“Due to precedents there weren’t any women on pageant stage with their naturally curly hair. You were always told that wearing your natural hair was unprofessional. It didn’t look clean on stage. And that was actually my fear.” That was Miss USA 2017 Kára McCullough speaking during her interview with BUILD Series post her Miss USA victory. Kára won the Miss USA crown wearing her natural hair and was crowned by Deshauna Barber who was wearing her afro during the event. In those few seconds of the crowning moment, wearing natural hair got normalised in pageantry. Of course it wasn’t the first time for a pageant contestant to flaunt her natural hair on stage. In the past, many Miss Universe contestants have sported their curly or textured hair on stage. But having a Miss USA with curly hair meant that the girls having different hair textures now stood a chance in Miss Universe System. A few months later Miss Nevada Teen USA, Alexis Smith, chose to wear her natural hair at the Miss Teen USA and ended up being a runner-up. This solidified the direction Miss Universe Organisation is heading into. “Confidently Beautiful” wasn’t just a representation of body diversity anymore, it now meant diversity of all kinds including hair textures. This year many front runners of Miss Universe pageant have curly hair. Monalysa Alcantara was recently crowned Miss Universe Brazil 2017 making the already tangled battle of curly haired beauties at Miss Universe 2017 even tougher. The growing popularity of curls amongst pageant contestants also seems like a strategy for improving the chances of making the cut. While some girls are actually sporting their natural hair, some are getting perms only to help them stand out. Not that it’s wrong, but it surely means that the group shots of pageant contestants are going to look a lot different than previous years in near future. Here’s a look at the curly haired beauties of Miss Universe 2017:
Alicia Aylies won the Miss France pageant in December 2016 and kick-started the natural hair trend for Miss Universe 2017. Since she was crowned months before Kára’s Miss USA win, we can consider her the flag bearer of beauties with curls. Alicia has been considered as a front runner for Miss Universe 2017 right from the day she was crowned Miss France. Now she will be bidding for France’s back to back victory at the Miss Universe 2017.
Kára McCullough’s Miss USA victory was a topic of discussion for various reasons. It was a back to back victory for Miss District of Colombia, back to back victory of an African American contestant, her final answer at Miss USA stirred up some controversy and also she was wearing her natural hair during the pageant. Kára had told in many of her interviews that she had straightened her hair for her first two attempts at Miss DC USA. She felt more confident during her final attempt because she was being completely true to herself. Below those beautiful curly hairs lie brains of a scientist. There’s no doubt that Kára will be a tough contestant to beat at Miss Universe 2017.
Monalysa Alcantara was a unanimous choice of the judges during Miss Universe Brazil 2017. The 18 years old business administration student gave an excellent performance during the national pageant. One can draw many similarities between the personality of Monalysa and Kára McCullough. It will be interesting to see who amongst the two will shine brighter at Miss Universe 2017.
Shanaelle Petty won the Miss Universe Croatia crown in April 2017. This 6 feet tall beauty was born in the United States to an American father and Croatian mother. During her national pageant, she also won the miss photogenic award. Although she is not considered one of the front runners for the crown, things may shake up after the contestants actually arrive at the Miss Universe venue.
Gleisy Vera Noguer won the Miss Bolivia Universo crown defeating 24 other finalists during the national finals. Although she won her national title wearing curly hair, her recent instagram posts show that she has already straightened her hair. If she decides to go back to her winning look from national pageant during the Miss Universe 2017, she will be joining the newly formed sisterhood of beauties with curls.
The trend of natural or textured hair has surely captured the global pageantry by storm. But diversity doesn’t just mean curly hair. It will be very promising if short haired girls also get their share of fame at Miss Universe. After all length, colour or texture of hair doesn’t really matter. What really matters is that you are confidently beautiful with a heart.
Author: Jinendra Aherkar