Growing up in Japan, Ariana Miyamoto had been taught that light skin and thin features were the most attractive. The other Japanese kids bullied her ruthlessly for being brown.
Her Black father taught her that her skin was beautiful – so why was she so hated for it?
She didn’t know that Japan’s hatred of mixed-race children was deeply linked to Black soldiers during World War II. But that shouldn’t matter! Would she always be judged for what she looked like instead of who she was?
When a mixed-race friend died to suicide, she decided she HAD to confront racism head-on.
She defiantly entered the Miss Universe Japan pageant! But soon a barrage of racist insults and threats flooded her email. She couldn’t leave the house without someone calling her slurs.
But that didn’t stop her.
Despite the hate, she WON Miss Universe Japan! Miyamoto was the first biracial Miss Universe Japan winner, and she went on to represent Japan in the Miss Universe pageant, making the Top 10.
As she crossed the stage, she remembered the cruel laughter of classmates. But she had the last laugh!
Miyamoto used her platform to start “a revolution” confronting racial stereotypes.
We can use whatever means we have to fight for our own positive self-image – and the power of that challenge to the system can change the world!