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BEYOND MISS WORLD-AN ELECTRONIC CONVERSATION WITH JENNIFER HOSTEN.

 
Three cheers to you Cousin Jennifer
The fairest of all that is what you are
Charm and mannerism
With poise and magnetism
And stepping in style
With a lovely smile
Oh, how we love Cousin Jennifer
And we are all very proud of her
She is the most beautiful
Yes, the most wonderful
The most beautiful girl in the world.

 The Mighty Sparrow, "Jennifer"

 Socrates: A man put me in difficulty by asking me more or less this question with great arrogance. "Tell me, Socrates, how do you know which things are beautiful and which are ugly?"

 -Plato, Hippias Major (or What is Beauty).

  
Jennifer Hosten's capture of the 1970 Miss World title occurred just as the "second wave" of feminism began to
hit its stride. Significantly, the birth of this second wave of feminism was heralded by a fiery protest -what the mainstream media took to portraying as a bonfire of bras-at the 1968 Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City.
For the New Feminists, the beauty pageant was the glitzy emblem of women's oppression.

 Ms. Hosten will shrink from making the claim, but it is fairly safe to say that her victory magnified our dot on the world map and probably helped to undermine the racial fantasies tenanted in the hard heads of South Africa's
Apartheid rulers who sent two contestants to the 1970 show-one white, one "coloured". The coloured South African was first runner-up to Jennifer.

The Miss World victory was of course a huge personal triumph for the then 22-year-old Ms Hosten. It represented
both Arrival and Departure. Arrival because the title of " most beautiful girl in the world" opened many gilded
doors to international celebrity; Departure because the lofty heights of international fame furnished other vistas
to success and self-fulfillment.

Ms Hosten carried out her Miss World duties with dignity and in the years following her 12-month reign she got
married, served as Grenada's High Commissioner to Canada, raised two children, worked as Canadian diplomat in
Bangladesh, and as a technical adviser on trade to the St Lucia-based Organization of Eastern Caribbean States
(OECS):we concede that this does not read very much like the career path of a former Miss World.   

And nearly forty years following her 1970 coronation Jennifer returned to that glittering night in London, where
she invoked her Miss World victory only to transform it into a backdrop against which she recounts her story. She tells this fascinating story (with some help from husband Shaun) in an autobiographical book entitled Beyond Miss World.

We heard that Ms Hosten was preparing to hit the road to promote her book, so we got in touch with her and asked
for an interview. She responded rather promptly, " no problem".

What follows is the transcript of an electronic conversation between Jennifer Hosten (JH) and Caldwell Taylor (CT)

             

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