Sandra Wallace recaps memorable pageant experience

BASSETERRE; St. Kitts: Before the judges and an audience can enjoy the smiling faces, the dazzling gowns, the creative talents and amazing beauties in pageantry, there are many tears, triumphs and breakthroughs that occurs that at times only a chaperone is privy to.

Sandra Wallace is a former successful chaperone now residing in the United States and is the owner of Sandra’s Shop & Ship-A business born out of her love for styling and fashion.

Sandra Wallace is a former successful chaperone now residing in the United States and is the owner of Sandra’s Shop & Ship-A business born out of her love for styling and fashion.

She is known as one of the top chaperones in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, who still remains active in the field by lending her expertise where she can or by shopping for striking outfits for contestants.

Recently she told us about her memorable pageant experience and shared advice for pageant hopefuls and other chaperones in this interview.

SKN Times: How long have you been involved in the pageant world?

Sandra Wallace: Since 1987

SKNT: How did you get started in pageantry and what did you love?

Sandra Wallace: In 1987, I was approached by the mother of Tessa Manners to assist her in the Miss Westbourne United Pageant. I was very surprised but decided to take on the challenge as I loved styling. I enjoyed every minute of the experience. She won which made me very happy as it was my first attempt. I loved many aspects like selection of outfits, the training sessions and most importantly admiring the growth of the contestant.

Genieve Hanley, a former National Carnival Queen who was chaperoned by Sandra Wallace , wearing her trendsetting Evening wear which at that time was considered too risque. The style of gown went on to become commonplace I pageants around the region

SKNT: Who are some of your most memorable clients and what was the experience like being their chaperone?* 

SW: The experiences with all of my contestants were memorable or special.  I was blessed to produce winners, runners-up or those who considered a pageant as a stepping-stone for greatness. Memorable also means unusual and I did have several of those but I wish to highlight three interesting situations. I chaperoned Violet Williams who entered the National Carnival Queen Pageant on two occasions. This was uncommon in pageants. I assisted her on her second attempt and she placed first runner-up. What I still remember with Genieve Hanley, a former National Carnival Queen, is that I made a bold move and decided against the traditional type gown worn during that era. I had confidence that she would set the stage on fire with a red, sexy, fitted gown featuring a very high split and she did just that. Some felt it was too risqué but since that year, high splits became a trend. I felt like a trendsetter. With Corelle Ferlance, an out of the ordinary situation developed.  She was adjudged first runner up in the National Carnival Queen Pageant then a few months later she was promoted to Queen after the winner resigned. These situations added excitement and intrigue to my pageant experience.

SKNT: What advice do you have for National Carnival Queen hopefuls? 

SW: Be sure you are ready for numerous rehearsals, long hours, lots of fun, some obstacles and even sacrifices as you journey towards the crown.

SKNT: What about advice for fellow chaperones?

SW: Be prepared to work long and hard for your contestant. Be mindful that a chaperone has many roles to play – coach, manager, parent, friend, etc. Whether your contestant wins or not, it’s a great experience. Also, there will be frustrating moments at times but never allow them to get the better of you, rather, look at the bigger picture which is to assist the contestant to put out her best.

SKNT: What was the key to your success in pageantry?

SW: I believe it had to do with beginning the planning process early, making sure the contestant is always in the right frame of mind to work hard and putting together a good team to work with the contestant.

SKNT: What is your favorite pageant and why?

SW: The National Carnival Queen Pageant as it was the premier competition and it was always an honour to be asked to chaperone a contestant in this prestigious pageant.

“Becker” wins Miss Big and Beautiful. The show was arguably the largest Pageant Show ever in St.Kitts-Nevis

SKNT: And your most memorable pageant?

SW: I have assisted many contestants in various types of pageants and I am proud of all of their performances but what stands out still is the massive crowd that witnessed my contestant Becker win Miss Big and Beautiful. A pageant for plus size beauties.  It was the largest crowd ever at a pageant in the Federation. She was the crowd favorite and won every judged segment including Swimsuit.

Check out for more on Sandra’s Shop and Ship

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