Entertainment

New owners of MJW franchise

BY SADE GARDNER
Observer writer
gardners@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

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VETERAN compère Weston Haughton and playwright Aston Cooke are the new holders of Miss Jamaica World (MJW) franchise.

The announcement was made yesterday by Spartan Health Club's principal Mickey Haughton-James via his Facebook page. His club retained the rights to the beauty pageant last year after a four-year break. Prior to that, it had administered the competition for nearly 40 years.

Haughton-James said he has advised Julia Morley, co-chair of the Miss World organisation, of his intentions.

“Spartan, having changed its focus in the last four years, is no longer geared for the staging of this event and, in particular, to manage the affairs of the winner during the year of her reign. I am also in my autumn years and find that I have a strong desire to travel more often and for extensive periods,” he said he explained to Morley.

He expressed confidence in Haughton, a former creative director at Sandals, and cultural specialist Cooke.

“I chose Weston and Aston because, in the case of Weston, I have great respect for his skills as a choreographer and his ability to produce a great show. His ability to get along with and to win the support of people were also key factors. I have worked with him for nearly 40 years, and his devotion and loyalty to the MJW Pageant is unquestioned. In the case of Aston, for many years I have been aware of his reputation and the fact that he is held in high esteem by people whose judgement I hold in high regard. His knowledge of the history of beauty pageants in Jamaica is probably unequalled and his interest in pageants remains undiminished. As a matter of fact, Solange Sinclair wore a national costume created by Aston at the 2017 Miss World Contest. The fact that he is a close associate of Weston and that artistically they complement each other sealed the deal,” Haughton-James told the Jamaica Observer.

Sinclair currently holds the Miss Jamaica World title. She finished in the top 10 in the grand finals held in Sanya, China, in November 2017.

Several efforts made to speak with Haughton and Cooke were unsuccessful.

Spartan Health Club's first involvement with the pageant came in 1976 when it was asked by the Miss World Organisation to send then gym instructor Cindy Breakspeare to that contest, which she would go on to win. In 1993, Lisa Hanna would become the next Miss World that 'Spartan' produced.

Between 2013 and 2016, the competition was hosted by Laura Butler's Fusion Consultants Limited. Butler, a former Miss Jamaica finalist and Miss Spartan Body Beautiful, relinquished the franchise after migrating to the United States.

Founded in 1951, the Miss World pageant is the oldest major international beauty contest.

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