Aiasha Gustave is not a 'normal' teenager and this is not because she won the Miss World St Lucia 2010 crown this past July at the age of 17. Her age belies her clarity of wisdom, focus and maturity and at such a young age, it is highly commendable how centred, poised and self-assured she is. Relaying this notion to her, her rationale was, "I had to be an adult very early in life so maybe that lent to how I am now."
Now a resident of Rodney Bay in St Lucia, she was born to a British mother and Guyanese father. She lived as an only child with her mother. "I didn't see much of my dad then but I am glad that he is now part of my life and I am also close to his other daughters."
There is sunshine in her voice and her replies to questions are done with ease; she can clearly think on her feet.
Gustave has done quite well academically and even earned a part scholarship to a foreign university. Her intention is to study International Relations and Law but she is re-thinking that avenue as she is seriously considering a career in entertainment. "I love Law and did well in pre-Law at school but I don't want to 'waste' time studying something that my heart isn't in. I have already taken a year off my studies to focus on this Miss World Pageant."
Although she is very competent at academics, her passion has always been in the Arts, having done ballet for the past 10 years, playing the piano, painting and writing poetry, the latter being one which has parlayed into songwriting. She recently released a song, "I Only Have Eyes For You" and is currently marketing it locally with the assistance of Ian Pantin who is renowned in the local music industry for his work with major artistes.
So how did this brainy beauty end up in the Miss World pageant? With a no-nonsense tone, Gustave said, "I always felt that pageants were fake and the girls were 'plastic' and I am very laid-back and didn't think that that was for me. However, after I finished high school, I was contemplating my next move when my mother saw a print ad inviting girls to enter the Miss World St Lucia pageant. She and other relatives virtually harassed me to enter which I eventually did. I just decided, 'make it what you want, put aside your perceptions and enjoy it.'" As confident as she may be, her mindset was not about winning. "I didn't enter keen on winning…but then I won! I was actually the youngest in the pageant and also copped the title of 'Miss Congeniality' and received an award for 'Best Answer'."
Of her upcoming trip in the last quarter of this year for the Miss World pageant, Gustave maintained, "I am excited about going to China. I have never travelled there and look forward to a great experience."
A model of mostly editorial work, she has been in Trinidad for the past two weeks, having come to spend time with her boyfriend, a St Lucian native who is pursuing studies locally. It has been somewhat of a working vacation for her as she has been doing photo shoots with famed photographer Calvin French and adhering to her exercise regime in preparation for the pageant.
Incidentally, she has forged a friendship with T&T's Davia Chambers who was also the youngest entrant in the local Miss World Trinidad and Tobago pageant. Not one to be intimidated by competition, of Chambers, she gushed, "She is a lovely girl. It's great to have a friend in someone already when I go to China." Mae Wayne, Calvin French and Claudia Pegus are some of the persons whom Gustave has conveyed much respect for. She also cited gratitude to Kamla Regello of Sacha Cosmetics Ltd and Regello's mother who is assisting with physical training. "Of course, there's my mother who has been so supportive and she has been my one-woman team with preparations thus far."
Concentrating on the culmination in China, this self-proclaimed outspoken and open-minded young woman disclosed, "I am about proving anything to anyone or myself. Win or lose, this is amazing. St Lucia has never won the Miss World title so if I win, of course it would be wonderful!", as her serious tone deflated to a chuckle.
Directing that outspoken trait, Gustave addressed a bone of contention. "Racism upsets me. I wish people would stop judging others because of their skin tone, whether it is light or dark. It is so ignorant!"
Her quiet spirit seems reminiscent of the calm atmosphere of her country on any given day and her personality is as beautiful as the pristine scenery of her homeland's beaches. Whether she is a saint or not, this St Lucian native is destined for many blessings.