Given the competitive nature of beauty pageants and the enthusiasm surrounding them, it's only natural to expect that things can get heated online. However, some pageant fans took it too far.
On Tuesday evening, Miss Universe Canada Nova Stevens posted on Instagram a black-and-white photograph of herself, collaged with a collection of racist comments trained on her skin color. Unfortunately, all of them were in Filipino.
"With all that has been going on in the world [including] ‘black lives matter’, ‘Asians are human’ you would think this would bring us together. Instead, looks like some people are still stuck in their ignorant and racist ideologies," Nova wrote in the caption.
"You know what, it makes me really sad," Rabiya said. "I saw the post of Nova earlier today and I really feel sorry for her because nobody deserves to be in that position."
Rabiya herself is no stranger to bashing online, so she was able to empathize with the plight of her peers. "I actually personally sent messages to Amanda [Obdam], to Nova saying sorry. Because these hate speeches that we see online, this is not a reflection of who we are as Filipinos,” she said.
Miss Universe Canada later on posted a statement, addressing the intent behind her now-controversial post. "My post wasn’t intended to incite more hate; rather shed light on the toxicity that sometimes hails from fans (from all over the world). The last thing I want is for anyone to experience hate so please don’t bash or generalize the Filipino fans; not all are racist," she wrote. Nova also apologized to her Filipino fans, and reminded everyone to spread love and enjoy the pageant. "Root for the girls, they deserve to be celebrated and spoiled with lots of love. They’ve worked so hard. Give them the best gift you can give anyone; if you’re not sure what that gift should be, I’ll help you out. Give them love. Nothing else. Just love," she concluded.
"We are there not just to compete, not just to bring home the crown," she told Zozibini. "But we are there to celebrate who we are as women. And that's the powerful message that we send to the world."
Rabiya Mateo, along with Nova Stevens and Amanda Obdam, is one of the 74 hopefuls vying of for the Miss Universe 2020 crown. The candidates will be competing on May 16, 2021 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, United States, where Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa will crown her successor.
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