Janelle Commissiong was crowned Miss Universe 1977 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Commissiong was born in Trinidad and migrated to the United States at the age of 13. Commissiong spent 10 years studying in the United States, which includes a brief stint at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Following her time in the United States, Commissiong returned to Port of Spain in 1976 and was selected to represent the Island as Miss Trinidad & Tobago at the Miss Universe competition the following year.
Commissiong was the first woman from the Caribbean and the first woman of African ancestry to receive the title Miss Universe. Commissiong was also the first black contestant to receive the Miss Photogenic and Miss Congeniality awards in the Miss Universe competition.
As the first black Miss Universe, there was heightened interest in Commissiong’s reign. During her reign, Commission advocated for both women and black rights. Following her work as a title holder, Commissiong received her country’s highest award – the Trinity Cross. Additionally, three postage stamps were issued in her honor. Commissiong continues to work in her country's tourism industry and sits as the current chair of a newly-formed Tourism Trinidad Destination Management Company.