An 18-Year-Old Just Became The First Indigenous Woman To Win Nayarit Beauty Pageant

yukaima_gonzalez / Instagram | REINA FERIA NAYARIT 2019

Yukaima González is making headlines for becoming the first indigenous woman to be crowned “Queen” of the 2019 Nayarit State Fair. The 18-year-old beauty pageant winner is from La Yesca and is a member of the Wixárika community in the mountainous municipality of Guadalupe Ocotán. The news is notable as, historically, indigenous women haven’t typically participated in past pageants. This year saw two woman with
indigenous background compete with González taking the crown and making history along the way.

An indigenous woman breaking through and winning the crowd is a major moment for this beauty pageant.

@yukaima_gonzalez / Instagram

González being crowned Feria Nayarit queen is something that should be acknowledged and commemorated. Beauty pageants have often been criticized for supporting eurocentric beauty ideals or simply preferring “fairer skinned” contestants. This is a problem that plagues most pageants in the world.

To even participate in the beauty pageant, González had to leave her native community and move to Nayarit. There she began working as a nanny to help her pay for school as she pursues a degree in Physical Culture and Sports at the Autonomous University of Nayarit.

When González first heard about the beauty pageant she knew she had to participate in the pageant to represent her home of La Yesca. Her ethnicity, roots, and culture are a source of pride and would be a huge reason in participating in the contest.

González left a very strong impression on judges during multiple rounds.

Contest judges were blown away by González’s outfit that featured an array of beads, vibrant colors and traditional Wixárika god’s eyes. Her outfit was part of various judging rounds that included a “traditional dress” round and an original social project. González says she would want to provide support to Nayarit’s remote mountain communities by creating various job opportunities through food and self-employment ventures.

This all comes at a time when “Roma” star Yalitza Aparicio, an ingenious woman of Oaxaca, has received both recognition and disparging remarks for her historic role.

@THR / Twitter

Yalitza Aparicio, an Oscar-nominated indigenous woman from Oaxaca, caught fame after playing the main role in Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma”. Unfortunately, she has been mocked and has even received criticism for her talent and her appearance.

Televisa’s Yeka Rosales recently posted photos and videos of herself on social media wearing brown skin paint in an apparent parody of Aparicio.
The move was tone-deaf and is further proof of the negative portrayal that indigenous groups face.

Aparicio has faced racist attacks on social media even from some Mexican actors. However, she also received support among many women in Mexico and the U.S. who have identified with her indigenous roots.

Having two indigenous women participate in the Nayarit beauty pageant is a reflection of what Aparicio has done. She has in some ways opened the door for people of ethnic origin, who before, reflectors hardly recognized. In interviews, González has stated she is a fan of Aparicio and wants represent her culture as she has.

González is an example of this growing celebration of expanding what our collective understanding of what beauty truly is.

@yukaima_gonzalez / Instagram

As well as being crowned Queen of the Nayarit Fair 2019, González will become the face of Nayarit. Her pictures will be the official image of the state and will work with the Ministry of Tourism, as well as having a project to benefit its community.

It’s safe to say González is bringing much needed attention to the countless indigenous communities that are rarely given recognition. She says her pageant victory brings pride back to her community after being shamed for so long.

“In my community, we are losing our [indigenous] language, and residents are ashamed of wearing their traditional clothing,” González told Mexico News Daily. “I’m here so that they’ll feel proud of our roots and who we are.”

Nayarit is an oceanside state located on the west coast of Mexico in the middle of the country.

Nayarit is bordered by the states of Durango, Jalisco, and Sinaloa. The state is a major tourist destination as it is close to the tourist city of Puerto Vallarta. Like most of Mexico, there are beautiful and ancient archeological sites that people can visit when in the area. Nayarit is also home to a number of indigenous groups, like the Wixáritari people of which González is a member.

The Wixáritari people live within the states of Durango, Jalisco, Nayarit, and Zacatecas.

Credit: @almamezcalera / Instagram

The Wixáritari people, also known as the Huichol predominately live in the highlands in Nayarit but do have colonies set up along the coast. They are known for their beautiful and intricate artisanal handwork. They have inhabited the land they live on since before the 16th century and continue to utilize the land and live in a community preserving their history and culture.

Like many indigenous groups in the Americas, the Wixáritari people use peyote for religious cermonies.

Credit: @globalcactussociety / Instagram

Peyote is an important part of many religious ceremonies within American indigenous communities. It is because of its importance that the Mexican government has passed laws that allow for the hallucinogenic plant to be used by these tribes for this purposes.

Mexico is filled with indigenous communities that add to the vibrant fabric of the country. The prominent success of Yalitza Aparicio and Yukaima González show that the country’s identity is deeply rooted in its indigenous past. These same people deserve the same respect when furthering the success of Mexico.

READ: Yalitza Aparicio Didn’t Win The Oscar But Her Fame And Success Are The Real Award

The Mexican Government Just Gave Louis Vuitton The Greatest Drag After Noticing The Brand Stole From Indigenous Women


The Mexican Government Just Gave Louis Vuitton The Greatest Drag After Noticing The Brand Stole From Indigenous Women

Fashion brand Louis Vuitton is under scrutiny from the Mexican government after allegedly using indigenous designs on the cover of a chair that’s being sold for over $18,000. The Mexican government called them out for cultural appropriation and for taking the designs from an indigenous community. 

This comes only a couple weeks after the Mexican government called out fashion designer Carolina Herrera for appropriation as well.

According to the Daily Mail, “Culture Minister Alejandra Fausto sent a letter dated July 5 questioning Louis Vuitton’s use of a traditional Mexican pattern in the design of a chair that retails for $18,200.” Fausto states in the letter than the artistic pattern belong to the indigenous community of Tenango de Doria. 

“Each piece is unique and unrepeatable,” Fausto writes in the letter. “And at the same time, it is a result of the continuity of the work of many generations who transmit knowledge, skills, and creativity. 

On its website, however, Louis Vuitton writes, “LV partnered with award-winning designer duo Raw Edges, Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay, to create this Dolls limited-edition chair. Sculptural in design, this avant-garde piece marries a deep green base and seat with a contrasting tropical-print shell.” 

Tropical print? Sounds suspect. 

“The designers took their inspiration from traditional crafts from all over the globe and the House’s rich travel heritage,” the statement on their website goes on to say.  

Days after receiving the letter from Fausto, El Universal reported that Louis Vuitton insists the brand was actually collaborating with Mexican artisans––despite that piece of information not being explicit on their website. The brand tells El Universal that they’re “currently in a relationship with artisans of Tenango de Doria in the state of Hidalgo, with the perspective of collaborating together to produce this collection.” They did not provide any further details. 

Although Louis Vuitton hasn’t yet addressed the letter, they did remove the chair in question from the website. All the other products from the partnership with Raw Edges are still available for purchase.

The chair in question is still on the Raw Edges Instagram account. A quick scroll through the comments and one will find many users calling them out for stealing these designs from indigenous communities from Mexico. 

Earlier in June, Mexico News Daily reported that Fausto reached out Carolina Herrera accusing the fashion designer of using designs of indigenous communities in three states.

Fausto accused Carolina Herrera of liberally copying several articles of clothing that were featured in Herrera’s 2020 collection–not giving credit where it was due. 

“This pattern comes from the community of Tenango de Doria in Hidalgo. Contained in these patterns is the very history of the community, and each element has special personal, familial, and communal significance,” wrote Fausto in the letter sent to Herrera. 

Reuters also reported that “Mexico’s ruling leftist National Regeneration Movement has been planning legislation to protect indigenous communities from plagiarism and having their work used by others without receiving fair compensation.”  

According to a new report from the Centre for International Governance Innovation, “Traditional cultural expressions ‘are undeniably’ forms of intellectual property but are largely excluded from existing protections offered by the World Intellectual Property Organization.”

This is all part of a larger movement from organizations working toward tougher intellectual property laws in order to protect indigenous communities from cultural appropriation. During a time when fast fashion is so prevalent in the fashion industry and when high profile designers have the means to appropriate from other cultures without facing repercussions, it’s important to protect indigenous communities and artists from having their work stolen, repurposed, and sold for more money without seeing any of that profit.

According to Mexico News Daily, Susan Harp who heads the Culture Commission in Congress, said, “These communities are asking for respect, they’re not [necessarily] asking for money. They want designers to come to them and ask for their permission.” 

The letter that Fausto sent to Louis Vuitton read, “We feel obliged to ask, in a respectful manner, if for the elaboration of the chair you mentioned you sought and, in this case, worked together with the community and its artists.” 

This isn’t the first time that major designers, fashion designers, and clothing lines have been found copying and appropriating indigenous Mexican designs.

For example, Zara, Mango, Etoile, Michael Kors, and Isabel Marant have all been criticized for this in the past. 

While high profile fashion designers have a history of appropriating and incorporating indigenous patterns and designs into their collections and products, it’s important and necessary that cultural institutions from other counties are calling these brands out in efforts to stop this from happening again. 

Critics Are Saying Miss Puerto Rico Should Be Stripped Of Her Crown Because She Doesn’t Know Spanish


Critics Are Saying Miss Puerto Rico Should Be Stripped Of Her Crown Because She Doesn’t Know Spanish

The crowning glory of this year’s Miss Puerto Rico was tarnished for 23-year-old Madison Anderson Berríos with the backlash since, unlike previous winners, she wasn’t born or raised on the island. 

Born in Phoenix, Arizona and raised in Orlando, Florida to a white dad and a Puerto Rican mom, Anderson Berríos doesn’t speak Spanish fluently so the idea of her not being “Latina enough” quickly came up on social media. After her win, #NoMeRepresenta began trending on Twitter and during the telecast, she was booed by the audience when she explained her first language wasn’t Spanish.

“I am representing the new generation of Puerto Ricans who do not need to live in Puerto Rico or speak Spanish. If you were born in the United States, you are not less Puerto Rican,” she said in an interview with El Sentinel Orlando. “These are feelings that you carry anywhere. That’s the new generation of Puerto Ricans,” she added.

But her place of birth wasn’t the only issue she candidly addressed, she was also open about her trouble learning to speak Spanish. 

It was hard, especially when it came to the language, but I’m so happy with the work I’ve done,” Anderson Berríos said during an interview with Pégate al Medio Día for Wapa TV which broadcast the pageant. “Yes, [I practiced] with everyone,” she said. “With my family, people on the street, even when I needed to order [at a restaurant]. Even things that are so easy, I wanted to practice, and it helped me so much.”

The beauty queen told Metro that she plans to continue to study during her reign, practicing every day. 

Her dedication to learning extends to her schoolwork having studied marketing and public relations. She’s passionate about social work and raising awareness about domestic violence having mentored women during a trip to the Caribbean Island of Saint Kitts and Nevis with plans to do the same at Hogar Ruth Puerto Rico, according to Hola!. 

Her poise and push for authenticity come after some practice on the pageant stage.

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Aquí les comparto un corto video de mi última visita al Hogar Ruth, @hogarruthpr y Damaris les explica un poco en que consiste la ayuda que proveemos desde aquí. El hogar Ruth sirve como albergue para mujeres y niños víctimas de violencia doméstica en sus hogares. Entre los servicios de rehabilitación y ayuda que ofrecen están: – Intervenciones en crisis familiares – Intercesión legal – Talleres para auto manejo financiero. El año pasado hubo un total de 5,846 casos de violencia domestica a la mujer y cada vez la cantidad va en aumento. Es nuestro deber como seres humanos educar y crear lazos con nuestros amigos y familiares en los que haya un canal de diálogo abierto. También, una forma de ayudar es identificar las señales que presenta la victima. En muchos casos las mujeres tememos a hablar, pero es importante que nosotros como familiares y/o amigos podamos identificar ciertas acciones y comportamientos para diligenciar la ayuda. Algunas de la señales son: – No toman decisiones sin el consentimiento de su pareja. – Se muestran sumisas ante la figura de l hombre. – Presentan síntomas depresivos y/o ansiedad. – Recurren a excusas. Las utilizan para incurrir cualquier tipo de rasguño o moretón del que se les pregunté. – Justifican a su pareja. – Suelen tener pocas interacciones en sus redes sociales o un grupo muy pequeño de amistades. – Cambian su manera de vestir. – Entre otros.. Si has identificado algún de estas características en algún amigo y/o familiar, sé un agente de cambio y muéstrale tu apoyo. Gánate su confianza y busca ayuda. Ninguna mujer merece ser víctima de violencia doméstica! La violencia la detenemos nosotras! #Niunamas #HogarRuth #brillalabelleza #metamorfosis #Amovivirsinmiedo @muniversepr @hogarruthpr

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In 2014, she participated in Miss Teen USA and two years later represented Puerto Rico in Miss Grand International. In January, she was the first runner-up in the Miss Florida USA contest, although she has always identified herself as Puerto Rican, according to  El Sentinel Orlando

Now she’s prepping to represent Puerto Rico in the 68th Miss Universe international contest taking place in December in South Korea.

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Está bien… Dios siempre está en control. Hoy puedo sentarme a escribir estas líneas para ustedes ya con lo pies en la tierra, luego de dos días en las nubes viviendo mi sueño. Ya puedo mirar mi corona y mi cinta que dice Puerto Rico y realizar que todo esto es verdad y que podré gritar nuevamente el nombre de la patria que me enseñaron a amar desde niña ante el universo. Cada verano y navidades que pasé en esta tierra con mis abuelos y el resto de la familia, fueron aumentando el amor por mis raíces y hoy con orgullo puedo decir #SerBoricuaSeLlevaEnLaSangre y en el corazón. Nunca olvidaré el día que Peter Morales dijo: “ella será Miss Puerto Rico” a penas era una niña. Gracias por ayudarme años más tarde a descubrir el potencial en mí. Gracias por haber traído a mi vida @dianamcortes , no pudiste haberme puesto en mejores manos. Diana, nunca voy a cansarme de agradecerte todo lo que haces por tus hijas adoptivas, tu amor, labor y entrega hacia nosotras es incalculable. Más que una promotora, eres familia. Que el mundo sepa que como tú no hay dos. Cuidas cada detalle, nos proteges y nos pones en las manos de los mejores recursos y tu única recompensa es vernos felices y ayudar a otras chicas a cumplir sus sueños. Que Dios multiplique lo que haces por mi y por todas en salud, amor y bendiciones. Gracias a todo mi equipo de trabajo que se desvivieron en ayudarme a lucir bien en cada faceta. A Denisse Quiñones y toda la organización de @muniversepr GRACIAS. Gracias por darnos la oportunidad a 28 candidatas de aprender y adquirir herramientas que nos servirán para toda la vida. Gracias por diseñar una plataforma perfecta donde crecimos, no solo como candidatas, también como mejores seres humanos. Gracias Carmencita por cuidarnos a todas como lo haría una madre. Mensaje continúa en los comentarios. Gracias @tofervg por la hermosa fotografía que capturaste.

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“It’s my dream. This is not just for my beautiful people of Puerto Rico, but for the diaspora because being Puerto Rican is carried in the blood,” she said in an interview with Wapa TV. And that’s a sentiment that’s just like her Instagram bio reads: #SerBoricuaSeLlevaEnlaSangre 

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