Jennifer Hosten

Hosten au photo may 15
A cover for the Miss World 1970 movie book

Jennifer Hosten was a Grenadian radio announcer, a development worker, a Canadian diplomat, who earned two M.A university degrees. She also is the mother of two grown children and the grandmother of five grandchildren. She lives in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, outside Toronto, and retains her connection to Grenada and the Caribbean. 

Jennifer Hosten

Miss World 1970

How I Entered a Pagent and Wound up Making History

1970 was the last year of the Beatles and the first year of the supersonic Concorde—a time of new possibilities and social upheaval, and Jennifer Hosten, a young airline hostess from the Caribbean island of Grenada, found herself in the midst of it. After winning a Miss Grenada contest, she travelled to London for the 1970 Miss World pageant and arrived at Royal Albert Hall determined to make her mark. 

So, too, did members of the fledgling Women’s Liberation movement who chose that globally-televised moment to protest the sexual exploitation of women. They planted smoke bombs, stormed the hall, and chased comedian Bob Hope from the stage. 

By the end of the night, the world had been introduced to both radical feminism and a new ideal of feminine beauty. Ms. Hosten was the first woman of colour crowned Miss World. Miss World 1970 is the story of the craziest and most meaningful pageant ever. 

Her experience as a beauty queen is the subject of the 2020 film Misbehaviour, a delightful comedy starring Keira Knightley and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Jennifer. 

Ms. Hosten’s triumph in 1970 continued to open doors for her, including a post as Grenada’s High Commissioner to Canada. It was during this time that internal strife within the Grenadian People’s Revolutionary Government plunged her into the middle of a coup that would end in the murder of five members of the island’s ruling party. As a lone diplomat standing between the two warring factions in Grenada, she served until she was able to resign on a matter of principle. Her later journeys on the world stage on behalf of Canada included trade, diplomacy, and social justice assignments in aboard such as Ukraine, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. 

The book features historic photographs, movie stills, and a foreword by acclaimed actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw.