The power of dreams is amazing.
When I was younger, I wondered what it would be like to be someone whose life was interesting enough to be put in a magazine for other people to read.
When I was 16 I didn’t think I would have an interesting life. I had many doubts about what my future would look like. Turns out I didn’t have to worry because God has been good to me over the years. As I write this, I feel blessed beyond compare.
My message to you as my reader is that I hope you feel the same in your life. Even if you don’t feel it right now, your blessings are coming. Mine took over 10 years to come true. So I know what it feels like to wait; to feel like the day will never come. But I kept dreaming of a better life and trusted that things would improve, and not forgetting that I worked my butt off! And it did come true. So have faith, trust the process 🙂
The article below was published in the What’s Hot Cayman magazine for November 2017. I had a great time doing this photoshoot and have to give a big shoutout to What’s Hot and Christina Moxam for organizing and choosing me as their subject, and to Cortez Vernon for his amazing photography skills.
This was by far one of the best photo shoots I’ve been on. We didn’t have much time to prepare but Christina pulled it off. She had outfits organized, locations decided and even special blotting paper to prevent me from sweating off my makeup in the heat on set. And Cortez being the experienced photographer he is, was able to find my angles in a minute, taking amazing, good quality photos in a short amount of time. I had so much fun with them. We shot mostly outdoors but then we went indoors for the photos that would be used inside of the magazine and during that time things got super fun. The music turned up, the laughter increased and I felt so at ease.
(For those who don’t know, if you’re not at ease when you take a photo, it shows! So it’s an important for me to say that)
Anyhoo! I thought I’d re-share the article but this time providing my experience during the process. Now that I’ve shared my experience, you can check out the article below. The photos used here are from the magazine. You can view the full magazine on their website at http://www.whatshot.ky/
What’s Hot: How did it feel to win Miss Cayman?
Anika Conolly: It was a surreal experience. I have dreamed about this moment since I was 13 years old. I didn’t think I had what it took but then I realized I didn’t want my three younger sisters to ever think that they didn’t have what it takes to reach their dreams.
WH: What has been your favorite experience so far since you won?
AC: I have many favorite memories that I cherish: Visiting my mom’s office where her team had a celebration party for me; reading at Shining Stars preschool; singing at the swearing in of our new government; and laughing at jokes with my new extended family at Renaissance Salon and Spa, my official sponsor.
WH: What do you think makes a person beautiful?
AC: To me, beauty comes from the inside. It is in the way you treat people, with kindness, respect, compassion and having a willingness to help others.
WH: What message would you like to give young girls for whom you are now a role model?
AC: Be your authentic self. Society can be harsh on us, leading us to believe that we must be someone else. I tried to live up to that expectation before and it resulted in a lot of mental and physical stress, until one day I realized that I’m pretty cool too. I just needed to believe it. So, girls, believe in yourself and your abilities. No matter what people
tell you, you are enough.
WH: Do you have a favorite local or international designer?
AC: Locally, I adore the fashions of Kenzie Rose and Olivia B because they are chic, trendy yet elegant in their designs. I actually had the privilege of wearing one of Kenzie’s gowns for the What’s Hot photoshoot. Internationally, I am a fan of Louise & Eleanor’s clutches which were used for the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation Gala Fashion Show, and Kate Hudson’s active wear. I also follow a lot of designers like Michael Costello, Walter Mendez, Tom Ford and Yumi Katsura Couture.
WH: Are you nervous or excited about the upcoming Miss Universe pageant?
AC: I’m excited! This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a role model and ambassador for my country while rocking a gorgeous pair of heels and a super stylish outift! I’m looking forward to meeting the other girls and learning about their culture; and not to mention the fact that Miss Universe will be in Las Vegas, Nevada, a place I’ve never been. I’m always keen to travel to new and different places.
WH: What are your plans for the remainder of your reign?
AC: After my reign I have many plans, but I think my main focus will be on keeping the Youth Rebelution initiative alive. I created this initiative to give at-risk youth in the Cayman Islands the opportunity to rebel against the low expectations placed on them by giving them access to resources that will lead them on the path to success. I started with fitness, nutrition and business etiquette and I’d like to expand the program to include conflict management, branding and developing a summer program for 2018.