Janelle Commissiong

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Janelle Commissiong
Janelle Commissiong, ACF 2014.png
Janelle Commissiong-Chow as Deputy Chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Development Company
Janelle Penny Commissiong

(1953-06-15) June 15, 1953 (age 65)
Height1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)
TitleMiss Trinidad & Tobago 1977
Miss Universe 1977
Beauty pageant titleholder
Hair colorBrown
Eye colorBrown
Miss Trinidad & Tobago 1977
Miss Universe 1977
(Miss Photogenic)

Janelle Penny Commissiong (born June 15, 1953) is a Trinidadian politician, model and beauty queen.


Commissiong migrated to the United States at the age of 13, and returned to Trinidad and Tobago ten years later. After winning the Miss Trinidad and Tobago title, she went on to be crowned Miss Universe 1977 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

In New York City, she studied fashion at the Fashion Institute of Technology, but returned to Port of Spain in 1976. The following year, Commissiong was selected to represent the Island at the 1977 Miss Universe competition in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

She was elected Miss Photogenic four days before the final, becoming the first black woman to win these awards in Miss Universe history. On July 16, in the National Theater of Santo Domingo, Commissiong was crowned Miss Universe, attracting international attention as the first black winner in the chronology of Miss Universe.

During her reign, she was an advocate for black rights and world peace. Commissiong was awarded the Trinity Cross, the country's highest award, in 1977. Three postage stamps were also issued in her honour.

Commissiong was named chair of the newly-formed Tourism Trinidad Destination Management Company in October 2017. From 2012 to 2015 she had served as vice-chair of its predecessor agency, the Tourism Development Company.[1]

She married Brian Bowen, founder of Bowen Marine, who died in an accident in November 1989. After his death, she married businessman Alwin Chow. She studied at Bishop Anstey High School.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Penny Commissiong heads new tourism agency". looptt.com. 4 October 2017. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Israel Rina Messinger
Miss Universe
Succeeded by
South Africa Margaret Gardiner