Beauty pageants have, over the years, usually been a breeding ground for the perpetuation of the Eurocentric concept of beauty; stick-thin women, pale skin and flowing straight hair.
Contestants the world over have had to be subject to various body modifications in order to successfully compete in and win beauty pageants.
These beauty standards have also, in part, been reiterated by advertising entities, employing the services and images of actors and models who conform to these standards in a bid to increase sales, consequently placing these Eurocentric features on a pedestal and making them an aspiration for women and girls all over the world.
In 1970, Jennifer Hosten became the first woman of African ancestry to be crowned Miss World. Seven years later, Janelle Commissiong became the first woman of African ancestry to be crowned Miss Universe.
Both women won the respective pageants and can be seen in pictures with straightened hair, in accordance with the conventions at the time. After these women, there was (and still is) a lot to be done for non-white women in the world of pageantry.
For some time now, the buzz around inclusion, diversity and political correctness in all facades of our dealings have led to open conversations on beauty standards and ideals of the socially constructed notion of physical attractiveness that all women should strive to achieve and maintain.
Women of African descent are making headway in pageantry, so to speak, wearing their natural hair in pageants unapologetically and winning crowns.
Below is a list of five of such women who won significant beauty pageants while wearing their natural hair: