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This Week We Feature Young Professional Rikkiya A. R. Brathwaite

This week’s Young Professional Rikkiya A. R. Brathwaite is the reigning Miss World BVI who is currently representing the Virgin Islands at Miss World in London. Photo: Provided
Miss World BVI 2019, Rikkiya A.R. Brathwaite, centre, won the title of Miss World 2019 Top Sports Woman in London on November 28, 2019. Photo: Provided
Miss World BVI 2019, Rikkiya A.R. Brathwaite, centre, won the title of Miss World 2019 Top Sports Woman in London on November 28, 2019. Photo: Provided
The people of the Virgin Islands can play their part in Rikkiya A. R. Brathwaite's dream run at Miss World 2019 by voting for her in the Multi-Media Challenge. Photo: Facebook
The people of the Virgin Islands can play their part in Rikkiya A. R. Brathwaite's dream run at Miss World 2019 by voting for her in the Multi-Media Challenge. Photo: Facebook
Miss World BVI Rikkiya A. R. Brathwaite, 2nd from right, was among the VIP guests of Baroness Scotland of Asthal at the Worshipful Company of Skinners in London. Photo: Miss World
Miss World BVI Rikkiya A. R. Brathwaite, 2nd from right, was among the VIP guests of Baroness Scotland of Asthal at the Worshipful Company of Skinners in London. Photo: Miss World
Rikkiya A. R. Brathwaite loves the stage. She finds life there and would think on no other way to achieve her life fulfilment than to demonstrate her art to the world on the biggest stages available to her. Photo: Provided
Rikkiya A. R. Brathwaite loves the stage. She finds life there and would think on no other way to achieve her life fulfilment than to demonstrate her art to the world on the biggest stages available to her. Photo: Provided
A performing actress who aspires to make it to Broadway, this week’s Young Professional is getting valuable experience in the spotlight while bringing much pride and positive attention to the land of her birth- the [British] Virgin Islands.

Rikkiya Asharee Riydadh Brathwaite, 22, is currently representing the Virgin Islands (VI) at the 2019 Miss World in London, where she has already made history for the territory by becoming the first contestant from the VI to make it to the Top 40.

In fact, Rikkiya has proven herself ‘fittest’ to be queen by winning the 2019 Sports Challenge competition on November 28, 2019, beating out more than 30 contestants.

She then followed that up with a second place finish in the Talent finals on December 10, 2019.

Rikkiya is now confident she can go all the way at the Miss World Finals on Saturday, December 14, 2019.

A love for the stage

While she has never taken part in a beauty pageant growing up, mainly for personal family reasons, she is certainly no stranger to pageantry. Rikkiya comes from a long, successful and colourful history of pageantry as she grew up surrounded by a mother and an uncle who have chaperoned many crowned queens.

Rikkiya loves the stage. She finds life there and would think on no other way to achieve her life fulfilment than to demonstrate her art to the world on the biggest stages available to her. She believes she can achieve at Miss World, as she does believe that she can do all things through Christ who gives her strength.

School & Performing Arts

Rikkiya has set her eyes on performing on every sized screen, including Broadway, television and film, and so far the journey is looking favourable.

This talented Virgin Islander holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Miami. While at the University of Miami, she was a Virgin Islands’ National Scholar (four-year scholarship awarded by the Government of the Virgin Islands) as well as a Jensen Scholar (four-year scholarship awarded by the Department of Theatre Arts at the University of Miami).

Rikkiya completed her high school studies at North Broward Preparatory School in North Broward, Florida, having transferred from Cedar International School in the Virgin Islands in the 10th grade.

Whilst at Cedar International School, Rikkiya participated in many musicals including Aladdin in which she played the role of Sho-Shi), Cinderella, in which she played the role of Little Cinderella, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, in which she played the role of the White Stag and Alice in Wonderland, in which she played the role as Alice #5.

Awards

Rikkiya’s immense talent in performing arts was acknowledged when she received the Cedar International School’s Performing Arts Award in 2011 (middle school) and 2013 (high School).

Whilst at North Broward Preparatory School, she performed in various musicals and also received a Cappies’ nomination for Best Dancer for her ensemble role in the musical production Side Show (Bill Russell).

Her performing arts experience has taken her through four years of vocal and acting training at the tertiary level at the University of Miami, vocal and acting training at the Interlochen Center for the Arts and Yale University Summer Institute for actors during the summers of 2009 – 2014.

Whilst at the University of Miami (2015-2019), she also performed in various productions each school year, including the very successful 2019 New York University of Miami Senior Showcase; and her Off Broadway Debut at Feinstein’s/54 Below.

Following her 2019 senior showcase, she received fourteen call backs from Broadway agents. With the help of her supporting crew, she accepted an offer and recently signed a management contract with CLA – Cyd LeVin & Associates (a talent management agency) in New York to manage her career in the Arts.

Modeling

Rikkiya, who also enjoys playing the piano and dancing, intends to move to New York imminently to pursue her dreams.

Modeling is also on the resume for Rikkiya as she has graced the catwalk for UMI Fashions and BVI Summer Sizzle Extravaganza, one of the biggest international fashion events in the Caribbean.

God-fearing

Socially, Rikkiya was raised in the fear and admonition of God.

She grew up as a member of New Life Baptist Church Children’s Church and Jabez Teens before relocating to Florida to finish high school.

If Rikkiya is asked if she has any personal challenges, she will tell you she is particularly challenged with the effects divorce has on children and finds joy and peace in counselling teenagers and young adults (based on her own personal experience) on how to build mental strength and keep on going.

Off camera, Rikkiya assists in the management of an early childhood learning centre operated by her father, Eric Brathwaite, a souvenir store that operates from the Cyril B. Romney Pier Park, owned and operated by her mother, Ayana S. Hull and she is a brand ambassador for Lime- a carbonated beverage created by her mom and is currently being distributed in the [British] Virgin Islands, the United States Virgin Islands, St Kitts/Nevis and Anguilla.

Our Young Professional enjoys full and frank discussions, the ocean, Italy; and she absolutely enjoys being in the kitchen and preparing delicious meals for her family and friends.

Inspiration

Rikkiya told Virgin Islands News Online she gets much inspiration from her mother, a well-known author in the Virgin Islands who also helped write the VI’s Territorial Song ‘Oh Beautiful Virgin Islands’.

“In my personal life, my mom inspires me with her drive and determination to get things done. In my career, Cynthia Erivo, a British-Nigerian actress, inspires me.”

Advice to young people

Rikkiya advises young people to discover who they are and “always be accepting to who you are for it’s the only true confidence that carries you throughout life.”

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