By Fabrice Pierre-Toussaint
Toni-Ann Singh is the newly crowned Miss World 2019. She is the fourth Jamaican woman to hold the title and the first black woman to hold the title in 18 years after Miss Nigeria of 2001. Singh was born in Morant Bay, Jamaica and immigrated to the United States at the age of 9 living in Florida. She attended Florida State University in Tallahassee. She graduated from there with a degree in psychology and women’s studies. In 2019, Singh competed in the Miss Jamaica World 2019 where she won the title, and was given the right to represent Jamaica in the Miss World pageant.
She left for London in November 2019 to take part in the Miss World competition. She placed in the top 40 of the model competition, giving her direct entry into the top 40 semifinals. Finals night was held on 14 December at ExCel London, where Singh advanced from the top 40 to the top 12, and eventually to the top five. From there on out, she was crowned the winner, besting first runner-up Ophely Mezino of France and second runner-up Suman Rao of India. With her win, Singh became the fourth Jamaican woman to hold the title,the last one being Lisa Hanna who was crowned Miss World in 1993.
According to Reuters, she promises to use her position to help women and their children. “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 also stated “It’s OK to celebrate things like beauty and attributes like strength and those things …” as she hugged her proud parents, Jahrine and Bradshaw. “The fact that Miss World is won by a black person is very, very significant to us because it represents a lot in terms of our culture, in terms of how far the world has moved on,” said audience member Christine McDermott, who lives in London. Music has always been an important aspect of her life and her rendition of Whitney Houston’s ‘I have nothing’ during the competition won her the segment and newly found fans. She has considered singing professionally, but chose to study medicine instead. She is an aspiring doctor but has not closed the door on music.Singh’s win marks an iconic year for beauty pageants. It is the first time that all top pageants Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, Miss America, Miss Universe and Miss World have crowned black women as their winners. She was crowned by last year’s winner, Vanessa Ponce of Mexico. The previous weekend, Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa was named Miss Universe after excelling through rounds of swimsuit, evening gown struts and answering questions about social issues. According to Toni-Ann, no one is above her mother, she credits her for constantly pushing her to pursue her dreams. At 23 years old, she is the second youngest pageant winner from Jamaica, the previous one having been 18 years old.