And the Winner Was…

Miss Jamaica Kaci Fennell participates in the swim suit competition during the 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE Pageant on Jan. 25.

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How do you judge feminine beauty? Must a woman have flowing locks to be called beautiful? Must her figure conform to a set of preconceived measurements? Must her voice be well modulated, her manner graceful, her teeth perfect and her eyelashes long and sweeping?

Do you have an image of the ideal woman in your mind? Would you know how to judge 88 beautiful young women from around the world? Would you honestly be able to say this young woman is more beautiful than that one?

I know I couldn’t. To me, they are all beautiful, each in her own way.

Faced with the impossible job of ranking the Miss Universe competitors, the judges triggered a barrage of dissent. Here’s how Us Weekly reported it:

Miss Universe fans were in an uproar Sunday, Jan. 25 when Miss Colombia Paulina Vega was crowned 2015’s pageant queen, with audible boos heard as fan favorite, 22-year-old Miss Jamaica Kaci Fennell was named fourth runner-up. Quickly becoming the impetus behind the hashtag #MissJamaicaShouldHaveWon, Fennell proudly declared Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest person, and Bob Marley, her country’s greatest worldwide contributions during the pageant’s Q&A portion.

The magazine’s web site published an interview with Kaci (top photo) this week, and she certainly sounds like a winner to me. There was no disappointment in her remarks, no rancor. She made me proud – once again – to be a Jamaican.

Here’s how she responded when asked about her hair:

She’s got short hair and, no, she doesn’t care! During Sunday’s pageant, Fennell acknowledged her Halle Berry-esque hair, and in doing so, challenged the traditional notions of beauty. “I don’t have long tresses like everyone else, I’m just representing myself and that’s what beauty pageants are all about,” she told the crowd, including host Natalie Morales and judge Lisa Vanderpump. “You don’t have to look a certain way … and I feel like I represent that.”

 Obviously, I can’t reproduce the entire interview in a blog. But you can read it for yourself on the Us web site.