We were all pleasantly surprised when the British royals welcomed their first mixed-race family member with open arms and open hearts. In July this year, we saw yet another beautiful example of how the winds of change have finally arrived. And it was in the form of the winner of the Miss Universe Great Britain beauty pageant, Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers.
The title of Miss Universe Great Britain is a much-coveted prize that takes a lot of preparation and effort to win. Every year, hundreds of young women of ages from eighteen to twenty-eight apply for this prestigious competition. After submitting their applications online, the contestants go through a rigorous screening process conducted by a team of six judges, all experts in the fields of the beauty and fashion.
A series of interviews and photo-shoots follow, after which there would be only thirty-two aspirants remaining. They would then have face-to-face interviews with the panellists and catwalk rounds in gowns and another in bikinis. The marks they score in all these rounds decide who make it to the final five. These five women will then have to answer a few questions which would show how well they can think on their feet and articulate their thoughts.
Despite these tough rounds, beauty pageants have been criticized for being staid, outdated and also for not promoting diversity. But this spring, the Miss Universe Great Britain beauty pageant proved its worth when they overcame racial barriers and chose Rogers as their beauty queen. For the first time in sixty-six years, the country has a black woman winning the celebrated title!The Miss GB 2018
The twenty-five-year-old beauty from the Caribbean is a super achiever. She is a law graduate from the University of Birmingham and also a heptathlete who has even represented Britain in the 2014 Commonwealth Games. But a debilitating knee injury meant that she could not continue being an athlete. But Rogers did not give up. She chose to represent her country in the International Miss Universe competition instead – by becoming the Miss GB!
Shifting from athletics to pageantry was not easy for Rogers. She had to first temper her mind instead of her body and learn to reinvent her dream. She calls the mind the "hardest muscle to master." It was this mental conditioning and confidence that helped Rogers compete against forty other women from all across the country and come out triumphant.
To those who feel that the beauty contest is outdated, Rogers gives a wise response. She says that winning the pageant has given her a platform from where her voice will be heard. And that is true. With her achievement, the world has started thinking differently about what constitutes beauty, about women, about people of African origin. That is her true victory.
By accomplishing so much just by being herself, this daring young woman has given wings to the dreams of many, many girls all across the world.