This is incredible,’ Miss Virgin Islands says of pageant

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 25, 2004

[6/25/04]Miss Virgin Islands Kinila Callendar is spending this week in Vicksburg, she said, because she heard Miss Mississippi is the best state preliminary in the country.

“This is incredible nothing like we had,” said Callendar, 23.

She was crowned May 29 and will be the Virgin Islands’ first representative in the Miss America Pageant in September.

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“This was our first year to hold a state pageant,” she said. “We didn’t have any local preliminaries, and we only had five contestants. I wanted to experience the full production like you have here so I’m not overwhelmed at Miss America.”

While it may seem a long way from the Virgin Islands to Vicksburg, there is a connection. Callendar said she feels quite at home here because the executive director for the Miss Virgin Islands pageant, Shannon Boy Skokos, is a judge in this year’s Miss Mississippi pageant, and chairman of the board Briggs Hopson was a judge in her pageant.

The Virgin Islands was not only the first for the territory, it was the first for Callendar. She’s experiencing Miss Mississippi just like the other contestants, such as living in the dorms and participating in activities such as autograph parties.

“It’s been fun. It’s been a big experience,” she said.

Callendar is a 2003 graduate of the University of the Virgin Islands and works as a news reporter for a St. Thomas newspaper.

She’ll head to Atlantic City in September as one of 52 contestants competing for the title of Miss America, but she said after her reign she’ll be eager to return to her regular schedule.

“It’s been a lot of fun, but I think I’m all pageanted out. It’s funny being on this side of the questions since I’m usually the one asking them.”

The pageant she won will be bigger next year. “We already have waiting list for next year’s of about 30,” she said.

Callendar said she received about $20,000 in scholarships.