Earlier this month, France crowned 19-year-old Flora Coquerel as Miss France. Coquerel,whose mother is from Benin, beat out 33 other hopefuls. But not everyone in France was excited to see her win.
Coquerel’s victory came amid concern over a series of racist incidents in France, including slurs against the country’s top black politician, Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who has been compared to a monkey several times in recent months
After being crowned, Twitter was flooded with remarks like “ni**er,” “death to foreigners” and, “it would be good to see a bit of white in our country.”
According to French media, many claimed that her win was the result of president François Hollande’s ‘Black agenda’ and was just propaganda in regards to Nelson Mandela’s death.
But Coquerel didn’t let the negativity get to her. “I’m proud to represent a cosmopolitan France,” she said in her first post-pageant press conference.
“It shows that today’s France is a mixed France, where there is every culture, and I think a lot of people will see themselves in me,” she added.
Coquerel isn’t the first woman of color to be crowned Miss France. In 2000, Rwanda-born Sonia Rolland won and received nearly 3000 letters of insults. One of them even contained feces alongside a note stating “this is what your face reminds me off when I see you on television.”