Black women across the world are being recognized as the royalty they are.
On Saturday, Jamaica’s Toni-Ann Singh was crowned as Miss World 2019 in London.
The St. Thomas native’s crowning achievement joins a historic group of black women—2019 Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, 2019 Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris, 2019 Miss America Nia Franklin, and 2019 Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi—who took home top titles in beauty pageants this year.
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According to Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner, Singh became the fourth Jamaican to be crowned Miss World behind Carol Joan Crawford in 1963, Cindy Breakspeare in 1976 and Lisa Hanna in 1993.
“This feels like a dream. I’m so grateful,” the 23-year-old Florida University graduate told British media personality Piers Morgan upon receiving her crown from last year’s winner, Vanessa Ponce of Mexico.
“Whatever it is you see in me, thank you. I’m ready to get to work.”
After her win, she told reporters that she plans to use her platform to help women and their children, Reuters reported.
“I want to make a change that’s sustainable. So if we’re talking women…it needs to be something that will make sure that their children and their children’s children have a different value of life,” she said.
Pageantry is “so much more” than vanity for the aspiring doctor, who reportedly holds degrees in psychology and women’s studies and has designs to enroll in medical school soon.
“There’s no way I could chalk it up to just being about beauty, because that’s the last on the list, honestly,” Singh—who described herself as “a changed woman”—said.
“It’s OK to celebrate things like beauty and attributes like strength and those things. But this is so much more,” she said while hugged her proud parents, Jahrine and Bradshaw.
Singh won the Miss World Jamaica crown in September. There, she said she will continue advocating for women. “I believe women are the lifeblood of our community. So, I will continue to inspire and work with them, so they understand just how great their potential is.”
On Twitter, the beauty queen paid tribute to young girls of similar backgrounds who want to make a difference.
“To that little girl in St Thomas, Jamaica and all the girls around the world - please believe in yourself,” Singh tweeted.
“Please know that you are worthy and capable of achieving your dreams. This crown is not mine but yours. You have a PURPOSE,” she wrote.
During the 69th competition, which was broadcast internationally, Singh belted out a rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.”
Singh beat 111 other contestants representing different countries.
The runners up included Ophély Mézino from France and Suman Rao from India.
Miss Nigeria Nyekachi Douglas, who placed fifth, immediately jumped and screamed with joy in reaction to Singh’s crowning achievement.