“Jamaica’s Miss World contest creates history”February 3rd, 2016
A beauty competition set the stage for one contestant to challenge preconceptions and empower others to be agents of positive change, writes Rashaun Watson, 23, a Correspondent from Portmore, Jamaica.
On December 19, 2015, all eyes were fixed on the grand coronation show for the 65th Miss World Competition in Sanya, China. The competition attracted beautiful women from across the world, who vied for the title of Miss World 2015 and demonstrated how they captured the idea of “beauty with a purpose”.
Over the years Jamaica has had a number of successes, taking the title three times. Until now, the most recent winner was Miss Lisa Hanna in 1993. This year, the country made a bold move in crowning Miss Sanneta Myrie as the new queen for 2015. But what makes her so special?
Besides being a medical student, Sanneta has dreadlocks. This is a great deviation from the typical look of a Miss Jamaica World. Dreadlocks are long strands of locked hair, and in Jamaica the style is readily identified with the Rastafarian culture, which is a significant part of the Jamaican culture. Indeed, it was a historic moment as Sanneta became the first woman to enter the competition with dreadlocks.
Throughout the competition she showcased her versatility and represented ‘Brand Jamaica’ in a manner that left Jamaicans feeling a sense of pride and patriotism. She finished third in the Miss World Talent section of the competition with her cultural dance piece.
Despite being a medical doctor, Sanneta has a passion for the creative and performing arts that is quite admirable. From a personal point a view, this echoes the sentiment that there is no limitation when it comes to pursuing your passion and dreams. In an interview Sanneta expressed “…after being adopted, my family used dance as a tool to help get me acclimatised to my new environment. Whenever I felt alone or sad, I always found solace in the arms of dance.”
Her piece was not just about the moves, but had a message of empowerment for people of the Caribbean region and across the world. Sanneta explained the meaning and the inspiration behind her piece: “Today, as a medical doctor, I find that dance is still important as a form of alternative medicine and healing.”
“Dance being presented as my talent piece embodies the movement of an entire Caribbean region from slavery into freedom,” she continued. “The red symbolizes the blood that was shed and the green celebrates the life and flourishing of the people, while the yellow represents not only the resilience of the Caribbean people, but also the brilliant future for us all.”
In an era of globalisation, where there is evidently much cultural erasure, more young people need to appreciate the historical and cultural legacy of their own country.
As youth of the Commonwealth, we have a responsibility to represent our countries in whatever capacity we can to be an ambassador of our countries. Even though Sanneta did not walk away with the crown, she finished in the top five out of 110 contestants and the country is extremely proud of her performance.
In response to the question of why she should be crowned Miss World, Sanneta responded: “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 colour, 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.”
Her words should serve as inspiration to everyone across the world, highlighting that irrespective of who you are, where you are from and even how you look, within everyone lies the ability to transform the lives of others and to be a positive agent of change. Be empowered.
About me: I am a graduate of the University of the West Indies, Mona, where I attained my degree in International Relations.
My main areas of interests are the environment, youth empowerment and policy creation. I have started to actively contribute to these areas and am encouraging other youth to do likewise.
It is my desire to make a positive impact on my country and to be a force of change within the Caribbean and the rest of the world.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response.
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/