A number of chance encounters prompted Grenadian-born Jennifer Hosten to enter and ultimately win the Miss World contest in 1970, one of the most controversial years in the history of the competition, for not only did South Africa send two candidates, one white and one black (the latter selected as first runner-up), but one of the judges was Grenada’s then-Prime Minister. The first Grenadian to ever wear the Miss World crown, Jennifer embarked on a journey that would introduce international communities to her country.
In her first chance encounter, Jennifer, who was a flight attendant on Caribbean Airlines, was asked to pose for a photograph with Miss Guyana, who was en route to New York. “Because we had chatted during the flight, she was interested to know whom Grenada was sending to the Miss World competition. I had no idea, but expressed that it was unlikely that Grenada would enter at all. I was very flattered, even laughed, when she suggested they send me.”
While tidying the plane after the flight, Jennifer found an abandoned newspaper, which in itself is not unusual, except this particular one – The Voice, an official Grenadian publication – announced that the nation would, for the first time, be sending a candidate to the contest. “I thought it coincidental but three weeks later, on a trip home to my parents in Grenada, a representative of the Tourism Office approached me to ask if I would enter the Miss Grenada competition. I was fortunate to win that competition, and even more surprised, and delighted, to win the global crown.”
In her year of reign, Jennifer toured worldwide USA army bases with comedian Bob Hope. In some cases, she made her way to secret destinations fraught with security concerns, such as Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City). Through her global travels as a flight attendant, and previously as a broadcaster with a strong affiliation to the BBC in England, Jennifer was well acquainted with having to explain where Grenada was. “For many, it was the first time
they had heard of Grenada.” In several respects, she became one of the unsung ambassadors of her nation.
“Grenada is incredibly beautiful, and still relatively unspoilt. Many islands are flat, but Grenada has a volcano, beaches, waterfalls, and rainforests all in one concentrated space. Today, small island-countries like Grenada can be challenged in the way they balance development and maintaining the green space we enjoyed as children.”
It’s a lifestyle that Jennifer returns to annually for at least six weeks, not just as a touchstone, but because she also owns and operates Jenny’s Place, a self-catering inn on Grenada’s three-km, white-sand Grand Anse Beach.
“When I bought my property, it consisted of just a bungalow on a small piece of land. But it was on the island’s best beach – what a wonderful location! It is now a small inn or guest house with a restaurant, bar, and gazebo.”
Today, Jenny’s Place is well-established, and offers apartments and suites. “We pride ourselves on offering very personalised quality service, which has been recognised repeatedly by the travel community,” notes Jennifer when discussing her highly-trained staff.
“Grenada is friendly and safe. As a former British colony, its language is English. On top of this, its climate is ideal throughout the year. This, combined with its pure nature, draws people back time and time again – including myself!”