Miss Japan, Miss Israel And Other Black Beauty Queens From Places That Might Surprise You

March 25, 2015  |  
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Japan surprised us all earlier this week when they crowned black and Japanese contestant Ariana Miyamoto as the first black Miss Nagasaki. And Ariana isn’t the only beauty queen proving that black is beautiful all over the world. Check out these black beauty queens from places that might surprise you!

Ariana Miyamoto

Newly-crowned Miss Nagasaki Ariana Miyamoto is making waves as the first “hāfu” — the Japanese word for Japanese people of mixed heritage — Miss Japan.

But while the reaction to the new beauty queen has been mixed, Japanese filmmaker Megumi Nishikura recently told NBC, “The selection of Ariana Miyamoto as this year’s Miss Universe Japan is a huge step forward in expanding the definition of what it means to be Japanese.”

Yityish “Titi” Aynaw

Israel surprised everyone in 2013 when they crowned Yityish “Titi” Aynaw the first Miss Israel of African descent.

Aynaw, who is an Ethiopian immigrant, says that she’s “not ashamed to say that there is racism in Israel; it’s a problem, but it’s a problem that Israel is working on and it’s something that Israel is trying to fix and it’s actually improving.”

Chloé Mortaud

In 2009, France crowned the first Miss France winner to have dual citizenship: French and American. Chloé Mortaud’s American citizenship came from her mother who moved from Mississippi to France. Her father is French.

Rachel Christie

England crowned their first Miss England in 2009. Notoriously outspoken, Christie caused controversy shortly after being crowned by saying. “You hear black kids say: ‘I can’t do anything with my life. I live in a ghetto.’ I say: ‘Well, get off your backside and get out of it. Stop making your ethnicity an excuse.’

Unfortunately, Christie was later forced to relinquish her crown after assaulting another pageant contestant.

Juliette Powell

In 1989 Juliette Powell, who is also biracial, became the first black woman to win Miss Canada.

Malou Hansson

In 2002, Hansson — who is Ghanian-Swedish — became the first black Miss Sweden.

Veronique de la Cruz

Born in Guadeloupe, Vernoique de la Cruz became the first woman of black ancestry to be named Miss France in 1993.

Sonia Rolland

France doubled down on diversity in 2000 and elected the first African Miss France. Sonia Rolland was born in Rwanda, but fled to France with her French father during the Rwandan conflict.

Iman Kerigo

Kenya crowned a Kenyan native, Iman Kerigo, as the first black Miss Norway in 2010.

Laura Beyne

Laura Beyne was crowned Miss Belgium in 2012. Her father is Belgian and her mother is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Tatiana Silva

Tatiana Silva was technically the first Miss Belgium of African descent when she was crowned in 2005. But Silva, who’s father is from Cape Verde, said that she did not ethnically identify as African even though her father is from the continent.

Janelle Penny Commissong

In 1977, Janelle Commissong, Miss Trinidad, broke boundaries by becoming the first black Miss Universe.

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