It is no secret to one that I have a love affair with pageants and it has been going on since 2009.
During my recent trip to Taiwan, not to only support Viech Dona as Charity Queen of One Power Haiti but to also get a deeper understanding of how international pageants operate behind the scenes, I have made several discoveries that I would like to share with you.
Today, we are going to talk about hair in pageants.
Women’s hair is a very important factor of their sex appeal. Says who? Right? At least, that’s what western culture has fed us for years through magazines and commercials. Therefore most black women (in pageants) feel like they have to emulate the formula of long and straight hair to stand a chance at getting noticed.
The problem with this misconception is as follow: most of the latinas and white contestants have naturally long & straight hair so they have mastered the game of using it as a sex appeal tool. However most black contestants wear weaves occasionally. They are not as conscientious of using it as much as the first category of people. In photo shoots, you will notice that white and latinas contestants carry their hair and neck a certain way that adds to their sex appeal as opposed to ebonies who have fake hair.
Yet most black contestants believe that they have to wear weave to compete on the international level when, in my opinion, it is one of their greatest setbacks.
Some will argue that it has to do with the quality of the weaves but I tell you that smart people choose their battle. You can’t win a battle for which you are not properly equipped for. By that I mean, if you know long & straight hair is not your forte don’t even bother to go there. Use other characteristics to set you apart.
Let’s take for instance, some of the strongest black contestants who have made history by staying true to their roots: the most recent one is Sanneta Myrie, Miss Jamaica 2015 who became the first contestant to wear her hair in dreadlocks who by the way was placed in top 5 in Miss World. Now, has she listened to the naysayers telling her how she must have adopted the typical beauty-pageant look, I can guarantee you that she would have been lost in the crowd.
Zahra Redwood was the first Jamaican to enter Miss Universe pageant with locks in 2007, she won Miss Congeniality among her fellow contestants, nonetheless she did not go unnoticed.
Kaci Fennell made headlines with her short hairstyle last year at Miss Universe and was placed 4th Runner up. Many argued that she should have won.
Bottom line is Jamaica seems to have a long history of having strong candidates who are not afraid to break stereotypes.
Our Viech Dona is also a perfect example of history maker. She was placed 2nd Runner-up at Charity Queen of One Power International. Keeping her hair short and natural gave her a competitive edge over any other black contestants plus her charisma and personality made her a complete package.
The big question is, does keeping your hair natural make you an automatic winner? The answer is simply no, but it does help because authenticity is greatly rewarded. It takes guts and confidence to embrace who you truly are and that’s what most pageants promote, believe it or not.
At the end of the day, the decision to adopt any look with your hair is a personal one. But as more black contestants continue paving the way for authenticity (either natural or short hair) show notable steps toward uprooting the tired old standard. Let’s encourage our sister queens to be more themselves in these international pageants as everyone else is taken.
* Jocelyn Firm is one the Haitian national directors. To discover what she has already accomplish in the pageant field, Click here.