Black Immigrant Daily News
Jamaica’s Israel Harrison, who has been dubbed the island’s first autistic beauty queen, finished in the top eight at the 60th edition of the Miss International pageant held on Tuesday at the Tokyo Dome City Hall in Japan.
This is Jamaica’s best finish at the pageant, following Top 15 placements by Denise Thompson in 1987 and Michelle Williams in 1988.
Germany’s 23-year-old queen, Jasmine Selberg, won the coveted Miss International 2022 title from a field of 66 contestants at the glittering event, which returned after a two-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rounding out the Top 5 finalists were the first runner-up from Cabo Verde, Stephany Amado; second runner-up from Peru, Tatiana Calmell; third runner-up from Colombia, Natalia L?pez Cardona; and fourth runner-up from the Dominican Republic, Celinee Santos.
Along with Jamaica, the representatives of Canada and Spain rounded out the Top 8.
Wearing a stunning pink dress and dreadlocks hairstyle, Harrison won the hearts of local fans during the night’s proceedings.
In her final speech to determine if she would wear the crown as Miss International, Harrison was not afraid of telling the world about her autism diagnosis.
“Today, I am standing here because I have a dream to be the first autistic beauty queen,” she told the audience and viewers.
“In my community, we are greatly underrepresented and underappreciated. I use my voice to advocate for all left behind.
“If I was to become Miss International, I will continue to use my voice and strength as I have turned my own pain into beauty, and I will leave no one behind. Thank you,” she concluded.
In the end, it wasn’t enough to win her the title or finish among the runner-ups, but her amazing performance has been widely lauded.
“Congrats and kudos to Israel and the Andwar team,” wrote Carisa Peart, Miss Jamaica Supranational 2022 and Miss Supranational Caribbean 2022.
“Remarkable,” wrote singer/songwriter Casia.
“Proud is an understatement. Israel ate and left no crumbs… Amazing Pasarella into Top 8 of @missinternationalofficial Jamaica,” shared the official Instagram page of Miss International Jamaica.
Instagram user, thenameis_taieke, wrote: “Good job to the team. Top 8 in international (pageant) is a great achievement.”