Meet Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers, a new Miss Universe Great Britain

August 8, 2018 - miss universe

It’s mid-afternoon in a swarming cocktail bar by St Pancras Station, and Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers, a reigning Miss Universe Great Britain, is sitting in a tiara and a cincture holding onward about her passion for sudoku. “I started doing it with my late grandmother as a fastening activity and eventually it became a robe that we couldn’t resist,” she says. Now, she practises each day.   

Puzzles might be an surprising entertainment for a 25-year-old yet Kentish-Rogers is used to violation a mould. Last month a law connoisseur and former Team GB athlete, who grew adult in a British abroad domain of Anguilla in a Caribbean, became a initial black lady to win a manifestation in a 66-year history. She was also a initial competitor to take partial with dreadlocks after refusing to take down or straighten her healthy hair. 

There’s no esteem income for Miss Universe GB yet if she wins a tellurian pretension in a Phillippines in Dec she will accept a income of $20,000 a month and to live in a oppulance New York apartment, lease -free. 

Even yet she is carrying a outrageous container with outfits for photoshoots she wears stilettos and is immaculately groomed, with ideal posture. She sits adult straight, adjusts her sash, that she has left on after a photoshoot, and says a greeting to her win has been “startling”. 

After a final her Instagram following rocketed from 700 to 7,000 in usually dual days and she was flooded with messages from women, “some congratulating me, some observant we was a purpose indication for their daughters”. She feels “happy” and “privileged” to be a purpose model. “I wish everybody to feel important, so we wish to be a purpose indication for all women. we consider they’re all inherently kind and desirous and infrequently women usually need support to strech their full potential.”

Although a colour of her skin wasn’t a cause going into a foe she says she now recognises a significance of what her win means to other black women, “especially in this post-Brexit, post-Windrush era”. Indeed, a win is timely. 

In June, Oprah Winfrey became a initial black womanlike businessman to underline in Bloomberg’s list of a world’s 500 richest people and final week Rihanna became a initial black lady to beauty a cover of British Vogue’s Sep emanate in a 102-year history. Tyler Mitchell also done story this month by apropos a initial black photographer to fire an American Vogue cover, that will underline Beyoncé on a Sep issue.

Kentish-Rogers says she’s vehement to see an augmenting array of black purpose models for women: she cites Naomi Campbell “because she’s so perfectionist — she doesn’t take no for an answer”, and singer Thandie Newton, who in May became a initial vital black womanlike impression in a Star Wars films. Does she consider black beauty standards are changing? “There’s unequivocally been a shift. I’ve seen black women embracing themselves for who they are and being many some-more unapologetic. People are saying: ‘This is me’.”

Standards might be changeable yet beauty pageants have not historically been famous for their diversity. Donald Trump, for example, famously owned a Miss Universe organization before he became US President and was pronounced to discharge finalists who were “too ethnic”. Kentish-Rogers gives a meaningful sigh: “People move it adult all a time… But we consider it’s a harm to concentration on who owns a craving since you’re discounting a voices of so many women in that conversation. My faith is that what we’re doing and a causes we’re furthering merit so many some-more air-time. It is a beauty manifestation yet it’s so many some-more than that.” 

This year’s contestants gave TED Talks and lifted income for a women’s empowerment gift A Sisterhood, that supports victims of poison attacks in India and supports FGM centres in a UK. She has hosted workshops in schools about respecting women, a theme she feels sexually about after her practice doing work knowledge as a counsel and in athletics. “Sometimes we felt my masculine colleagues didn’t wish to listen to me. we found myself carrying to say, ‘Listen, stop, I’m speaking’. To them, that reads: ‘Oh, she’s bossy’. That’s where my summary of honour came from.” 

She hold salsa dancing evenings to fundraise for A Sisterhood and hopes to continue ancillary a gift brazen of a final foe in December. “I know it seems like usually a glitz and glam during a final theatre yet there’s piece both previously and after,” she insists. She and her 30 associate competitors were put by a array of tasks during a three-day final in Newport, Wales, one of that enclosed walking on potion (she reassures me no one was harm — apparently a pivotal is to “be mindful”). 

Does she consider beauty pageants have a future? “Absolutely. we consider it’s flourishing and starting to sprint, since people are saying a value,” says Kentish-Rogers. “I wouldn’t classify a British open as being unequivocally into pageants compared with other nations, so hopefully this is a reconstruction for them. People have to come and knowledge it first-hand.” She hopes her win will inspire other black women “to step brazen and get into a race”.

Her sporting denunciation is fitting: Kentish-Rogers always dreamt of competing for Great Britain — usually not in a bikini. Growing adult a in a family of masculine cousins on a plantation in Anguilla (“there were 12 of us in a residence — we had no personal space”), she was a “tomboy”, climbing trees and personification football. She fast grown a aptitude for athletics, starting as a 400m curtain and after switching to a heptathlon. 

(Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd)

In 2014 she competed for Anguilla in her second Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. She recalls a impulse all changed: “It was a final day and a second to final event. we was sketch a pike behind over my shoulder and for some reason we forgot about my knee and continued throwing a pike — so my knee popped out.” Her manager pronounced if she if she didn’t stop competing she would harm both of her knees over recovery. “It was substantially one of a many unpleasant days of my life,” she remembers.

Her Olympic dream was over so she threw herself into a law grade during a University of Birmingham and embarked on a new kind of competition: beauty pageants. It’s an doubtful transition, yet Kentish-Rogers says a dual career paths are complementary. “In lane and margin a improved a viewpoint of your spine a some-more fit it becomes. It’s utterly identical in pageantry: your viewpoint is unequivocally important. It’s all about how we lift yourself, and we have to ready yourself mentally. You’re channelling your appetite into building yourself.” 

Her usually lament was training her ride not to hang out, a bequest from flitting a send baton. “My cousin calls it my lane thumb,” she laughs. 

Now Kentish-Rogers’s courtesy is on her subsequent personal best: winning a altogether Miss Universe pretension in a Philippines, after which, as a newly competent barrister, she skeleton to concentration on her authorised career. She feels strongly about assisting to tackle womanlike empowerment in a workplace and a gender compensate opening in sport, citing her heroes as Jessica Ennis-Hill, boss of a Supreme Court Lady Baroness Hale and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of We Should All Be Feminists. 

This evening, however, she skeleton to put her feet adult and watch something a small some-more indulgent: a manifestation film Miss Congeniality. “I watched it about 8 times in a week it came out,” she admits. “That’s my subsequent sequence of business: I’m going to watch it again now.” 

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