While some were tuned into the SAG Awards Sunday, many around the world were glued to their televisions to see who would be crowned at the 63rd annual Miss Universe Pageant in Miami.
It came down to the two fabulous ladies from Colombia and the USA. In the end, Paulina Vega of Colombia won the title, leaving the United States’ Nia Sanchez as the runner-up should Miss Colombia be unable to fulfill her duties as Miss Universe.
But the real news from the Donald Trump-owned pageant came with the top five runner-up announcements. Placing fifth was Miss Jamaica, Kaci Fennell. Although coming in fifth is a tremendous accolade, many in the audience were extremely upset and felt that Fennell was robbed of the title.
For those unfamiliar with the Jamaican model and beauty queen, according to her Miss Universe bio, she began her career as a model at the age of 19. In the three years since, she’s risen to international fame by winning the Miss Jamaica crown. Her career has allowed her to travel the world as a model. She considers herself a gifted chef with a passion for helping teach special-needs children. She’s also a key contributor to the Jamaican charity Style For Change, aimed at helping the country’s poor and victims of natural disasters.
When Fennell’s name was read as the fourth runner-up for the 2014 Miss Universe crown, a large section of the live audience can be heard booing the judges’ decision. Many immediately took to Twitter to express their belief that Miss Jamaica was robbed of the title in some way or another. Many believe the judges took issue with her hair, which she wore decidedly short compared to some of her international competition.
With the sponsor being a hair care company you just knew that #kacifennell wasn't going to get Miss Photogenic
— Stephen Gunter (@stephengunter) January 26, 2015
Others believe her race was a factor. As the Washington Post notes, contestants from 88 countries competed Sunday night for the crown, which was first given out in 1952. Since that time, only four black women have been given the Miss Universe title. In that same vein, others believe that the decision came down to a bias against small nations.
Still, the 22-year-old Kingston native is taking her position as fourth runner-up in stride. After the competition she tweeted a soothing message to her supporters.
Matters not what the outcome may be, because tonight marks only the beginning
— Kaci Fennell (@KaciFen) January 25, 2015
You can watch the shocking moment when the audience learned Miss Jamaica, Kaci Fennell, just barely cracked the top five:
CORRECTION: This article's headline originally implied that Fennell was the one being booed rather than the judges decision.