Beacon of the day | Following Criticism, Khdrea Jones Moving To ‘Re-define’ Beauty

Miss St Catherine Festival Queen, Khdrea Jones, planning to start campaign targeting women and girls who think they don’t meet the definitions of ‘beauty’ used in pageant circles.

Newly crowned Miss St Catherine Festival Queen, Khdrea Jones, is committed to using her reign to challenge the perceived traditional beauty standards of the Caribbean.

She told The Beacon that she is excited about her win, adding that she is eager to grace the national stage to represent not only her parish but also females who are discriminated against based on their natural physical appearance.

“For a while now it’s something that I wanted to do,” she said. “As a girl of a bigger size, there are some things that people tell you that you can’t do or shouldn’t do or people will look at you funny if you do them.”

Outgrowing the limitations is among factors that resulted in Jones’ success on June 5 in the parish finals of the Festival Queen Competition, hosted by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC).

The competition focuses on talent and culture. However, some members of the public usually have a lot to say about the contestants’ physical appearances.

Jones stated that she and some of the other contestants, for example, have been on the receiving end of negative criticism from persons who think women of certain sizes do not belong in pageants or competitions of the sort.

“Somebody said on social media that all of the contestants [in the St Catherine competition] are fat and all are unattractive,” Jones added. “I don’t think that’s something that person had to say.”

She further stated that, while she has not allowed the vitriol to affect her, she is concerned for women and girls who are not as self-assured.

JCDC Parish Manager (St Catherine), Vanessa Patterson, supports the campaign against stereotypes.

In light of that, the St Catherine festival queen has opted to revisit the list of projects that she decided to execute throughout her reign. It now includes a campaign to reassure and empower women who do not meet the socially constructed idea of beauty.

The campaign targeting females of all different backgrounds will include school pop-ups and social media sessions.

“I want to empower young ladies of all sizes, colours and backgrounds to do whatever they set their hearts on,” Jones told The Beacon.

She added: “Young ladies who might be of a bigger size like myself should not shy away from leadership; they should not shy away from doing pageants; they should not shy away from representation, because they have a seat at the table too.”

Jones campaign will also focus on projects that will impact youths and the elderly whom she thinks are often neglected.

Taking a stand on issues is not uncommon for Jones who, from as early as childhood, was adamant that her difference in size would not deter her from achieving her goals.

“I remember always wanting to talk on the mic, wanting to dance and stuff like that. Being the chubby girl, it wasn’t typical for persons like me to do those things. But I wanted to do them nonetheless,” she recalled.

Jones’ decision to tweak her campaign to motivate women who are considered less beautiful is being lauded by JCDC Parish Manager (St Catherine), Vanessa Patterson.

Miss St Catherine Festival Queen Khdrea Jones, flanked by first runner-up Osheeka Buchanan (left) and second runner-up Kavelle Bromfield

“I am quite agreeing with her because this is the time when persons are having different negative outlooks and values and attitudes have broken down so much. Her campaign would be relevant at this time once it can help somebody, motivate and bring a positive outlook to other people,” Patterson added.

Jones, an aspiring journalist, attended Spanish Town Primary School and St Jago High.

She grew up at Lauriston in St. Catherine where she developed a deep appreciation for Jamaica’s culture through her grandaunt.

Jones recalled channeling that appreciation into the performing arts in which she was actively engaged. While attending primary school, she participated in several speech and drama festivals hosted by the JCDC.

Jones was also an active member of St. Jago High School Performing Arts Society. She represented that school in JCDC competitions at both the parish and national levels.

Her involvement in the arts, over the years, has helped to shape her confidence and positive beliefs.

By Jamar Grant, Jamaica Beacon Journalist


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