BEYOND MISS WORLD-AN ELECTRONIC CONVERSATION WITH
cheers to you Cousin Jennifer
fairest of all that is what you are
poise and magnetism
stepping in style
how we love Cousin Jennifer
are all very proud of her
the most beautiful
the most wonderful
most beautiful girl in the world.
Mighty Sparrow, "Jennifer"
A man put me in difficulty by
more or less this question with great arrogance. "Tell
me, Socrates, how do you know which things are beautiful
and which are ugly?"
(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
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
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
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
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,
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
What follows is the transcript of an electronic
conversation between Jennifer Hosten (JH) and Caldwell