Rogers is hours away from passing down her first sash ever (Miss Anguilla 2017) while stepping into the magnitude of her latest chapter when we catch up on her native island this past August. Though this moment wasn't always pinned to her vision board, the University of Birmingham graduate is more than ready to bear the weight of her crown. Read below as she discusses her unconventional start in pageantry, decision to compete beyond the Caribbean, and commitment to owning her light so others can do the same.
Shanice Davis: What was growing up in Anguilla like for you?
Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers: I think it was the typical Anguillian experience. I spent most of my time outside, running around barefoot, climbing trees, doing chores in the yard. I spent time going to the beach, picking sea grapes. It was very carefree, but I also spent a lot of my childhood reading. My mom felt it was very important to instill a love for reading in me at a young age, so she would buy me all the classics. That's something that's stuck with me. Those were things that typified my childhood. I also grew up on a farm, so it was slightly different in terms of responsibilities. There was a balance between play and hard work, which gave me a lot of discipline.
When did sports come into the picture?
Right off the bat. My mom and dad were athletes. I started running in preschool. My first loves were football and volleyball, but those were team sports, so you have to rely on team members to come out to training and be consistent. With my mom, there was never an option for me. I always had to be there and be disciplined, but sometimes that wouldn't be the case for my teammates. I decided to go into track and field because I thought I had more control. I would show up for myself every time.
How did you make the transition to pageantry?
In the 2014 Commonwealth Games, I was competing in the heptathlon. It's seven events over two days--a tough two days. On my second-to-last event, I was throwing the javelin, and there's a certain technique you use where your knee is supposed to come forward so that you can use the momentum to push the javelin, and for some reason my knee decided to stay behind, so I ended up with a severe knee injury that put a bit of an abrupt end to my dreams of becoming an Olympic athlete. I tried to come back to the sport, but my physios and my coach thought it was a bad idea because one thing you can't get back are your knees.
I decided if I had to quit, I'd have to put my energy into something else because I am a naturally competitive person. I looked for a while and didn't find anything. I participated in volleyball casually. Then, I started meeting previous pageant queens in Anguilla who told me I'd be so good if I competed. I was like, "No, I'm a tomboy." Then, when I was in the U.K., I saw the previous Miss Universe Great Britain, Anna Maria Burdzy's profile. I'm a keen believer that everything you see or everything that happens isn't a coincidence, so all of those interactions led me to believe that there was something in this area for me, and I decided to give it a shot.