Ten years after I started America’s Next Natural Model, Great Britain has crowned Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers, a beautiful smart Black Woman with locs, Miss Universe.
Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers who is from Anguilla, a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, is the first black woman to ever hold the title of Miss Universe Great Britain. The 25-year-old who bested 40 other candidates, has a degree in law from the University of Birmingham and will represent Great Britain on the world stage in November.
Miss Kentish-Rogers is however not the first in the Miss Universe pageant to represent locs.
Zahra Redwood was the very first Black woman to break the dreadlocks barrier on a world pageant stage when she represented Miss Universe Jamaica. Not only did this beauty had locs over her buttocks, she was also of Rastafarian faith.
That same year Dr. Sanneta Myrie who also had long locs, was crowned Miss Jamaica World 2015, Miss World Caribbean 2015 and even Miss World 3rd Runner Up 2015.
We had to wait another two years to see another natural beauty with 4C hair gracing the stage but slowly and surely we can see that the stage of beauty pageants is changing.
I am sure you remember Davina Bennett the Jamaican natural model who won Miss Jamaica Universe last year. Videos of Davina rocking a medium height Afro and a yellow gown were all over social media.
There were even a few more naturals last year that you may have not seen. Lilian Ericaah Maraule with a Lupita-like short natural look represented Tanzania. Kára McCullough, with over the shoulders curly hair was Miss USA 2017 and Lesley Chapman-Andrews represented Barbados rocking her island gold curly tresses throughout the pageant.
When I started America’s Next Natural Model in 2008 the goal was more than to bring natural beauty to the stage. Inspired by Tyra Banks’ conversation with Alek Wek, the aim was also to create a stage where Black models would never be out of fashion and could show the world the diversity of natural hairstyles they missed out on. This is unfortunately still very much needed as we’ve recently seen in the viral video of Miami Swim Week. See Black Models Dismissed.
Hopefully natural beauties keep representing and paving the way so that fros and locs will become the new normal and our models will never ever have to hear insults like that again.
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