Queen Standards higher than for MPS?

A scantily clad photo of one of the contestants was all it took to thrust the Carnival Queen pageant into the midst of a media frenzy. Since then the story has taken on a life of its own, even becoming a hot topic on at least one radio station here.
The controversy was stirred up by former carnival queen Johanna Salton. Salton found issue with what she called “provocative” photos of the contestant and said for that reason, she didn’t think the young woman should have auditioned for the pageant in the first place. Johanna Salton’s perspective was that there was a thin line between ‘model’ and ‘carnival queen’ that should not be crossed under any circumstance.
“When you enter a beauty pageant there is always a chance you will win,” Johanna said on Radio Caribbean International. “If you know you are going to be representing your country you must have a clean image. There’s nothing wrong with provocative photos but representing a country you have to give them a wholesome image, because that’s what beauty pageants are all about.
You are a role model to other people, young girls,” she continued. “You need to set an example, set a standard. She should not have even auditioned for the Carnival Queen show.”
The former carnival queen added:  “The examples they set are very important. Modeling is a job. If you have to pose in nude ways it’s a job—that’s the description of the job and you have to do whatever the client wants. With a beauty queen it’ s totally different. It is a job yes, but it’s more like you’re an ambassador. This does not augur well for us. It does not augur well for St Lucia if she takes part in pageants elsewhere with that hanging over her head. Wherever she goes she is the face of St Lucia.”
Salton won the carnival queen pageant in 1990 and her comments were met with quite the opposite reaction than she very likely expected. Numerous people have come forward in support of the young contestant.
“That’s why we’re so progressive; we’re stuck in reverse. All our opinions come from yesterday,” STAR Publisher Rick Wayne commented. “Here we go again with the local morality police expecting from carnival queen contestants standards way more demanding than we require of our prime ministers or election candidates.”
“We invite to star in our Jazz festivals foreign tax dodgers, drug abusers and singers who email pictures of their genitals all over the world, no problem. But a young woman’s Facebook pictures are judged so disgusting as to bar her from competing in a carnival queen show. It’s okay for Rihanna and Madonna but not for the local girl. We recently had in the previous government an unmarried pregnant senator. No problem. No problem when we had a speaker accused of raping a young boy. No questions asked to paraphrase Pope Paul: “There’s nothing wrong with nude pictures. It’s your thoughts that are disgusting, not the nude pictures. Stop the hypocrisy!”
The Carnival Queen pageant is racy enough as it is. Two of the major show segments involve the ladies parading onstage in swimwear and carnival costumes, which are hardly conservative looks. As with almost every other pageant, if you don’t have a gorgeous body or a show-stopping face, you likely won’t find yourself on the carnival queen stage. If you’re average looking, you better have an exceptional talent and a whole lot of support!
The whole issue begs the question of whether contestants are fully informed of the Carnival Committee’s rules and expectations once they’re selected for the pageant. Are pageant guidelines set in stone, or is it a case of selectivity and circumstance when it comes to stipulations that need to be adhered to? We can all remember some years ago when a popular carnival queen winner got pregnant shortly after she won, yet she was not stripped of her title. In terms of modeling former carnival queen Cathy Daniel won the Campari Poster Girl Search in 2009, one year after securing the carnival queen title. Modeling and beauty pageants certainly are not worlds apart as Salton suggested, but where does the Carnival Queen Committee stand on issues that seem to be filled with grey areas, at least from the public standpoint?
“How can you break someone’s spirit like that? She’s a model; she’s not doing it just because,” Carnival enthusiast Juanita Sanchez contributed. “A lot of these things are left to be interpretation. Provocative photos are used in magazines all the time. Modeling is an act. Your interpretation says a lot about you. If it’s so provocative, why is it appropriate for the media and for everyone’s eyes?                 “It seems to be there is an agenda to discredit this young lady. So many St Lucian girls are aspiring models,” the young woman said. “Where would they find a girl who is not a model to take part in that competition? Why not highlight the positive? The young lady is a hard worker  by nature. She started her own business, has her own modeling agency and now she is not a role model because she has a photo like that? She helps these girls boost their self-esteem; she is a role model.”
The Carnival Queen Committee did not wish to comment but sources close to the situation said the issue was much ado about nothing.  From all accounts the young lady has been an excellent contestant so far, acting above board. Said our source: “It seems people are looking for a scandal at the expense of this beautiful young lady!”

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