“In Japan there are hardly any Black models or TV personalities” — Miss Universe Japan
Ariana Miyamoto bows down when she answers the telephone, but she’s not going to bow to the criticism of her biracial heritage and becoming the first biracial Miss Universe Japan. Miyamoto says she entered the competition after a mix-raced friend committed suicide because of the teasing she received. So the backlash she’s received is nothing new and will fuel her fight to end racial prejudice.
“I was prepared for the criticism. I’d be lying to say it didn’t hurt at all. I’m Japanese — I stand up and bow when I answer the phone. But that criticism did give me extra motivation,” she told AFP in an interview.
“I didn’t feel any added pressure because the reason I took part in the pageant was my friend’s death. My goal was to raise awareness of racial discrimination,” added Miyamoto, who was bullied as a schoolgirl growing up in the port town of Sasebo, near Nagasaki.
“Now I have a great platform to deliver that message as the first Black Miss Universe Japan. It’s always hard to be the first, so in that respect what Naomi Campbell did was really amazing.”
“I used to get bullied as a kid but I’ve got mentally stronger, to protect myself,” said the model.
“When I was small I stood out and always felt I had to fit in with everyone. I’d try not to bring attention to myself, but now I say what I feel. I do things my own way.
“I want to start a revolution,” Miyamoto added with a laugh. “I can’t change things overnight but in 100-200 years there will be very few pure Japanese left, so we have to start changing the way we think.”
Photo Credits: AFP Photo/Toru Yamanaka