Despite the incredible diversity in the world, we still cling to the same beauty standards we see in the media–especially in beauty pageants.
This year, however, the norm has changed just a little more. The 24-year-old reigning Miss Jamaica, Sanneta Myrie, competed in the 2015 Miss World Pageant while wearing dreadlocks. She is the second woman to do so in the history of the Pageant. The first woman was Ingrid Littre in 2009.
Myrie, also a fully qualified medical doctor, is the first contestant in the pageant’s history to compete with dreadlocks. And it worked. Myrie’s dreadlocks, along with her stunning looks, helped her to come fifth in the Miss World beauty pageant–out of 114 contestants worldwide.
Myrie wore locks to Miss World because she identifies with them and uses them to express herself and her roots. Other than modeling, she is committed to helping others; which is why she became a medical doctor. She hopes to join “Doctors Without Borders”, where she can help provide health care to marginalized areas around the world. When she has free time, she runs cross country and long distance. She is also a counselor for the University of the West Indies.
As we mentioned Myrie isn’t the first contestant to make headlines at a major beauty pageant for her hairstyle. Lots of Jamaican models have competed in beauty pageants with dreadlocks.
In 2007, another Jamaican model competed in the Miss Universe competition, called Zahra Redwood. And she won. Redwood also made history as the first Miss Jamaica to be crowned who follows the Rastafarian faith; Myrie is also a Rastafarian.
What Myrie and Redwood have achieved is monumental in helping to broaden the preconceived beauty standards worldwide. Women of color have always been forced to adopt Western beauty standards. However, this has been changing a lot recently, with celebrities like Lupita Nyong’o who rock natural looks. Hopefully, this will go on, and we’ll soon be comfortable to embrace our culture’s fashion.
Congratulations to Myrie for making the top 5 in Miss World!