First Black Miss Universe Great Britain, Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers, 27, becomes gov’t minister in Anguilla

Francis Akhalbey Jul 6, 2020 at 08:00am

July 06, 2020 at 08:00 am | Women

Francis Akhalbey

Francis Akhalbey | Staff Writer

July 06, 2020 at 08:00 am | Women

Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers is a member of the 7-member cabinet announced by new Premier, Dr Ellis Webster -- Photo via @deeannkentishrogers on Instagram

Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers may only be 27, but she has already chalked up several successes across various fields including beauty pageants, sports, politics and law.

A trailblazing and very ambitious woman, Miss Kentish-Rogers, who was born in Anguilla, wrote her name in the history books in 2018 when she became the first Black Miss Universe Great Britain since the pageant’s inception in 1952. That wasn’t the only feat the then newly crowned, dreadlocked, beauty queen achieved that historic night.

 “To my knowledge, I am the first dreadlocked woman to walk across a Miss Universe Great Britain stage and that is absolutely most exciting to me,” she said in an interview after the pageant in 2018.

A law graduate from Birmingham University, Miss Kentish-Rogers also had a brief stint as a heptathlete, representing her home country of Anguilla at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and 2014 respectively.

To add to her already impressive portfolio, the barrister recently secured a seat at the Anguilla House Of Assembly after defeating former Premier, Victor Banks, in the Caribbean island nation’s June 29 general elections. Banks, 72, had been a member of the House of Assembly since 1981, 12 years before the former beauty queen was born.

Miss Kentish-Rogers, who is a member of the new ruling party – the Anguilla Progressive Movement – has also been appointed as the minister for social development and education, making her a part of the 7-member cabinet that was announced by new Premier, Dr Ellis Webster, after he was sworn into office following their victory in the general elections.

In an interview with the The Mail on Sunday, Miss Kentish-Rogers, besides sharing her excitement, touched on her campaign and how her opponents tried to portray her as nothing more than just a beautiful woman. According to her, being a beauty queen rather spurred her to delve into social development.

“It’s just lazy prejudice,” she said. “It was definitely there during the campaign. There was a feeling that I’m not prepared, that because of my past in Miss Universe, I couldn’t qualify as an opponent. But it was actually becoming Miss Universe GB, rather than a barrister, that stirred me to take a more active interest in social development.

“Many people see beauty pageants as the antithesis of feminism, but I used my role to highlight female genital mutilation and acid attacks.”

Miss Kentish-Rogers said she and her Anguilla Progressive Movement will work towards tackling corruption on the island nation. For now, however, she has set her sights on helping the British overseas territory get back on its feet as it suffers a financial crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reaction after becoming the first Black Miss Universe Great Britain

Miss Kentish-Rogers was crowned Miss Universe Great Britain in 2018 at the age of 25, making her the first Black woman to win the popular beauty pageant since it was launched in 1952. This was after she was crowned Miss Anguilla in 2017. She represented both Anguilla and Great Britain at the Miss Universe 2018 pageant.

“It really hasn’t sunk in – it feels a bit surreal, I feel like I’m walking on an invisible cloud right now, I’m really buzzing,” she said after her historic win.

Expressing her pride in being the first black woman to win the crown, she acknowledged that the pageant has changed over the years. 

She said to Buzzfeed: “I believe that this is the direction that the pageant has been going in for the last couple of years because Britain is a diverse nation, we are a multicultural society and it is time that that diversity is seen on a stage where other young black girls and girls of all ethnicities can see that this is something for everybody not just some of us.”

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