Posts Tagged ‘Beauty Pageants’

Nomalanga: Miss World announces contestants list-what about the judges?

Friday, April 20th, 2012

It is being reported that a list of 50 winners of national beauty pageants around the world was made public. These 50 are the first of what is expected to be a total of 120 women all vying for the Miss World 2012 title. What I find interesting is that we always know so much about the contestants but so little about the judges.

It makes sense that in order to protect the integrity of the judging process, the international beauty pageants would not disclose the names of the judges but I also think it is reasonable to expect that after the pageants, there should be full disclosure. If there is no transparency in the judging process, we can never be certain that the winner was chosen fairly.

My experience at Mrs World 2011
led me to write a letter to the Mrs World Pageant owners, specifically because the pageant lacked both transparency in the judging process and there was a lack of diversity in the selection of the judges as well. Of the nearly 60 women that entered the Mrs World pageant, there were no less that 12 women who were either African or identified themselves as being of African decent and yet, not one single one made it into the top 14. Of the women that the judges selected to go into the top 14, only Mrs Vietnam (a gorgeous and phenomenal woman) made it in. The problem with this is that the only non-white judge on the judging panel was a Vietnamese woman who is also a former Mrs Vietnam.

I’m saying all this to make one basic point, we need BOTH transparency and diversity in judging international pageants. If pageants are going to define beauty by narrow, euro-centric standards, then it may be best for those that do not fit into those narrow stands to forgo entering the pageants all together. Although pageants are about more than how the women look, it is next to impossible to deny that how the women look is certainly a critical factor in deciding who walks away with the title.

The main reason why I wrote the letter to the owners of the Mrs World pageant is because I believe that the Mrs World did not select a diverse pool of judges and in so doing, they opened most of the Mrs World contestants to an unfair pageant experience.

One thing that I absolutely love about the Miss World (not MRS) pageant system is that their judging system is such that they always have a finalist from every continent or region of the world. That being said, in their history, they have only, to my knowledge, ever had two Black women win the title. Statistically, that is not high enough and I hope that in the coming years, we will see an improvement. Being a finalist and or runner up is great, but black women deserve to wear the crown as well.

Nomalanga: Why I wrote a letter to The Mrs World Pageant Owners

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

These are the reasons that I wrote the letter:

1. Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and skin tones. The judges selection of the Mrs World 2011 finalists did not reflect that.

2. An all white judging panel is less likely to see the beauty in a black women and other non-white women than a panel of judges that has a mix of both white and non-white judges.

3. I believe that because of my letter, the next time that the Mrs World organization holds a pageant, they will diversify their judging panel or they will have a judging system in place that will ensure that they select finalists from very continent or region of the world.

Side note: If they don’t do what I mentioned on point number 3, above, I will be writing them another letter and publishing that as well!

These are NOT the reasons why I wrote-the letter:

1. Mrs. America, April Lufriu did not deserve to win. -In fact, I actually believe that in spite of all the inconsistencies of the pageant, she probably would still have emerged as the winner!

2. I was mad that I did not win. -I have entered more pageants than I can count and have never actually won a national or international title and have never complained because there was a fairness, diversity and transparency in the judging system. I have been a first runner up twice and a finalist in most of the pageants that I entered and each and every time, I graciously congratulated the winner, thanked the organizers and then went on with my life.