Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, as the adage goes, and for the head of a black rights group in France, the winner of this week’s Miss France pageant was apparently not beautiful enough to win, because she’s “white as snow.”
Agence France-Presse (AFP) quotes Louis-Georges Tin, president of the CRAN (Representative Council of Black Associations) who on Monday slammed the judges of the competition for their choice of 19-year-old medical student Marine Lorphelin. Tin said in a statement: "Miss France is as white as the end of year snow on the steeples of an eternal France."
Tin, who released a statement together with creator of Miss Black France Fred Royer, also complained that there weren’t enough contestants who are African and North African immigrants, even though of the 33 women competing, eight were ethnic minorities, and among those, six from France’s Pacific and Caribbean territories, according to AFP’s count.
"The failure to represent the contemporary French population in an event such as this is obviously serious," they said in their statement. "It amounts to denying the very existence of French people of African origin."
AFP reports the black leaders also accused the judges of harboring an anti-Muslim bias:
"In the antiquated world of Miss France, blacks apparently can only come from overseas departments," the CRAN statement said.
"As for Frenchwomen of north African heritage, they were 'represented' by only one candidate who was quickly eliminated (too Muslim perhaps?)."
France is home to around five million Muslims, most of them of north African origin.
The competition took place on Saturday in front of an audience of more than 4,000. Lorphelin, a brunette from Burgundy, is in her first year of medical school, but will be busy outside of her studies as she will represent France in the Miss World and Miss Universe pageants in 2013.
She edged out the first runner-up, Hinarani de Longeaux, who is Miss Tahiti.
More photos can be seen on the contest’s website here.
Video from the pageant can be seen here in this French report from TF1: