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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Women of color reign in pageants worldwide

    By Cassidy Lee
    Copy Editor

    “I think it’s such a great move forward,” Toni-Ann Singh stated to “Good Morning America” on Dec. 15. “As a society to say, ‘Look, women in the past never had opportunities to do things like we are now.”

    On Dec. 14, Singh, a woman of color from Jamaica, was crowned Miss World, completing a sweep of pageant winners who are women of color.
    On Dec. 8, Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa won Miss Universe. New York’s Nia Franklin was crowned Miss America last September. On May 2, Chelsie Kryst from North Carolina won Miss USA and last April, Connecticut’s Kaleigh Garris won the 37th Miss Teen USA.
    In response to their victories, Senator Kamala Harris tweeted, “Showing the nation and the world what we’re capable of. This isn’t just magic: their commitment and dedication exemplifies Black excellence.”
    It was the first time that five major beauty pageant crowns were held by black women, testing the traditional beauty pageant standards of blonde hair and white skin.
    “These pageants have always struggled to reflect onstage the diverse array of women who make up the world’s population,” stated The Washington Post, “women with hair, skin, and bodies that do not conform to the ones that have traditionally dominated beauty contests.”
    The winners highlighted their accomplishments, aspirations, and charity work throughout the competitions. They advocated for prison reform, women’s rights, and art education in schools. Tunzi, Franklin, and Kryst also utilized their social platform to address and redefine traditional beauty standards.
    Tunzi explained to “Good Morning America” on Dec. 10, “I want to show that women are multifaceted. We’re not all the same and we shouldn’t be boxed into one type of beauty.”
    In 1968, women protested against the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, NJ, denouncing that the pageant had not had a black finalist since the contest’s founding in 1912. That night, African American women held their own pageant just blocks away.
    Since then, major beauty pageant organizations have expanded their standards.
    According to The Washington Post, “Franchises have evolved over time, becoming more and more inclusive — on the basis of race, sexual orientation and religious affiliation.”
    Having five women of color hold major beauty pageant titles has marked a turning point for not only the organizations that run the contests, but for the viewers as well.
    Singh revealed to “Good Morning Britain” on Dec. 16, “What my title means to me is that representation and diversity is a beautiful thing.”

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    Women of color reign in pageants worldwide