THE Miss Bahamas Organisation has responded to criticism on social media on the costume to be used by Miss Universe Bahamas Tomii Culmer at the next Miss Universe pageant.
The group was involved in some controversy over its decision not to use the Sea Goddess costume created by local designer Javotte Bethel. The organisation was criticised for the move and some speculated that a design inspired by Trinidad’s Carnival would be used instead.
However, the organisation denied this and said another Bahamian designer has been selected to create a costume for the pageant winner.
“There are structural issues with Ms Bethel’s costume which would make it very difficult for Ms Culmer to manage in a competitive environment – specifically, she is unable to get into or out of the costume without considerable help from at least two people.
“A greater problem exists in the fact that due to its excessive weight - the costume leaves Ms Culmer visibly bruised each time she wears it. Clearly we cannot have her competing in the Miss Universe pageant (particularly the swimsuit competition) with visible bruises that would result from her wearing the said costume.”
The group’s statement said it also decided to forego Ms Bethel’s costume due to its likeness to one of the lead pieces of the international Victoria’s Secret fashion show and subsequent fears over possible copyright infringement.
“We find it unfortunate and quite frankly dishonest for it to be suggested that MBO does not support Bahamian culture or Bahamian designers when Ms Bethel herself was contracted to create three of the costumes that MBO has sent to Miss Universe over the last four years,” the statement said. “Miss Bethel created the Flamingo worn by Braneka Bassett in 2010, the Abaco Parrot worn by Anastagia Pierre in 2011, and the independence themed costume worn by Lexi Wilson in 2013.
“It has also been dishonestly suggested that the costume which Ms Culmer will wear is Trinidad inspired, or was created by a Trinidadian design team. We wish to go on record in stating that Ms Culmer’s costume – entitled the Bahama Parrot, is the creation of Bahamian designer Apryl Burrows and her all-Bahamian design team.
“Finally, it should be noted that at no time did MBO indicate that the winning costume from the Miss Universe Bahamas competition would be used at Miss Universe, although it was clearly widely assumed that it would be. However, MBO has never sent the winning costume from the national pageant to the Miss Universe stage in the four years since it was granted the Miss Universe franchise. Miss Bethel can certainly attest to this, seeing that she was contracted by MBO to create costumes for this purpose on three separate occasions,” the statement added.