It was obvious from the second I met April Jackson in the parking lot at Market Place, St. Andrew, why she won the coveted Ms. Jamaica Universe title two Saturdays ago at the National Indoor Sports Centre. She sported a warm smile and a jubilant vibe, and her eloquence speaks volume against persons who brand beauty pageant entrants as ‘pretty dunce.’
She arrived at the scheduled interview with members of her family, including her ever-supportive father who stormed the stage when she was announced the winner. In the judges mind April stood out most among the twenty-five (25) contestants. Her beauty is striking and her articulation flawless.
However, April is no stranger to the limelight as she was the winner of the Ms. Jamaica UK Pageant 2006. Nevertheless, as we sat to have a drink she was keen to point out that the two pageants are not the same. They both give her the opportunity to represent Jamaica, however, one more internationally than the other.
Like any living human, April was thrilled at winning the competition and even shared kind words with those who thought she was not the correct option.
“I totally appreciate that a lot of persons considered Doneika Plowright as their favourite. She is a nice person and I knew of this from the one month we spent together preparing for this competition. I am more than willing to gain the respect of those who did not consider me their winner.” She then went on to justify the judges’ decision: “The judges have seen us on a more intimate level than the audience therefore they are more equipped to make the final decision,” she told OutAroad.com.
April also walked away with the title most aware and described her moment of glory.
“I am not a person who cries, but I was shocked and tears ran when I was announced the winner. It felt strange (crying). My dad was there in the audience one minute and the next he was onstage picking me up. I was on a high; It is an indescribable feeling,” a beaming April said as she reminisces on the moment.
Like all her predecessors, April is hoping to take home the Ms. Universe title when she goes off to represent Jamaica in Vietnam for the Ms. Universe Beauty Pageant on July 13.
“This competition takes me on an international level where I can do more. Jamaica has never won Ms. Universe and I am hoping that this year will be our time. I am going to Vietnam on a positive note,” she said in a more serious tone. This was immediately broken though by a chuckling April declaring that she would like a road to be named after her if she was to bring home the crown.
Another thing that pulls one closer to April is her positive stance towards change. She talks about the competition and all the glory that comes with winning it, but she was also steadfast about all of the work it involves.
“I am probably the most proactive person you will ever meet. As a part of my reign, I plan to continue focusing on early childhood education in foster homes. Education for children in homes needs to be on par with those in the general education system. I also want to focus on counseling, as there are many children out there who need to be ‘healed’. I consider these goals as ones that are definitely achievable," she told OutAroad.com.
While still tired after the competition, with many appearances and congratulations still pouring in one would probably start to fatigue, but for April it is just a part of being crowned Ms. Jamaica Universe.
“There are two types of stress ‘good stress’ and ‘bad stress’. After I won I was overwhelmed by ‘good stress’. I would have been so disappointed if I came off this high and then had an anticlimax. I am loving it; it makes me feel like I serve a purpose,” she outlined, before adding some tips.
“Time management is crucial and you need to be prepared for changes. It is important to weigh up the priorities. You need to want it enough. Focus is needed to persevere and once you emerge the winner all the stress disappears.”
April, who turned 19 a week before the grand coronation, is confident she can reign supreme and achieve the goals she have set for herself. According to her, she have a one-year off from school and this gives her flexibility in terms of time. April is looking to go back to university where she intends to study financial and corporate law and economics.
“I want to do economics because I hope to pursue a career in investment banking. I also have been thinking about one day becoming a minister one day. Finally, and most importantly, I want to be the C.E.O. of Swift Cash Money Transfer, my dad’s business,” reasoned the vivid and optimistic Ms. Jamaica Universe.
“Anything you do on this grand scheme where people are watching you is important. Networking is a key factor, therefore it is always important to make a good first impression.”
April describes herself as a proud Jamaican who is very down to earth.
“I am a people’s person. I consider myself a very intelligent person who can communicate with anyone. I may not like you as a person, but I respect you for being yourself. I always stay true to myself. My life’s motto is that ‘everything happens for a reason’.”
April born in April, named April and won in April