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The Classics

Yvonne White commands beauty show from start to finish

Published:Friday | June 9, 2023 | 7:15 AM
The beauties making final appearance at the Sheraton on Saturday, June 6, 1964.

The crowd burst into applause and cheers every time the Miss Olympia contestant touched the stage. The audience was first intrigued by her physical beauty and charm but were totally captivated by her intelligence and eloquence.



Beauty Nyasaland Contest

The winner: mixture of beauty and brains

“It’s a wonderful pleasure for me to represent my country and I’m very thrilled,” these were the words that flowed from the lips of the pretty 20-year-old beauty queen, YVONNE WHITE, (“Miss Olympia”) after she was crowned “Miss Jamaica 1964” for Nyasaland, at 1:45 on Saturday night at the poolside of the Sheraton Kingston Hotel in the presence of over 500 persons.

Miss Whyte, third of five children, is the daughter of Mrs Rebecca White of Port Antonio and the late Mr George White, Inspector of Police.  She is the secretary to Mr Jim Patterson, Fishing Tournament in Port Antonio.  The tape reveals her lovely figure 36-24-38, standing 5’6”, and tipping the scale at 1281bs.  She is a past student of Titchfield Secondary School and a holder of a Senior School Certificate. This reveals a beauty with brains.

The second runner-up was 22-year-old Millicent Hinds, “Miss Yellow Cab,” representing Trelawny.  She is a stenographer at the UWI.  Her measurements are 35-24-37, height 5’1½”, and weight 114 1bs.  The third prize went to Joan Young, “Miss Beacon Newspaper,” St James’ queen.  She is 18 years old, and her statistics are 36-24-36, stands 5’6”, and weighs 105 1bs.  She is a stenographer at the St James Parish Council.

In his welcome address, Dr. M.B. Douglas, President of the Council on Afro-Jamaican Affairs and the “Miss Jamaica 1964 Beauty Contest Committee”, said the contest, “the first of its kind to be launched in Jamaica,” was one of the most successful contests ever held due to strenuous work by the Managing Committee and its auxiliaries in the parish capitals in selecting a “Miss” to represent each parish.

Emcee Eric Coverley, after introducing the Ministers of Government and other VIPs, the Mayor of the Corporate Area, Councillor Balfour Barnswell, said that the promotion of the beauty contest was not only to exhibit intrinsic physical beauty, but to stimulate an awareness of pride among its members.  He further said that the contest was not only selecting a beauty queen, but also an Ambassador to Nyasaland to contribute to warm ties of friendship between both countries.

The parade

Mazie Manning, (Miss St Thomas), was absent due to sudden illness. The women first paraded in bathing suits, and each was warmly received by the audience, particularly Yvonne, the winner.  She wore a white bathing suit with matching shoes, and as she gracefully walked ‘down the aisle’, her male admirers’ whistles were like the sound of sirens in addition to prolonged cheers.

During the intermission when the girls changed into evening gowns, there was entertainment by local singer Hortense Ellis, singing “Down the Isle,” who did a splendid job and had an encore.  This was followed by a cabaret with Mackie Burnett on his drums giving the African beat to an African Shambo – dancing on broken bottle -, and the limbo by Beverley and Wally, Caribbean entertainers.  Supplying background music was Carlos Malcolm and his Afro-Jamaican Rhythms.

Like a queen

The girls’ final appearance was in evening gowns, and like a queen, all looked very elegant.  The majority chose white outfits.  Again, the spotlight was on Yvonne.  The spectators acclaimed that she “dresses like a queen, walks like a queen, and smiles like a queen.”  She was as ‘cool as a cucumber,’ and with not the slightest show of nervousness.

She was garbed in an ankle-length gown of white chiffon lined with satin, the bodice featuring folds over the bust with a sequined cummerbund around the midriff.  The flaring skirt carried a rose of sparkle chiffon at the back of the waist.

After long deliberation, the judges were introduced by the chairman, Mr Freddie Smith, and then the announcement of the winner and runners-up was made.

There was, of course, some argument from the audience expressing disappointment when Joyce Burke (“Miss West Indian Sportsman”) was not placed and only got fourth prize, and Norma Blair (“Miss Manchester”),  who got a special prize.

For best figure and best smile, Yvonne was crowned by Miss Claire Campbell, daughter of the Governor General and Lady Campbell.

Among those to congratulate the new beauty queen was her mother.

Senator Ken McNeill, Yvonne’s co-sponsor, announced that her other sponsor, Mr. A.  D. Scott of Residential Hotels Ltd. had left his hospital bed and had taken up residence at the hotel overlooking the pool for the night’s occasion.  Mr. Scott and his wife were thanked by other speakers for such a wonderful act in being present for the crowning.

The Acting Prime Minister, the Hon. Donald Sangster, escorted the queen to the dance floor to the playing of the song “Around the World” and “Rucumbine.”  They were joined by the other contestants, partnered with other Ministers and guests.

Among the many prizes donated to the winner is a trip to represent Jamaica at Nyasaland Independence Celebrations in July.  She will be chaperoned by Mrs  Christine Davis, secretary of the Contest Committee.  She will stop in Ghana and Nigeria as official guest, and then visit the World’s Fair in New York.  Second- and third-prize winners will get a trip to Puerto Rico and Haiti, respectively.

Special prizes were awarded to Beverly Savory for the most cooperative girl and best legs and Claudette Bailey for the most industrious.

Mr. LLoyd Distant, a member of the committee, thanked the many firms and individuals who donated prizes.

Mrs. June Crawford and Alva Ramsay did a very good job in assisting in the well-organized contest.

Other judges were Miss Vida Menzies, Mr. Wheatley Norman, Messrs. Vin Vinette and Eric Fraeter.

Make-up was done by Studio Girl of Hollywood.

A gate prize of a weekend for two at the Playboy International Club, Oracabessa, was won by Mrs V. Steer of 5 Melbourne Road.


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