Social media was buzzing on Sunday night as viewers watched the 66th annual Miss Universe Pageant to see who would be next to clinch the illustrious title. Hosted by Steve Harvey, the pageant was broadcasted live from The Axis at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
While each of this year’s 86 contestants turned heads each round, one in particular, Davina Bennett set the internet on fire when she stepped out onto the Miss Universe stage confidently rocking her natural hair in an afro. Representing Jamaica, she was by far a viewer favorite and a trending topic on Twitter as users praised her for redefining beauty pageant standards by embracing her natural hair during the competition.
Talk about a major beauty pageant power move!
It’s no secret that perception of black hair and acceptance has been a real struggle for woman of color in society, especially in media representation.
This particular issue is why historic platforms such as The Miss Black America pageant were created—to reverse the negative images of women of color and celebrate Black beauty. Afros were actually a common style for those contestants competing in the Miss Black America pageant, with the first few winners actually donning ‘fros similar to Bennetts’.
Representation matters and reinforcing positive, confident and graceful stereotypes and attitudes of women of color who embrace their natural hair, like this, on an international stage is a major win! Bennett proved that a ‘fro is just as beautiful as pressed, extended, and sewn-in locks.
The broadcasted Miss Universe 2017 pageant only featured the top 13, the top 9, the top 6, and then the top 3. Bennett and her signature ‘fro broke what most consider “conventional beauty standards”, as she advanced each round to be named a top 3 finalist (2nd runner up) by night’s end. Miss South Africa, 22-year-old Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, went on to be crowned Miss Universe, while first runner-up was Miss Colombia, actress Laura Gonzalez.
A few fun facts about Bennett:
- The 5’10 beauty was crowned Miss Jamaica on August 26th at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.
- The 21-year-old model and entrepreneur is pursuing a degree in marketing at the University of the West Indies.
- She is passionate about giving back and is the founder of the Davina Bennett Foundation for the Deaf. She created the foundation to train and inspire models who are deaf, but it has now grown to include a wider cross section of Jamaica’s deaf community.
The beauty also documented her entire Miss Universe Pageant journey on her Instagram page. Check out some of the flicks below!