Miss Jamaica 1962 Marlene Murray still proud of Ja
“To my shock, I won,” says Miss Jamaica 1962, Marlene Murray.
She had entered the competition on a whim with the encouragement of an uncle who told her it would be a great opportunity to meet new people and enhance her life. The thought seemed appealing, so she entered, and to her surprise secured the crown in the year that Jamaica would become independent of Britain.
Crowned at the age of 19, she is now 78 and living in Pembroke Pines, Florida, but remembers her coronation and Jamaica’s first Independence “as clear as day, with all the dignitaries”. She won the title of Miss Jamaica in July and by August 6, Jamaica was a free nation.
“It was a fantastic thing that we had gotten our Independence. I felt like I had won the lottery because there is no other person that has the experience of being Miss Jamaica while we got our Independence,” she states in a telephone interview with The Sunday Gleaner. “What is for you is for you.”
A retired cosmetologist, she says of Jamaica, “You live there but you don’t see the beauty. You have to travel to see what you have”. She says it wasn’t until she ventured away from Jamaica’s shores and lived elsewhere that her appreciation for the Land of Wood and Water grew even more. “Now that I’m living in the States, I can tell you that Jamaica is a fantastic country,” she adds.
Of her experience as a Jamaican pageant winner of that time, she says, “It has been a beautiful thing for me. I have lived up to it. I have not had a regret in my life and have never forgotten my past and I am very proud to be who I am – Jamaican.”
Murray is still fond of pageants and believes young ladies should learn the etiquette that the competition provides and says if she were ever to move back to Jamaica, etiquette is what she would teach.
The cancer survivor and now an artist is adored by all who have the opportunity to meet her, and as her god-daughter Anjanette Mercer, puts it, “She is still as beautiful as she was 60 years ago, and that beauty is not just on the outside.”
With regard to Jamaica celebrating 60 years of independence, Murray says, “I feel proud. I feel proud of Jamaica. We should all be proud of Jamaica.”