SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE. Jennifer Hosten went to the 1970 Miss World pageant on a lark, representing the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada, and came home with the crown and a place in history. What was supposed to be a light-hearted affair, with a parade of the world’s most beautiful women vying for the attention of the judges and comedian/host Bob Hope, turned out to be the most controversial, politically-charged, and consequential pageant ever. Women’s liberation activists blew up a BBC broadcast truck and stormed London’s Royal Albert Hall in an attempt to sabotage the show, which they deemed a “cattle market.” They threw rotten vegetables in the auditorium and hit Bob Hope with a flour bomb. When order was restored, Jennifer Hosten made history as the first women of colour to win the title. The broadcast introduced its massive audience to both a militant new brand of feminism and a new ideal of beauty, one in which the whole world could share. Ms. Hosten followed her triumph with a successful career as a diplomat and public servant in Grenada and Canada. Her book tells the stories of the epochal 1970 contest and her life with grace and an amused modesty. Her story has been purchased by the makers of The Crown and is the basis for Misbehavior, a 2020 film starring Keira Knightley. Rising British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who plays Jennifer Hosten, is contributing a foreword to the book.
Jennifer Hosten was Miss Granada and then Miss World in 1970, and she has since served as a diplomat and civil servant in Granada and Canada.