En route to the Miss Universe competition, Miss Jamaica Universe, Shakira Martin detoured slightly to pay a visit in Miami. Martin recently attended a meet and greet at the Midtown Design Studios, directly before she boarded a late night flight to San Paolo Brazil to represent the Caribbean island in the 2011 Miss Universe Final Competition.
Over 100 professionals, including Florida State Senator Oscar Braynon II, gathered to celebrate Martin's recent crowning and wish her luck at the next pageant. The Miami event was sponsored by Red Stripe and was hosted by fellow Jamaicans Marlon Hill, Managing Partner of delancyhill P.A. and Suzan McDowell, President/CEO of Circle of One Marketing. Jamaican Counsel General Sandra Grant-Griffith was also in attendance.
Martin said her belief system played a key role in her winning the crown.
"I always knew I'd be crowned Miss Jamaica. I believe in positive thinking and believing things into manifestation. So, I started introducing myself to everyone as ‘Miss Jamaica Universe.’ Even though there were many amazing women in the competition, I was confident I would win. And I did.”
She is taking the same approach towards the Miss Universe competition.
"I have the same philosophy. I have the Miss Universe crown as my laptop screensaver because I know I will be the first Miss Jamaica to win the Miss Universe competition."
The event was also a fundraiser for the Sickle Cell Research Unit in Kingston, Jamaica. Since birth, Martin, 25, has suffered from Sickle Cell Anemia and has been hospitalized hundreds of times. In tribute to her survival, she has made raising awareness and finding a cure the platform of her reign, the first Miss Jamaica Universe to do so. She credits her mother, Andrea Hall, with teaching her how to remain positive, even in the face of seemingly impossible obstacles.
The Miss Universe Finals will air live from Brazil on Sept. 12th on NBC-6.
Photo: Staff Illustration of Shakira Martin