Rochelle Rowe
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A Grenadian ‘Miss World’, 1970
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Beauty competitions in the Caribbean performed racialising and gendering work. They broadly reiterated the social lines between whiteness, brownness and blackness, yet this framework actually provided the opportunity to renegotiate such categories on the beauty stage, through the performance of modern, cultured, feminine beauty. Competitions began as a white space, but ultimately provided a register of exemplary brown femininity and helped to make brownness iconic of the region. In 1970 the second ever Caribbean woman to win the 'Miss World' competition, 22-year-old BWIA air stewardess, Grenadian Jennifer Hosten, was crowned. Hosten became hugely popular in the Caribbean. So significant was her win that there was even a skirmish between officials of Trinidad and Grenada over who could properly claim her win, because she had also spent long periods in Trinidad.

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Imagining Caribbean womanhood

Race, nation and beauty contests, 1929–70


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