The Sweet Nod Gugu Mbatha-Raw Made To Miss World 1970 For Misbehaviour

Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Misbehaviour
(Image credit: (Walt Disney Studios))

The fall season is prime time to learn the unsung true stories of our history, and Phillipa Lowthorne’s Misbehaviour tells the story of a landmark moment for the British Women’s Liberation Movement back in 1970. During the Miss World competition that year, activist Sally Alexander (played by Keira Knightley) and a number of others disrupted the pageant shortly after Bob Hope (Greg Kinnear) made sexist comments on stage during the broadcast.

Misbehaviour tells the perspective of the Women’s Libbers, but also Miss World herself, Jennifer Hosten. The Morning Show’s Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays the 1970 crowned winner of Grenada, who became the first Black woman to be crowned during the pageant and amidst these protests. When speaking to CinemaBlend during an exclusive interview, Hosten told us how the actress played tribute to her for the film. In her words:

My daughter came with me to Grenada and Gugu came with her mom and we spent just short of a week getting to know each other. She recorded me and I told her some of the challenges I faced during the Miss World contest. But she said to me, ‘Do you think we could borrow your dress?’ and I said ‘Have the dress!’ I sent the dress to her and she wore the dress without any alterations and it fit her. She wears it in the movie, for about one brief scene. It was a really terrific outfit and it stood out then as it still would today.

Jennifer Hosten said Gugu Mbatha-Raw got in touch with her, asking if they could meet in her home country of Grenada to get to know each other, even though Hosten currently resides in Canada. The women spent almost a week with each other, giving the actress preparation to portray the Miss World winner.

What’s amazing about their time together is how the real Miss World 1970 ended up giving Gugu Mbatha-Raw the exact dress she wore at her ball after winning first place in the global event. The actress wore it in a brief scene in Misbehaviour without the dress needing any alterations or changes. A perfect fit!? It sounds like it was meant to be.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw went on to be featured as the writer of the foreword in Jennifer Hosten’s recollection of the Misbehaviour moments in Miss World 1970: How I Entered a Pageant and Wound Up Making History, which came out earlier this year. It’s a sweet story to hear the actress and real person she was playing got along so well, and even gifted her the dress that she wore on her special night. Though as Jennifer Hosten also said during our interview, it wasn’t always hers:

My evening dress was stolen the night I won the Miss World contest and in order to make my grand appearance at the ball which followed my win, I had to borrow the dress from someone to attend the ball. So that’s a story in and of itself that didn’t make the movie.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw is currently at work on the Disney+ Loki series with Tom Hiddleston. You can check out what Keira Knightley told CinemaBlend about her time with activist Sally Alexander for Misbehaviour as well. Misbehaviour is available to rent or buy on VOD now. Check out what’s coming out next with our 2020 release calendar here.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.