Last month, Liberians in St. Paul organized the first beauty pageant of its kind in the Liberian community—the Mrs. Liberia International Pageant. Though primarily a Liberian Community event the occasion was graced by both community members and friends and well wishers of Liberia.
The Liberian beauty queens vying for the title that night were Sando Sherman-Adetunji of Baltimore, Maryland; Grace Baysah-Crawford of Fridley, Minnesota; Joyce Bhunah-Carl of Coon Rapids, Minnesota and Fatimah Johnson-Garwo of Madison, Wisconsin.
Judging was based on the following categories: African traditional dress, sportswear, talents and evening wear. The competitors were also required to be married women. In each of the categories, the women were elegantly dressed showcasing not only their elegance, but also a wide array of beautifully designed dresses.
For the talent show Bhunah-Carl stole the show with her soliloquy "Tears of a Woman". The audience was spellbound by her eloquence and passion as she presented her very compelling monologue.
Sherman-Adetunji came in third runner up; Baysah-Crawford was second runner-up; first runner-up went to Johnson-Garwo. Bhunah-Carl, mother of two and wife of Sayee Carl, was declared as the 1st ever Mrs. Liberia Minnesota. Mrs. Minnesota International (2005), Jennifer Sanneman, graciously crowned the winner with Decontee Kofa, the reigning Miss Liberia Minnesota watching on.
The judges were: Jennifer Graves, C. H. Robinson; Ann Weyandt, President of Anoka Technical College; Will Ofori, businessman and chair of Channel Afrique; Abimbola Akinnola Ojebiyi, proprietress of Unique Boutique and Tailoring.
The pageant was hosted by the Ajenia Enterprises, a non-profit organization in Minneapolis, whose goal is to assist in the redevelopment of Liberia, by providing educational, health and social opportunities to improve the lives of Liberian children.