Rofiat Abodunrin, a 19-year-old Nigerian, a high school senior and an aspiring model, was crowned Miss Dream Castle 2018 at the grand coronation held recently at the Royal Regency Hotel in Yonkers, N.Y. She beat out a talented field of nine contestants to take the crown and a host of other prizes, including $1,500 cash, an all-expense paid seven-day/six-night trip for two at Dream Castle Villa in Montego Bay, two designer evening gowns, a $500 gift card from Macy’s, a one-year gym membership, Beats headphones, a basket of hair care products and a package courtesy of Bath & Body Works.
Before a fair-sized crowd, Abodunrin, who has plans of becoming a registered nurse, was chosen over a diverse field of contestants, including 24-year old Jamaican Shanice Blake, who was first runner-up; 17-year old St. Lucian Makeisha Anthony, second runner-up; and Lehman College graduate and Bronx native Shekoya Gordon, third runner-up.
The contestants were judged in five areas: smile, swimwear, talent, evening gown and Q&A.
A special feature of the evening was the presentation of checks to two charitable organizations. Hope by KDO received $2,500 and Autism Speaks received $1,000. On hand to accept the check for Hope by KDO was Korey Rowe, one of Jamaica’s top models, and pageant founder Gwendolyn Nicks-James’ son Eric Johnson accepted the check on behalf of Autism Speaks.
Shekoya Gordon of Bronx, N.Y. took home the sectional prize for Miss Congeniality, and St. Lucian Makeisha Anthony won the prize for Most Tickets Sold.
Entertainment for the evening was provided by reggae group L.U.S.T. and legendary American rap/R&B group Force MDs, who serenaded the contestants. Steel pan soloist Kendall Williams also entertained patrons throughout the evening, which was co-hosted by Tony Cobb of WVIP 93.5 FM and Barry G of Mellow FM in Jamaica.
The Miss Dream Castle Pageant, which is open to women age 16 to 25, is the brainchild of Nicks-James, owner of Dream Castle Villa in Montego Bay. This year’s event was co-produced by Glenroy March, chief creative director of House of D’Marsh.
Sponsors of this year’s pageant included Bath & Body Works, Ballet Arts, Banners Plus, Chi-Lites, Dream Castle Villa, Dream Castle Restaurant & Lounge, D’Marsh Couture, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Fresh Look Beauty Supplies, Lord & Taylor, Loria, Macy’s, Pure Frame Media, Royal Regency Hotel, Snow Fresh Foods, Spectrum, Verizon and Your Bodyguard 24/7.