Model and law student Shanel Marie Ifill, 20, will represent Barbados in Miss Universe 2019. She is the 17th woman to represent the country in the international beauty pageant run by the Miss Universe Organization, which is currently owned by the WME/IMG talent agency.
Ifill was born and raised in Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados. The city is home to Barbados Garrison, Barbados Catamaran Snorkeling Cruise, Carlisle Bay, National Heroes Square, Nidhe Israel Synagogue, Queen’s Park and St. Michael’s Cathedral.
On September 7, 2019, Ifill was crowned Miss Universe Barbados 2019 at the Barbados Hilton Resort in Needhams Points, St. Michael. Winning her first ever beauty pageant, she bested eight other candidates and became the second candidate from Bridgetown to win the title following Miss Universe Barbados 2017 Lesley Chapman.
Chapman was succeeded by Miss Universe Barbados 2018 Meghan Theobalds of Christ Church. The latter crowned Ifill as her successor during the Miss Universe Barbados 2019 coronation night.
Runner-up to Ifill as Miss Universe Barbados 2019 was Beviny Payne. Hillary Williams was second runner-up.
Currently, Ifill is studying at the University of the West Indies in Cave Hill, Barbados where she is pursuing her law degree. At the same time, she is doing an internship at a law firm and working as a professional model.
“I had scoliosis surgery at the age of 14 and I’ve always had issues with body positivity and seeing myself as a beautiful and confident person,” Ifill told Find Yello prior to her coronation as Miss Universe Barbados 2019. “I would use my platform to enable other people, especially anyone who has scoliosis, to see that you can be bent but you’re not broken.”
“Bullying is a big part of why I entered this pageant, as well,” Ifill continued. “I was bullied when I was younger because of scoliosis so I want people to see that it’s okay. The world can bend you but it can’t break you.”
If Ifill wins Miss Universe 2019, she will be the first ever titleholder of the beauty pageant from her country. Barbados has been competing in Miss Universe since 1976 and the country has yet to place in the international beauty pageant.
The reigning Miss Universe 2018 is Catriona Gray, 25, of the Philippines. She is the fourth Miss Universe from her country and the 67th woman to hold the title.
Meanwhile, here is a clip featuring Ifill: