Tonight a queen demits her throne. A new queen reigns. As Miss Jamaica (World) 1986, Lisa Mahfood, passes on the scepter she leaves for us a model of courage, dignity, decorum and strength; and a new portrayal of; “Beauty with A Purpose.”
“Mona Lisa”. An apt tribute from her sponsor – Jamaica Termite Control – to the beauty with the radiant smile, large black eyes and delicate frame. But moreso because it is the paradox of sadness and joy in the Mona Lisa that makes it famous, heightens its beauty: a paradox such as that which touched Lisa’s year as Miss Jamaica (World). Lisa ends tonight a year of numerous engagements in which she’s been “ambassador par excellence” for Jamaica and Spartan Health Club through the many occasions on which she represented us, gaining high tributes to her beauty, poise and grace.
And how many of us didn’t “hold our breath” at the sparkling Miss World fashion show in February, as Lisa stepped out with Miss World 1986 and Miss USA Halle Berry? For her it’s been a great year, “I feel very good, very proud that everything that I was asked to do I did.” And “everything I’ve done, every one I’ve met, everywhere I’ve been…it’s been great.”
Going to China and London to represent Jamaica in Miss World was a great experience, especially striking was how 77 girls from different countries supported each other and became really good friends. When in March, Lisa attended Pirate’s Week celebrations in Grand Cayman she had a grand reunion with Miss Grand Cayman (Debbie Cridland) with whom she had become very close. Grand Cayman was a whirl of activities – visiting schools, being at Kiwanis and Rotary Club luncheons, fashion shows and sight seeing with tremendous response. Promoting Jamaica with the Jamaica Tourist Board made the highpoints of the year. Lisa says, “It was very hectic, I couldn’t believe the speed, the towns and cities they (JTB) covered, but it was very good.” First to Puerto Rico on a joint JTB/JNIP promotion in San Juan, then in February to Arizona for JTB promotions for Goldwaters – the largest chain of department stores in Arizona. In April, it was the sale blitz to St. Louis, Milwaukee, Chicago; then it was Hartford – Connecticut in June for the opening of the Sammy Davis Junior Golf Championship in Greater Hartford, where JTB had a booth; and then time for Jamaica Week – Celebrations 25, in New York, where she was a special guest.
Lisa modelled in fashion shows; participated in trade expositions and many radio interviews: showcasing our culture, our history, our potential as tourist resort and ideal investment location – resulting in benefits to Jamaica.
In July, she was sought out, by a Japanese film crew for a promotion on Caribbean countries as tourist destinations from Japan, and spent two days filming at Dunn’s River and Montego Bay. She’s done several local and overseas commercials.
At home, Lisa’s memories include meeting and talking to Mohammed Ali as special guest at a birthday party hosted for him at the Wyndham Hotel; spending a day in Ocho Rios with world famous Madame Carven as her guest; modelling in a fashion show at the Sandals Resort Caribbean where apart from the terrific response she had the time of her life in the grand finale, as dressed as pirate’ wenches with the other models, she dug into a treasure trove ‘pirating’ gifts for guests.
Of her year, Miss Jamaica (1986) says “I accepted winning, made the best of the year and everything I’ve been asked to do – from the biggest to the smallest – I have not turned down anyone.”
“Everything” from launching the UNICEF Greeting Cards and Girl Guide Cookie month, to the Shell Silver Plate Presentation in horse racing at Caymanas, where the grand prize was $106,000; judging beauty contests like mini Miss St. Cyprian for the tiny tots at St. Cyprian’s in St. Mary, to guest appearance at fashion shows and other functions for organizations which sought her presence – including being at a fund – raising dinner for the Christiana Potato Growers; visiting the Bustamante Children’s Hospital and assistance to numerous fairs and school functions – wherever – Kingston, Montego Bay, Mandeville or May Pen; and help for charities – The Jamaica Korean Society, the Cancer Society, the Bishop Gipson Home. She found time for these and more. Additionally, Lisa addressed organisations like the Soroptomist Club in Linstead, and even found time to be special guest at theatre productions.
Treasured moments include enthusiastic show of appreciation from Jamaicans, including the standing ovation at the woman’s Club; the early warmth of people especially in Mandeville and Montego Bay, as she began her reign.
Regrets - Lisa has none. Radiating her grace and femininity (someone said she is only 5’5” but has a personality that bubbles much higher) Lisa did admit though that she felt a little bit hurt in the beginning, where it touched her patriotism and loyalty to her country.
Understandable, from the winsome young woman who in the face of hostility blew a kiss and received the warmest smiles, who treasures letters of love and encouragement from people many of whom she didn’t even know; who humbly expresses appreciation of the phone call from Mr. Michael Manley who took time to call and hand delivered letter, early, the very morning after.
Lisa thanks every one who supported her, especially from the beginning; her mother for her support; her sponsors, the people who strengthened her right from the start when nobody had to; they, who helped to make the year great.
And now to the Miss Jamaica who symbolized courage with beauty, who was tested for dignity and calm; who grew stronger, who displayed loyal to public duty at home and abroad, whose only hope was that as Jamaicans came to know her they would love her, we say, at the end:
Thank you Lisa: “If Jamaicans love beauty, they admire courage more.”
To our new queen “Miss Jamaica 25” – our wishes for a wonderful year.
Source: 1987 Miss Jamaica World Souvenir Magazine