DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty ImagesFor the first time ever, the crowns in five major beauty pageants — Miss Universe, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, Miss America and now, Miss World — are all held by black women.
Over the weekend, 23-year-old Toni-Ann Singh from Jamaica was crowned Miss World 2019 and joined the growing group of black women making history as reigning winners of major pageants.
“I was shocked,” said Singh in an interview after her win. “I had to take a moment to say, ‘They said Jamaica, they said Jamaica, so that means you and that means get out there!'”
Singh’s win comes less than a week after 26-year-old Zozibini Tunzi from South Africa was crowned the winner of Miss Universe 2019.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News prior to Singh’s win, three of the four pageant winners — Tunzi, joined by Kaliegh Garris, Miss Teen USA 2019, and Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA 2019 — spoke about what it means for all of them to represent other black women and pave the way for women of color across the world.
“I think there are times where I am disappointed, because people will sometimes comment on our social media,” said Kryst. “And they’ll say, ‘Why are we talking about your race? Like, you guys are just four amazing women.’ Like, yes, we’re four amazing women, but there was a time when we literally could not win.”
For decades, a moment like this was not possible. In its first 30 years, black women weren’t even allowed to compete in the Miss America pageant.
Nia Franklin was crowned Miss America 2019 at last year’s pageant. Miss America 2020 will be crowned in ceremonies this Thursday, December 19.
Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.