NATION

Blake’s ‘Lazy Fashion’ Comments Criticised By Contestants On Facebook

Little did Mr Blake know that this red gown that had not met “pageant standards” was designed and sewn by young Ms Narayan’s mother the night before the crowning of the Miss Fiji contest.
22 Dec 2019 12:15
Blake’s ‘Lazy Fashion’ Comments Criticised By Contestants On Facebook

An uproar has been ignited among the 2019 Miss Fiji Pageant participants by statements made by a “Fashion Police” in one of Fiji’s leading fashion shows on national television.

Twenty-two-year-old Azeria Prynsas Narayan’s red gown worn on the crowning night of the 2019 Miss Fiji Pageant was called “lazy fashion” and not meeting “pageant standards” on national air.

These comments were made on one of Fiji’s leading fashion TV shows, Jejemon, by its host Andhy Blake.

Andhy Blake runs a segment that is called “Burn it or Keep It” on Jejemon that airs on the Fijian Broadcasting Corporation’s (FBC) channel every Thursday at 7.45pm.

“Andy Blake had a ‘Keep It or Burn It’ session with the contestants’ dresses for the crowning night. He called my gown ‘lazy fashion’ and ‘not pageant standards’ therefore burning it,” Miss Rakiraki 2018, Azeria Narayan said.

Little did Mr Blake know that this red gown that had not met “pageant standards” was designed and sewn by young Ms Narayan’s mother the night before the crowning of the Miss Fiji contest.

Upon receiving only $500 from the Rakiraki Town Council, Ms Narayan’s mum, who owns a successful local brand, “Haz”, decided to style her daughter.

Miss Rakiraki 2018 Azeria Prynsas Narayan wearing the hand-sewn gown by her  mother that was burned on FBC's Jejemon on national television.

Miss Rakiraki 2018 Azeria Prynsas Narayan wearing the hand-sewn gown by her mother that was burned on FBC’s Jejemon on national television.

“The Rakiraki Town Council had only provided $500. This was enough to cover my transportation and accommodation only,” Ms Narayan said.

“All my outfits were designed and sewn by my mother. We had a wardrobe malfunction which led to my mother having no choice but creating a new dress at the last minute which we put to our network of Fashion icons who approved the design,” the deeply hurt, Miss Rakiraki 2018 said.

Ms Narayan, who is a third-year law student at the University of Fiji, Saweni campus in Lautoka, represented the Rakiraki municipality in the Miss Fiji Pageant that was held at the Suva Civic Centre from the 13-15 December, 2019.

“My Mother and I own a successful Fashion Brand which has sold very well. We did not see the need for an extreme response like that resulting in the burning of a contestant’s dress.”

Ms Narayan is a strong advocate for Women’s rights and believes that women across Fiji should be given a fair opportunity to shine.

Contestants comments

Miss Savusavu 2018, Alisi Rabune:

“I am usually not a person to post up a status like this but in this case, I believe speaking up was the right thing to do as it was just sad, heartbreaking and just disheartening.

Miss Savusavu 2018 Alisi Rabune.

Miss Savusavu 2018 Alisi Rabune.

“With all due respect, ‘burning’ contestants on national television with the judgement of their garment WITHOUT knowing their story was just so wrong and a very disappointing thing to do. I speak not only for me but for other ladies in pageantry who represent themselves, their families and the municipality and have been through this same trend.

“My roommate was also “burnt” (Miss Rakiraki 2018) and let me tell you; due to lack of resources and financial constraints, her dress was beautifully hand stitched and put together by her wonderful mother the whole night just before the crowning just so that she had something to wear.

“Her mother is indeed a hero and with little time, she worked hard and put in so much effort and she was also her chaperone and only supporter throughout the entire pageant. That I believe is women empowerment at its best.

“Most of us girls DID NOT HAVE A CHOICE but were blessed to have been given a dress to wear on that particular night and we are truly grateful.

“Mind you, we saw the pageant as an opportunity to advocate and raise awareness on issues that we believed in which was the “main motive” of the pageant and we did!

“Your comment “lazy fashion choice” I believe depicts the whole purpose of such a show as you do not know the behind the scenes and still made judgement.

“My heart breaks as I cannot thank our respective designers, families and teams enough for their hard work in putting together costumes at their cost and expense even in the very last minute. Scrutinising as such on national television not only disheartens and embarrasses the contestant, but her team, her vanua, her family, her friends. In more of a situation, it may even lead to depression and even suicide. As a concerned activist on mental health, how can we raise awareness on mental health when our very own people are doing this which leads to such cases!

“I urge you Mr Andhy Blake; with all due respect, please know the stories of the Queens before passing judgement and scrutinising because passing judgement as such without knowing the hard work, sweat, tears, sacrifice and dedication that each queen and her team put forward is wrong, sad and a heartbreaking shallow thing to do especially on national television.”

Miss Bula-Nadi 2018, Kristiana Ulwai:

“Last week, on your show, you crossed the line.

“And to make it ironic, it was two days after the International Human Rights Day celebration.

“For most of us we didn’t have a “CHOICE” we were blessed and fortunate to put on a beautiful dress on the night, out of the loving and giving heart of others.

Miss Nadi 2018, Kristiana Ulwai.

Miss Nadi 2018, Kristiana Ulwai.

“Because as young, visionary women of this beautiful country we believe that we should offer more of our substance as human beings rather than looks and fashionably fancy gowns.

“That is why we saw the pageant as a platform, grabbed it and used it to amplify our voices on issues that matters the most to us and those we represent.

“We were standing there not as individuals but as representatives of many young girls from our different municipalities.

“I am surprised and appalled at your judgement because I have never seen you in a dress, and here you are judging our dresses?

“I cannot judge you on your typical shirt with flat cap because I have never worn it and it is not my taste.

“Just because our choice of fashion did not suit yours doesn’t give you the right to ‘objectify’ us and burn our ‘choice of fashion’ on your show.”

FBC CEO Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum:

The Fijian Broadcasting Corporation chief executive officer Mr Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum told Fiji Sun that he was not aware of the comments that were made on the dresses worn by the Miss Fiji pageant contestants on Jejemon, as well as the after effects of it on social media.

Mr Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Mr Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

When Fiji Sun interviewed Jejemon’s TV host, Andhy Blake, he said:

“I have hosted Fiji’s only fashion TV show, Jejemon for six years. In the show, we have a segment called ‘Wear it or Burn it’, which is my personal opinion about the clothing I like and dislike. Burn is the figure of speech I use for garments I personally dislike and is not targeted against the person that wears it. I have ‘burnt’ many garments on the show in the last six years and will continue to do so as we plan for our 7th year on FBC TV.

“Everyone is entitled to an opinion and I commend the pageant queens’ for speaking out about how they felt. At the end of the day, their dresses were the focus of my show and no matter what status they post up on social media, it won’t change the fact that their dresses were not of pageant standards.

“Jejemon’s ‘Wear it or Burn it’ segment focuses on the looks of a garment so we don’t take into consideration the costs spent on a garment. We focus on the look as it is what the show is about – fashion.

“Miss Nadi 2018 put out a challenge and this was one of the contestants who had over one year to prepare for the Miss Fiji 2019 pageant. The fact that her wardrobe was a flop and not of pageantry standards reflects her seriousness about the platform as contestants are judged foremost on their appearance before their causes. It’s a pageant and not an oratory contest.

“I read later about Miss Rakiraki’s outfit but it still does not change my view and personal opinion about it being ugly. At the end of the day, I have produced pageants for over 15 years and worked with both Miss World and Miss Universe so my opinions are based on my experience.

Mr Andhy Blake.

Mr Andhy Blake.

“Pageant contestants must never have excuses about lack of budgets or last-minute preparations.

“From the minute you decide you are going to enter; you prepare yourself and get your wardrobes filled with as many glamorous dresses as possible. Contestants will be parading on a stage and are putting themselves out there for the public including myself to judge so you want to present yourself in the public eye dressed in the best possible attire. Pageants are not a stage to experiment your fashion sense, you are vying for a job and in this case, the Miss Fiji title, which enables the young woman to becoming our country’s ambassador to the Miss Pacific Islands pageant.

“Pageants are a platform to raise your opinions and bring light to causes close to a contestant’s heart. In order to capture the attention of the public and the judges, you must dress well. Contestants are first heard with how they are styled and dressed during the week and this is a subtle way of commanding attention. Once the spotlight is on you, use it wisely and that is where eloquence plays an important part of a contestant’s preparation.”

Edited by Ivamere Nataro

Feedback: jennis.naidu@fijisun.com.fj

Fijisun E-edition
Total Excellium
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper