Sometimes others see the beauty in us that we fail to see in ourselves. Kyesha Randall has been supported by people who have believed in her since birth. Her life hasn’t been void of challenges. However, she has stood resolute in her belief that everyone can overcome adversity. Following in the footsteps of her inspiration, Nelson Mandela, she hopes to empower black people to embrace who they are and trust God in everything they do.
Kyesha is no stranger to loss. At the tender age of 5 her father went missing. Subsequently, a family battle ensued concerning her wellbeing. She was raised in her grandfather’s family home where her aunts, cousins, uncles and neighbours all assumed responsibility for her. Although she was always connected to her mother, she was raised by her extended family. In her very early years, Kyesha fell victim to depression but she stayed close to her church family and got involved in her primary school’s performing arts activities. Her potential was spotted by all whom she met who constantly pushed her towards greatness. This support grew even stronger when she discovered that she had a true passion for the performing arts.
Finding Her Voice
Performing arts became her platform throughout her high school career. She attended Mount Alvernia High and in her final year decided to write, co-direct, and play the lead role in a play that brought her school to the JCDC national finals where they copped several awards, including the Louise Bennett award for best actress. She went on to college and became even more involved in the performing arts with her friends by her side every step of the way. She was spotted at a school concert while she was singing on stage in her first year of community college by Philip Clarke, owner and creative director of the Dance Spirit Performing Arts Company (DSPC) based in Montego Bay. She became a part of the group. After her training with DSPC, Kyesha left Montego Bay for Kingston in 2011 to pursue a degree in journalism. She quickly auditioned for the Quilt Performing Arts company and was accepted into this prestigious group.The mission of both Quilt and the DSPC is inspiring young people through the performing arts.
In 2011 she enrolled at the University of the West Indies to complete a BA in Journalism. She instantly made her mark on Rex Nettleford Hall and caught the attention of two influential students on the hall. These students encouraged her to enter Miss UWI in 2012. However, she never believed that the pageant life was for her. In her mind, pageants were all about the colour of your skin and power of your last name. She, therefore, chose not to follow their constant prodding that year. In her second year, however, her friends influenced her take on the challenge. So, she entered Miss UWI in 2013. She was determined to discover if her experience would disprove or support her theory. Throughout the competition she learned that there is much more to pageants. There were times when she felt overwhelmed, but she stuck with it because of the support around her. Her misconceptions slowly became apparent. The girl who banished the thought of entering pageants became Miss UWI 2013.
A new fire was ignited within her. She realized that pageants can be used as a platform to empower young, black women and help them see that they can do anything they set their minds to. She entered Miss Jamaica World in2014and worked diligently to make it to the top 12. In 2015 she entered Miss Universe. During this competition she finally identified her life’s purpose. She was born to transform the lives of others through using her talents to do good, even if it means only touching one life.
She entered the Miss Jamaica Festival Queen competition in 2016. This competition is unlike any other beauty pageant; it focuses on the holistic woman. She loved the organization’s mantra. She repeated her 2013 Miss UWI success by winning Miss Jamaica Festival Queen.
Motivate JA is the project she has chosen to embark upon during her reign. She works with her team to inspire youth throughout Jamaica using the performing arts, much like the DSPAC group she was a part of in college. The project also includes a peace component that specifically targets crime-riddled St. James. Kyesha, with the help of her team, is planning a Peace March for St. James for a Friday in July. This March will culminate with a Peace Concert. All proceeds and pledges from the concert and work of Motivate JA will fund a scholarship program to assist youth between the ages of 17 and 25 who want to study any aspect of the visual or performing arts. Pledges can be made towards this scholarship by contacting Kyesha at email@example.com.
Her Next Step
Miss Jamaica Festival Queen isn’t the final step for Kyesha. At 26 years of age, she has accomplished much more than many of us could ever dream of. However, she’s striving for more. She plans to pursue a Masters in Film and tap into Jamaica’s dormant film industry. Jamaicans are extremely talented and she wants to harness the visual and performing arts talent in the country to tell our stories. She also hopes to become an international actress; one who will help shape the world.
Hope is her ethos. She believes in always finding something positive to hold on to, even when life seems grim. Her final words to you are to believe in yourself and take the steps necessary to achieve your goals.