Miss Panama: How a Black woman made history in Panama

Gloria Karamanites didn’t just win a pageant when she was crowned Miss Panama. She made history.  

Gloria Karamanites became the first Black woman to be crowned Miss Panama in 1980.

On the verge of winning the crown, pageant officials orchestrated a last-minute manoeuvre to obstruct her path to victory, by demanding that she answer an obscure legal question.

Gloria was forced to confront systemic racism but her Afro-Panamanian community rallied around their “Queen” to defend her efforts to represent their country.

A film by Lamar Bailey Karamanites, David Felix Sutcliffe and Pascale Boucicaut