Blog do Henrique Fontes

Dedico esse espaço a relatos sobre minhas andanças cobrindo e produzindo concursos, outras paixões, como o futebol e o esporte em geral, ou quaisquer outros tópicos que me venham a cabeça. Espero que curta.

Minha foto
Local: São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil


Will Obama and Hamilton’s victories inspire MI & ME judges?

What were the odds that within less than three days the world would witness a black man becoming world champion at an elite sport such as Formula 1, and another black man would be elected president of the United States, becoming a symbol of hope for the entire world? Well, probably the odds for that to happen, although little, were larger than two black women being crowned Miss International and Miss Earth in the busiest pageant Grand Slam weekend in all times.

Lewis Hamilton and Barack Obama did what a couple of years ago was unthinkable, and proved that humanity is giving some significant steps to leave behind a plague called racism. Their victories showed that people finally start being recognized and appreciated for who they are, for what they have accomplished, regardless of the color of their skin.

However, in pageants we haven’t seen much change in that sense yet. In just a few hours a new Miss International will be crowned. A traditional pageant which in a couple of years will turn 50, it hasn’t crowned a single black African or Caribbean beauty so far (a black Colombian won the title in 2004). As a matter of fact, African participation in Miss International has been very limited throughout history.

If Miss International judges finally open their minds for diversity, this year a few standouts have the attributes to change this uncomfortable situation: Misses Aruba, Nuraisa Carelys Lispier, Miss Congo, Blanda Eboundit-Fatouma, and Miss Zambia, Chipo Mulubisha, would all make a wonderful Miss International. More than that, they would make history in Macau.

Unfortunately, it’s not likely to happen. The most we will see is one or two of them breaking into the semi-finals, and if lucky enough, the top 5. Favorites include the representatives of Colombia, Canada, Poland, Norway, Spain and Czech Republic, mostly blondes, all Caucasians.

Miss Earth, another pageant based in Asia which recently came to life and has been consistently growing in popularity, will crown its new titleholder on Sunday, in the Philippines. For a pageant born in recent times, we could expect the situation to be different, but it isn’t. In the 7 first editions of Miss Earth, only 3 black beauties reached the final stage of competition (about 10%). One, Kenya’s Winnie Adah Omwakwe, became Miss Earth “by default”, after Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Dzejla Glavovic, the actual winner, was dethroned.

Miss Earth 2008 presented the world one of the strongest groups of African stunners competing in any Grand Slam pageant in history: at least four of them stand a real chance to win or to be a runner-up.

Tanzania’s Miriam Odemba, a 25 year-old professional model, is on the top of list of most pageant-related websites’ favorites. She has all it takes to break the odds and become a phenomenal Miss Earth.

Add to that list Miss South Sudan, Nok Nora Duany, a tall and exotic Grace Jones’ lookalike whose presence in the pageant also means a political statement: she is not representing an independent state, but rather a region where recently thousands of innocent people were killed.
Superbly elegant Miss Rwanda, Cynthia Akazuba, the first woman from her country to participate in Miss Earth, could also place high, just like the lovely and vibrant Miss Botswana, Nametso Ngwako.

All that without mentioning Miss Nigeria, Uko Ezinne, who’s been getting some positive reviews after her last official presentations.

In Miss Earth, at least, one of them is considered a ‘hot favorite’, Miss Tanzania, right next to Misses Spain (the #1 favorite), Brazil, Greece, Romania and Philippines (who has won four preliminary awards which could’ve paved her way to becoming the first Filipino woman to be crowned Miss Earth).

Are these two beauty pageants ready to recognize that black is beautiful, and furthermore, that black candidates deserve much more than ‘pitty spots’ in the semi-finals? We can only hope that Obama and Hamilton’s accomplishments may have opened the eyes of Asian judges and pageant organizers, traditionally conservative people who go for the Barbie doll type in this kind of competition.

We shall wait and see if MI and ME can also change.
(foto: Miss Tanzânia / Terra)


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