I’ve been super excited about Ariana Minamoto, aka Miss Universe Japan, ever since she started making headlines. My country of culture is extremely old skool (*cough*overly-traditional*cough*), so to have someone who’s hafu or of mixed race represent them is HUGE. It’s on par with Obama becoming President of the United States.
As some of you know, I work on beauty pageants. It’s not a guaranteed gig, but I’ve been lucky enough to work on eight of them in the past four years. The show is a fun one, but I haven’t been this excited since my very first pageant.
This girl is absolutely gorgeous, but I’m sure your first reaction is she doesn’t look Japanese. Next to me, it’s fair to say she looks more American than I do. But when you hear her talk and see her gestures, she’s one hundred per cent Japanese. And what kills me is that I’d probably have an easier time getting around Japan than she would, just because I look like the majority. In many interviews, she admitted that she was bullied for her skin color; when she was little, other kids didn’t want to hold her hand because they thought her color would rub off onto them.
I’m proud of her for having the courage to go through the pageant circuit. I’m thrilled that I got a chance to take this picture with her (although it made me miss my grandma – she loved it when I sent her pics of the current Miss Japan). And I’m grateful she’s given me a new perspective on being a minority.