When the first black woman was crowned MISS WORLD 

Jennifer Hosten (center) after being crowned Miss World in 1970
 Courtesy of Jennifer Hosten & Sutherland House Books

By winning the crown of Miss World just at the age of 23 and being a black woman during the contest in 1970 Jennifer Hosten proved that Physical beauty is not color based. Color doesn’t make one beautiful or not beautiful. What truly matters is one’s inner beauty and hard work.

Hosten grew up and spent most of her childhood in Grenada (the heart of the tropics )capital city of St. George, with parents Lyle and Phyllis Hosten and her four siblings. She had a warm and happy childhood. Those were the years that shaped Jennifer’s character and let her shine.

In her early years, she worked in broadcasting, serving as Grenada’s High Commissioner to Canada, working as a Canadian diplomat to Bangladesh, becoming a technical adviser on trade to the St Lucia-based Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, and owning her own business.

At the time she won the Miss World competition, Jennifer was working as an air hostess. She has two Master’s degrees, one in political science from which she had practical experience from her time as a diplomat, and one in psychotherapy from which she was able to draw on personal experience.

She was the first black woman representing Grenada in London on the platform of Miss world 1970 and finally, by winning the Crown of Miss World 1970 she not only made her parents proud but also her country too.

However, her historic win was blemished by political turmoil. With the backdrop of the Vietnam war, South African racism, and the British feminist uprising, the London competition was looked at as anything but favorable, and Hosten was launched into the middle of a political moment that would shape the rest of her life.

The contest was held when the anti-racism movement was at its height, resulting in South Africa sending two representatives to the contest – one black and one white. More than 50 years since her win, Hosten is elated to see the array of representation in pageant competitions like Miss Teen USA, Miss USA, and Miss Universe.

In one of the interviews, Hosten stated, “I thought it was important to show that my life didn’t end at the end of my year as Miss World. I have made an effort throughout my life to define my own life, and to show that women can do all sorts of things”.

Further, she stated, “I saw the platform as an opportunity, to travel, to represent Grenada, and to make some money if I won. I had some very pragmatic expectations. I saw it less as objectification, but I think that some of the experiences during the contest made us think that way for sure. When I first arrived, it wasn’t my thought that I was being exploited. If I had thought that, I wouldn’t have taken part”.

Jennifer published the book The Effect of a North American Free Trade Agreement on the Commonwealth Caribbean for her first Master’s thesis.”

Staff Reporter

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