Miss Universe winner trolled for not fitting ‘blonde beach babe’ stereotype

A Miss Universe finalist has experienced hateful comments due to her ethnic background.

Maria Thattil was selected as a State Finalist for the 2020 Miss Universe Australia program.

She was excited to compete and represent the country she was born in.

But the pageant star, who was raised in Melbourne, got some kick back because her parents originate from India.

She told MamaMia : “One of the first questions I got asked by a colleague was whether the Miss Universe Australia organisation would really pick another Indian as they already had one?’”

While the comment must have stung, Maria admits it “wasn’t the first time” she’d heard a remark like that.

The 27-year-old continued: “In the lead up to the competition finals, I noticed people commenting in online forums that I didn’t look 'Australian enough'.

“Since winning, I’ve had non-Australians admit that I challenge their perception of an 'Australian beauty queen' as I don’t fit the tall, blonde ‘beach babe’ Aussie stereotype.”

While Maria knows some of these commenters aren’t necessarily “ill-intentioned”, she’s determined to use her voice to speak about diversity.

She said: “Failing to see people as belonging or valued citizens because of superficial, skin-deep factors is an exclusive, damaging framework to operate from and inhibits representation, diversity and growth.”

Maria has had the last laugh too.

The pageant star was crowned Miss Universe 2020.

And since securing victory, Maria as been using her platform to connect with people from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds.

Some even say she’s inspired them to follow their dreams and aspirations.

The influencer added: “Many say that seeing this kind of representation is inspiring, and has spurred in them a sense of self-belief that they too can take up and create space.”

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