Miss World 1970MISS WORLD 1970
MASTER CLASS
PART TWO




Presented by
Donald West,
Chair of the Department of
Miss Word Studies





ODDS

The Sun had a photograph gallery of the 58 contestants spread over its centre two pages. Joyce Hopkirk, one of the tabloid's reporters covering the pageant, had a low opinion of them. "I couldn't really describe them as the pick of the beauty crop," she wrote. "I can name a couple of our top London models - give them a pound or two - who could paralyse this lot, and walk off with the crown."

"But it's harmless fun, and makes a good TV programme," Miss Hopkirk conceded. She liked Miss Nicaragua, who caught her eye with "a marvellous, bubbly personality." And according to the photographers, if the contest was judged on femininity, rather than physical beauty, she would be No. 1.

Here are more of Miss Hopkirk's choice comments on the delegates:

"Miss Israel, a healthy-looking blonde, is one of the tallest contestants. Miss Australia and Miss United Kingdom are more trad-type queens - very luscious and toothy. Miss Guyana, although a stunner, hasn't got a hope. She hates being stared at. Least, that's what she told me. But then, she's very sensitive and brainy, which would make being a top beauty a trying business."

"A man would be unlikely to turn down a date with the Misses South Africa, Grenada, and Portugal. But flushed with the triumph last year - I predicted the winner, Miss Austria - my vote goes to the porcelain-pretty Miss Sweden."

One of Miss Hopkirk's colleagues, a guy named Templegate, reported that "talk around the Miss World stables suggests that Australia is the one they all have to beat." In his opinion, "Miss UK will not be far away at the finish either. These eyes would have a devastating effect on me if I were one of the judges. And the 36-24-36 gives her a well-trained look. On the short list goes Miss Austria, Miss Israel, dark-haired Miss Venezuela, and Miss South Africa ... My final selection: Miss Australia, with Miss UK or Miss South Africa for second."

SP, another London betting agency, quoted its odds:

A British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) broadcasting van was parked outside the Royal Albert Hall in preparation for the telecast which would begin at 9:20 in the evening. Before the contest began, a bomb exploded under the van in an unsuccessful attempt by one of the militant groups to prevent the contest from being televised. There were no injuries, but the 5,000 people entering the hall to the sold-out event had to run a gauntlet of militant demonstrators shouting and gesturing wildly at them from behind police barricades.


CREAM OF THE CROP

The 15 semi-finalists were from all around the world. Of the 8 African entries, 2 were chosen - Miss Africa South (Pearl Jansen) and Miss South Africa (Jillian Jessup).

Three out of 22 Europeans were picked - Miss Sweden (Maj Johansson), Miss United Kingdom (Yvonne Ormes) and Miss Yugoslavia (Teresa Djelmis).

Four out of 11 delegates from the Americas made it - Miss Brazil (Sonia Guerra), Miss Ecuador (Sofia Monteverde), Miss Guyana (Jennifer Wong) and Miss United States (Sandra Wolsfeld).

Five others were from among the 13 delegates from Asia and the Oceania - Miss Australia (Valli Kemp), Miss Ceylon (Yolanda Ahlip), Miss India (Heather Faville), Miss Israel (Irith Lavi) and Miss Philippines (Minerva Cagatao).

One of the 4 Caribbean Isles delegates got into the semi-finals - Miss Grenada.

Just over half of the semi-finalists - eight - were from among the 21 delegates from the British Commonwealth, as against seven out of 37 non-Commonwealth delegates. This meant that 38% of the Commonwealth contestants made it into the semi-finals, but only 19% of the others did. Exotic, long-haired Miss Ceylon and blonde Miss UK were the only ones of the nine former Miss Universe delegates to do better at the Miss World contest. Among those overlooked by the Miss World judges was Miss Lebanon, Georgina Rizk, who would become the next Miss Universe.

After the interview, evening gown and swimsuit segments, the fifteen semi-finalists were narrowed down to seven finalists:

  1. AFRICA SOUTH - Pearl Jansen
  2. BRAZIL - Sonia Guerra
  3. GRENADA - Jennifer Hosten
  4. ISRAEL - Irith Lavi
  5. SOUTH AFRICA - Jillian Jessup
  6. SWEDEN - Maj Johansson
  7. UNITED KINGDOM - Yvonne Ormes

RUCKUS

Comedian Bob Hope, who was to crown Miss World, made his appearance on the stage. It was the cue for about 50 women and a few men in the audience to disrupt the pageant. They stood up with placards and shouts of "Women's liberation!" and "We are liberationists. Ban this disgraceful cattle market." Some of them blew whistles, forcing many in the audience to hold their hands against their ears. Others hurled smoke bombs, stink bombs, ink bombs and leaflets onto the stage. One of the ink bombs splattered an official.

A demonstrator threw a heavy soccer match noisemaker at the judges, among whom were actresses Joan Collins and Susannah York. The rattle just missed one of the other judges, a singer from Denmark known as Nina, and landed beside the foot of American folk singer Glen Campbell. The stench of smoke bombs engulfed Royal Albert Hall until pageant officials quickly carried the bombs out. None of the judges and contestants were injured. The audience of 5,000 booed the demonstrators.


MISS WORLD 1970

Bob Hope and the semi-finalists fled the flour bomb-splattered stage during the disorder, and returned after burly security guards ejected the demonstrators. "Anyone who would try to break up an affair as wonderful as this has got to be on some kind of dope," Bob remarked with a shake of his head.

The runners-up were announced. Fourth was Miss South Africa, third Miss Sweden, second Miss Israel, and first Miss Africa South. Three hopefuls were left standing - Miss Brazil, Miss Grenada and Miss United Kingdom. Miss World 1970 was then announced: Grenada's olive-skinned Jennifer Hosten, a 22-year-old flight attendant and radio announcer with an "amazonic" figure of 36-24-38.

Two black women - Miss Grenada and Miss Africa South - were first and second at the pageant, the first time ever at a major international pageant. Twenty-three years later, this feat was repeated at the 1993 Miss World Pageant.

Jennifer Hosten was born and raised in St. George's, capital of the island of 120,000. She completed her education in London, studied broadcasting with the BBC and worked for its Caribbean service before becoming a flight attendant.

At the coronation party, Miss Hosten danced until dawn to celebrate her victory. She told newsmen she did not understand why demonstrators tried to disrupt the pageant. "I do not really know enough about what they were demonstrating against," she shrugged. "All I know is that it has been a wonderful experience competing for the Miss World title."


MAJORITY VOTE SYSTEM

Jennifer was one of the very few people happy about her enthronement as Miss World. Angry callers, upset that neither the winner nor the runner-up was white, jammed telephone switchboards on Fleet Street, London's newspaper district. The BBC was overwhelmed with protests about the judges' choice. The main complaint was the presence of Grenada Prime Minister, Sir Eric Gairy, on the judging panel. There were loud accusations of "rigging."

Some of the audience gathered in the street outside Royal Albert Hall after the pageant and chanted "Swe-den, Swe-den." Miss Sweden wondered how she lost the Miss World title. Six years later she was reported by one of her close friends to be still "sore about it and she can't help but think she was cheated out of it." Four judges gave first-place votes to Miss Sweden, while Miss Grenada received only two firsts, yet the Swedish beauty finished fourth.

Over the next four days, fury intensified over allegations the pageant was fixed so that Jennifer Hosten would win. On November 24, Julia Morley resigned as chief organizing director in protest. She rejected as "totally untrue" suggestions that Sir Gairy voted for Miss Hosten because she was from his own country. "I am deeply shamed at the allegations this man has had to face," said Mrs. Morley. "He is a honest, trustworthy person and it is unfair that he should be accused of rigging the contest or have any other ulterior motives. Perhaps I was just not the right person to organize the contest. I have had enough."

Sir Gairy considered Miss Hosten to be "outstandingly the best" among the contestants, but would not say whether he placed her first. "This is questioning my integrity," he said. "But if there had been any conflict in my mind I would have voted for the runner-up, Pearl Jansen."

To disprove the allegations, Eric Morley put the judging panel's ballot cards on view. During the 1950s, Mr. Morley created the "Majority Vote System" That was intended to eliminate the possibility of fraud and favouritism and to avoid any collusion on the part of the judges. Mr. Morley upheld it as the only voting system that is proof against corruption of any kind. Under this system, should any contestant fail to obtain a majority of first-place votes, the one with a majority of second place votes would win.

The ballot cards showed that Jennifer Hosten had many more place markings in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th positions over Miss Sweden and the other five finalists. Although Maj Johansson had four first-place votes from the panel of nine judges, she needed a majority to win. These four votes lost their value against the votes from the other five judges which placed her near the foot of the poll. Mecca's impartiality was vindicated and Julia Morley returned to office.

However, many sponsors and critics were still angry over the results. Many sponsors felt that the presence of Sir Gairy on the judging panel influenced the other judges "into making some courtesy gesture in at least awarding Jennifer token placings."


JENNIFER HOSTEN

Jennifer Hosten was acclaimed in Grenada as a national heroine, and less than seven months later, in June 1971, six commemorative stamps were printed in her honour.

During Christmas 1970, Jennifer joined Bob Hope on his annual tour of U.S. overseas army camps, and sang her way through "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" with Hope before "thousands of wolf-whistling American servicemen." She also appeared with Liberace in Australia and made personal appearances all over the world. Jennifer Hosten, with her regal bearing and quiet dignity, served as an excellent Miss World despite the controversy surrounding her victory.

After her year of office, Jennifer became a customer relations officer with Air Canada, married that airline’s executive David Craig and they lived in Bermuda until 1973, when they took up residence in Ontario, Canada.

In August 1978, Jennifer Hosten Craig was appointed High Commissioner to Canada from Grenada. At the ceremony in Ottawa, she said she would work hard to make Canadian tourists aware of what she considered to be the most beautiful of the Caribbean Islands. "Grenada and Canada have always enjoyed good relations," she said. "I will work to maintain that and to make Grenada better known as a tourist attraction in Canada." In November, 1978, she was a special guest at the Miss World pageant.

Comments?

SOURCES:

  • Vancouver Sun
  • The Province (Vancouver)
  • The Times (London)
  • Norfolk Ledger-Star
  • The Sun (London)
  • Sunday Mirror (London)
  • "Miss World: The Naked Truth" by Don Short

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