seated in folding chairs in front of the stage).
    Somehow or other the commander of the naval ship had been roped into being the president of the jury and he was a charmimg emcee as he announced the winners. I'm not sure what Brtialia's functions are exactly as the new Miss St Barth but with her cafe au lait complextion and flashing eyes she's sure to represent the island just fine, a lovely example of the melting pot of Caribbean peoples. If they hold this event again, which I'm sure they will, I hope the next time that the style patrol opts for a little more simplicity, a good dose of which would be good for the island in general if you ask me.
    More to come,
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
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