At the 2017 Miss Universe pageant, Miss Jamaica Davina Bennett became the talk of the night for wearing an Afro. She stood out among the sea of blown-out, straight styles you typically see on beauty queens and was celebrated across social media for proudly wearing her natural hair, especially considering how we still hear stories about women being told their curls are "inappropriate" at work and school. Even if Davina ultimately didn't win the crown (she was in the top three, named second runner-up), seeing her on stage wearing her Afro throughout the competition was a major win for inclusivity.
The 23-year-old model and philanthropist has been outspoken about wanting to shatter existing Eurocentric beauty standards. "I did not win but I got what I was seeking," she wrote on Instagram following the competition, "I stand as the first Afro queen to have made it thus far."
In an interview with Jamaica Observer in September, when asked which beauty stereotypes needed to be challenged, she responded, "Short, natural hair which I feel should be embraced more, and not ignored."
Twitter had a field day watching Davina and cheered her on.
— Shannyboo (@MixxGoddess) November 27, 2017
— ZoÃ« (@zoheywood) November 27, 2017
They also commented on the significance of her wearing an Afro at Miss Universe and how it was a major step for representation of Black women.
Congratulations to our Miss South Africa for winning #MissUniverse. However, I think that the runner up (Miss Jamaica) did an amazing job. She represented her country very well and I am sure there is a little black girl out there with an Afro who knows that she can do it. pic.twitter.com/UxVkhBXWfr
— Ctrl+P (@PumezaZibi) November 27, 2017
Not impressed with these results but still really happy Jamaica came in the top 3. I hope girls all over the world were watching and realize that their natural hair is BEAUTIFUL just the way it is and is miss universe material ðŸ˜¢ðŸ'' #MissUniverse #Jamaica
— Zandra Gomes (@ZandraGomes) November 27, 2017
Miss Jamaica defied the Western beauty standards at pageants. All black womxn wear weaves at these things, and its become the norm. She came with an afro and spoke about how she wants to see diversity in the mainstream. People booed when she was picked 3rd cos she should have won https://t.co/riMZUXtlSe
— BLACK BARBIE ðŸ' (@Makaveli_Minaj) November 27, 2017
Ahead, admire some photos of Miss Jamaica looking radiant on stage last night.