Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers made history on Saturday.
Kentish-Rogers, 25, is the first black woman to be crowned Miss Universe Great Britain since the pageant’s inception in 1952. The newly crowned beauty queen hails from Anguilla, a British territory, and will go on to represent Anguilla and the United Kingdom at the international Miss Universe competition, which will take place in the Philippines in December.
“It’s really humbling and I think it’s also a privilege for me to become the first black woman who is crowned Miss Universe Great Britain,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I believe that this is the direction that the pageant has been going in for the last couple of years because Britain is a diverse nation, we are a multicultural society and it is time that that diversity is seen on a stage where other young black girls and girls of all ethnicities can see that this is something for everybody not just some of us.”
Kentish-Rogers competed in Newport, Wales, against 40 other women from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British overseas territories.
Kentish-Rogers, who was crowned Miss Anguilla last year, is also a competitive athlete, winning a silver medal in heptathlon in the Central American and Caribbean Games and a bronze medal in the CARIFTA Games.
Before her win, Kentish-Rogers told Pageants News that she believes she is the first woman to compete in Miss Universe Great Britain with locs.
“To my knowledge, I am the first dreadlocked woman to walk across a Miss Universe Great Britain stage and that is absolutely most exciting to me,” she said.
The national director for Miss Universe Great Britain, Paula Abbandonato, told BuzzFeed that she is “absolutely delighted” by Kentish-Rogers’ win.
“I took over this role in 2008 and I can honestly say there is no better gift [than] having our first black winner to celebrate 10 years in the job,” she said. “Dee-Ann is a true role model for all women of all skin colours and with her dynamism off the stage, coupled with her presence on the stage, I genuinely believe Great Britain has a chance at the Miss Universe crown this year.”
Fans congratulated Kentish-Rogers on Twitter after she was crowned Miss Universe Great Britain.
“I loveeee when people break ‘beauty standards’, especially my fellow dark skin women. Our uniqueness should be celebrated, not merely tolerated,” one Twitter user wrote.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers' surname.