Ackera Gowie, Miss Jamaica Festival Queen 2018: Ready to fix things
WHAT CAN I do for my country? Here’s a question many may have never seriously considered. However, it’s the fuel that drives Ackera Gowie and propels her beyond her limitations. Gowie, the newly crowned Miss Jamaica Festival Queen, is a strong force to be reckoned with, and one who has set out to make a difference.
Named after her favourite food, ackee, she hails from Ranch, St Mary, a tiny, rural community that has helped her to evolve into a ‘true Jamaican woman’. “My childhood was like a movie, with different elements of all genres. I grew up with my mother in a big yard with a lot of cousins, aunts, and uncles. So, there were moments of fun, adventure, horror, sadness, and comedy. But all those experiences made me who I am,” she told Outlook in a recent interview.
WORKING WITH YOUTH
Motivated by her mother and best friend to conquer all her fears and excel, this natural optimist pushes relentlessly to achieve her goals and desires. She yearns to work with the younger generation. “I plan to work directly with youths across my parish, to help guide them to establish a vision for their lives.” She firmly believes that one must first have a vision for life before anything else, as that is what drives the wings of purpose. As a Governor General’s I Believe Initiative ambassador, Gowie also plans to continue working with her team to implement projects that will bring forth great fruits. Sticking to her group’s mandate she intends to use what is ‘right with Jamaica to fix what is wrong with Jamaica.’
Gowie is fond of the Jamaican culture. To her, it’s more than a way of life, it’s much more simple beliefs and values. It’s a mass collection of arts, which is worth every effort to preserve and share. And this is what she works tirelessly to achieve. “Dukunu, toto, drops, these are what I’m used to, if we’re talking dessert. But if you look at many young Jamaicans these days, it’s pop tart, chocolate cake, and things along these lines. Not that there’s anything wrong with liking those foods, I just think it’s a shame when Jamaicans have no connection with the little things that help us retain our identity,” the queen explained.
Her appreciation for culture and adoration for the people of the isle, which she calls home, are the major factors that fashioned her interest in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Festival Queen Competition.
The 23-year-old has been admiring the competition for ages, vowing that one day after finishing her studies, she would reach for and grasp the honourable
crown. The road to the throne was one of courage, dedication, pleasure, and of course, patches here and there with a little stint of challenges. Nonetheless, she was determined to win, making herself and family proud. She even stole their voices with her victory.
GAVE UP HER JOB
Resigning her nine-to-five in pursuit of the crown, and even more so to fulfil her purpose to her country, was an act of faith, and today it’s a sacrifice that brings joy to her life. “I hope to serve as an inspiration to young girls, especially like myself who grew up in the rural areas. I want them to start believing that they can be anything they want to be with God, goals and grit. Also, I want to establish my community project ‘Ecomoney’, which focuses on the three things I am most passionate about – youth development, entrepreneurship and the environment. Ecomoney provides a platform for young people to play their part in protecting and preserving the environment by upcycling, while generating funds for themselves and contributing to our economy,” she explained. One of her dreams is to travel the world to experience the varying cultures for all they are worth, and share hers in the process. This knack for travelling stems from her interest in international relations, which was born out of a shift in career options after financial difficulties hindered her from completing her law degree.
Gowie currently holds a Bachelor of Science degree in international relations. After visiting places like Puerto Limon, which has managed to capture and mimic the ambience of Kingston, she has been compelled to show others the wholesome beauty of her country. She said, “I have all the love in the world for Kingston. We are all Jamaicans, after all. I just feel like many people who are not from Jamaica often get the impression that Jamaica begins and ends in Kingston and St Andrew.”
Miss Jamaica Festival Queen 2018 – Miss St Mary, Ackera Gowie. Rocheda Bartley
Miss Jamaica Festival Queen 2018 Ackera Gowie (second right) presented with her prize cheque by (from left) interim Executive Director of JCDC Orville Hill; patron Juliet Holness; and Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange.