Racism in the beauty industry or anywhere else is wrong, yet it’s so hard to address. Australia’s beauty pageants have had run-ins with racism in the past. Things seem to be moving in the right direction, but it hasn’t been an easy road.
A first-time just happened
Yes, positive steps are happening, and pageants are becoming more inclusive. One obvious sign this movement still needs work is perfectly illustrated by 2019’s Miss Universe Australia winner. She is Priya Serrao, and she’s the first Indian-born Miss Universe Australia.
The fact that this is the first time something like this has happened in the country shows the need for more progress. Yes, of course, Serrao accomplished something great, and she’s helping Australia take steps into the future, but it’s still sad to see how little the country has moved forward.
Embarrassing but true
One way to move forward is to admit how prevalent racism is. In 2018, a few of the Miss Universe contestants in this country were caught in a big scandal, which the CMC lawyers can relate to given the scandal they were involved in. Women in these pageants should showcase the best in everyone, but the video footage showed something different.
It shows former Miss Universe, Francesca Hung, laughing along with other contestants at their fellow contestant’s poor English. Hung didn’t say anything about the tasteless jokes, but laughing was enough to get her in trouble.
The scandal was pretty big, but Hung has been doing her best to explain her actions. She doesn’t want to be canceled; she wants to grow from this experience. Hung is of Chinese descent, so she knows a thing or two about racism herself. Racist comments against her have shaken her to her core, so she feels bad about what that video captured.
Beyond the Miss in beauty
Australia also seems to be taking things beyond the “Miss” in beauty pageants. The Mrs. Universe pageant is taking things to the next level even though it’s going to be doing things virtually because of the pandemic. The pageant is open to divorced, married or widowed women.
The women in these pageants don’t have to be young. What matters is that they’re beautiful. Four Australian entries are Filipino. They were born in the Philippines, yet they moved to Australia, becoming successful citizens. These women make their native country and adoptive home proud of their accomplishments.
Australians must feel proud to say that four of their Mrs. Universe pageant entries are women of color, especially after some of the horrors they’ve seen in this world regarding racism. No doubt the people of this community and Australia as a whole are wishing these girls all of the luck in the world.
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A glimmer of beauty and hope
Australia’s big beauty pageants began to showcase the diversity of the country because small communities demanded it. Various communities in Australia have been starting their own beauty pageants.
Yes, they are small, but they’re organized, and they help with name recognition. Once these girls win enough, their beauty and talent become nearly impossible to deny, which is how some of these girls make it to bigger contests. The smaller contests give some of these girls their first taste of the pageant world and give them hope.
Sometimes, a little hope and encouragement are all one needs to take the next step. This world is pretty challenging even without racism. Australians should make sure to support local beauty pageant movements if they want to continue to see this type of positive growth in the beauty pageant world. This is especially true now after so many industries have taken such a massive hit because of Covid-19.
Progress may take some time, and it can require some tribulations, but it’s worth it. Australians are seeing this progress happen in front of their TVs and in their communities, and hopefully, there’s more to come.
Feature image: Mrs. Universe Australia 2020 – Maryrose Salubre, Mrs. Universe Australasia 2020 – Kristine Tootsie Aseron Santos, Mrs. Universe Oceania 2020 – Olivia Rosete Wheeler, and Mrs. Classic Universe Philippines 2020 – Ceres Calizo Ledesma | Source: Facebook
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