No matter how diverse our world is, the images and standards of beauty we see in media is drastically skewed – especially at pageants.
However, this year, one contestant in the Miss World Pageant is breaking barriers and repping for the dreadlocks aficionados and naturalistas hailing from every corner and crevice of the world.
When the world saw the lineup included Sanneta Myrie, a 24-year-old doctor hailing from Jamaica, who proudly wears a crown of dreadlocks, the excitement began. For this pageant, this will be the first time someone has worn this hairstyle, with women of color usually opting for silk blowouts, voluminous weaves, or other manipulated styles.
Interestingly though, many ladies from Jamaica who have competed in such contests have all fiercely sported their dreadlocks to embrace their natural beauty and create a much needed conversation on why we only see one side of the spectrum when it comes to beauty. Zahra Redwood, who appeared in the Miss Universe competition in 2007, as Miss Jamaica wore the look, too. Redwood was also the first Miss Jamaica crowned of Rastafarian faith. So for her, wearing her dreadlocks was a way to break down barrier and stereotypes of her faith.
“People criticize what they don’t know or understand and develop preconceptions, and so given that, I have gone against what they’ve developed as a stereotyped,” Redwood explained. “My life has always been rooted in the arts and culture which has significantly impacted me own personal style. So even when I select glam, it has to have an ethnic twist to it,” she said to the Jamaica Observer.
Well, if anything, Redwood’s confidence has surely poured over onto Myrie and sparked something special for women of color to embrace our beauty. Last night (Dec. 19), Myrie walked away from the competition without the crown, but made the Top 5 out of more than 110 contestants.
Read Myrie’s full response to why she should be named Miss World below:
“My story is one of a little girl whose life was transformed with charity and love and my quest in life is to give that back to as many people as I can, and to inspire the world with my story, that no matter where you are from, your skin type your hair color, your situation — your dreams are valid. And I believe that beauty with a purpose embodies my quest and if I was blessed with the crown tonight, I would dedicate my essence to give back to the world in a purposeful and beautiful way with charity and love.”