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Communications Officer & Filmmaker, Jhanielle Powell Crowned Miss Kingston & St. Andrew 2023

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23-Year-Old Communications Officer and Filmmaker Jhanielle Powell was crowned the 2023 Miss Kingston and St. Andrew Festival Queen on Saturday, June 17 at the Alfred Sangster Auditorium at the University of Technology, Jamaica.

Miss Kingston and St Andrew Festival Queen Jhanielle Powell (centre) share lens with first runner-up Erieka Dixon and second runner-up Jada Browne at the 2023 staging of the competition held on Saturday, June 17 at the Alfred Sangster Auditorium at the University of Technology, Jamaica.

“I entered the Miss Kingston and St. Andrew Festival Queen competition because of my deep-rooted patriotism. I wanted to be a representative of what it means to be a Jamaican woman. I wanted to be a role model for young women and young girls all across the nation. I spent some of my formative years in the Bahamas and I was so immersed in that culture that when I moved back to Jamaica, I realized that there was a disconnect between me and my homeland.  I, therefore, saw this competition as an opportunity to represent all of that hard work”, she shared

Miss Kingston and St Andrew Festival Queen 2023, Jhanielle Powell, gracefully waves as she smiles with her audience at the 2023 staging of the competition held on Saturday, June 17 at the Alfred Sangster Auditorium at the University of Technology, Jamaica.

As Miss Kingston and St. Andrew Festival Queen Powell plans to engage youth by teaching them the fundamentals of film production. She shared that her intention is to revolutionize the way young people approach to culture because  “there is so much to appreciate about who we are, and even much more to appreciate about where we are coming from”.

I want to focus on our creative and performing arts. We have so much to offer because we’re trendsetters in every single aspect of culture. “I want to tap into the creative side of young people and give them the opportunity to turn that into something that they can live off of so that it can be their career and it can be their joy as they can contribute to our industry just the same. So it’s like a domino effect”, Powell shared.

“My journey as a filmmaker began when I was 7 years old. My father helped me to save up and buy my first camera. He gave me lunch money and told me to take out some to purchase the camera. When I got the camera, I started vlogging and creating short films. In high school, whenever I got the opportunity to do a film with my camcorder, I seized it with everything in me and I taught myself how to edit on Windows Movie Maker. And from that early stage, I started editing and creating, and making films,” Powell shared.

Powell further explained that she decided to pursue her higher education at the Northern Caribbean University where she completed a bachelor’s degree in Media and Communications with an emphasis in TV production. Her passion for film production strengthened when she pursued a course in screen and script writing and was able to tap into her creative side and set the foundation for all of the films that I would do in the future. 

Elated, Powell shared that she created her first official film through the Spotlight Initiative in association with Jamaica Film and Television Association (JAFTA) and the United Nations.  She created a documentary that focused on violence against women. It was about a real-life experience. I was given a task to adapt that story to film, and that was my first real film production.

“I entered the JCDC FIWI Short Film Competition, and I placed third with my short film titled

Trade Secrets. That third-place placement for me was like I won the first prize because I had done everything really by myself with no money. It was just my friends and I coming together, collaborating to make my dreams come true, and so it was”, she shared.

“And so I decided to try my hand again with the GATFFEST Film Pitch Competition, I entered the amateur category and leaned on my journalism experience because I had done a story that was of national importance, but it was a risky story. I started thinking about what would happen if I wrote a story and the subject of that story came to confront me and that was how Jayna Johnson’s reporting was born. The film premieres on Tuesday, June 20th at the French Embassy. I am excited to see how other people feel about the film for the very first time in an audience”, she continued.

Powell shared that she is so honored to have all of these experiences. “That’s where it is, but that’s not where it ends because there’s more to come. And I won’t stop creating because at the core –  I am a filmmaker, a writer, a producer, and a director. And so I’m grateful for the opportunities to come to continue doing what I do best”, the newly crowned queen shared.

She was the recipient of three of the six sectional prizes — Most Culturally Aware, Most Active in the Community and Most Congenial. First runner-up in the competition was Erieka Dixon, who wore the sash Miss Ontime Taxi Service, while Jada Browne, a student pursuing a Doctor of Dental Surgery at The University of the West Indies, Mona, placed third. Browne, who won the sectional prize, Most Poised, wore the sash Miss Dream Wedding Services. Lisa Hammond who wore the sash P.T.G Electrical and Building Solution secured the Most Popular on Social Media award.

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