Culture

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

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

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Beauty Queen Who Was Abandoned At An Airport As A Baby Reconnects With Her Birth Mother 40 Years Later

Fierce

Beauty Queen Who Was Abandoned At An Airport As A Baby Reconnects With Her Birth Mother 40 Years Later

Like many adopted children, Elizabeth Hunterton grew up aware that her nonbiological parents loved her. According to a recent interview with the former beauty pageant queen, she also had many dreams and ideas of how she came to be one of millions of children to be adopted every year in the United States.

As a young girl, Hunterton spent her youth dreaming that she’d come from royalty and had “been lifted away on the talons of a majestic eagle.”

Eventually, she learned that the truth was far more personal and tragic.

In January 1980, Hunterton was abandoned at the gate of a Nevada airport by two pilots

“I was about 10 days old,” Hunterton explained to People magazine in a recent interview. “I grew up my entire life trying to figure out what I did in those 10 days that ultimately led to them saying, ‘Let’s just leave her at the airport.'”

While Hunterton was adopted into a home soon after her abandonment the beauty pageant queen says in the years after, she often lamented a part of her life that she felt was missing. Fortunately, after taking a 23andMe test this past August, Hunterton has connected with her biological mother for the very first time.

Having had little to work with in regards to finding her biological parents (this includes having no birthplace, birth date or race) made life difficult for her when she was younger.

“It was really through this process of finding my birth mother that I’m able to rewrite my narrative,” she explained in the interview with People. “I had really prepared myself to be rejected by both sides of my biological family… And It ended up being so much more beautiful than anything I could’ve written.”

Hunterton was raised by a white family and crowned Miss Nevada in 2004.

Despite having a happy and loving upbringing, Hunterton felt lost about the uncertainty surrounding her own race. According to People, she often wondered if “everyone from her friends to her Starbucks barista were somehow related to her.”

“When this all started unfolding, there were certainly points that I thought to myself, ‘Maybe I’ll just walk away now,’ because it just got hard,” she explained. Eventually, in 2018, DNA databases helped Hunterton track down her biological father. Unfortunately, she soon discovered that he had died in 2004, and had never known she had been born.

Soon enough her search brought her to 23andMe where her profile found a few hits in March. Eventually, Hunterton reached out to three different women hopefully that one of them would be a match. All three ultimately proved not to be a match and Hunterton decided to give up after so much disappointment.

“I pulled out my bucket list, crossed it off, wrote her name down, and that was it,” she explained before sharing that just as she began to change her focus back to raising her 5- and 6-year-old sons, she received a ping for another connection. This time it came from a second cousin who offered to help put her in contact with her birth mother.

Hunterton soon learned that she had a Black father and a Japanese mother both of whom met at the Fort Ord military base. She also learned that she was born in a hospital in California and had not been intentionally abandoned.

“When I received her email, she shared that she wasn’t able to take care of me as she believed I deserved,” Hunterton explained to People. “Therefore, she gave me to her roommate who was supposed to take me to an adoption agency. When my birth mother was told that I was actually left at the airport instead, it took quite a toll.”

Hunterton explained because of her connection to her biological mother she was able to track down her birth certificate.

In an emailed statement to People Hunterton’s biological mother explained that at first she was “surprised, scared and truly overwhelmed” by the idea of meeting her daughter.

“I was shocked to hear from her and by the amount of research she did. It was all very overwhelming and brought back a lot of painful memories,” her biological mother who remains anonymous to People but shared that she is 65-year-old explained. “However, it’s also a tremendous blessing to find out what a strong and wonderful woman she turned out to be. One day, when we’ve all healed a bit more, hopefully, we’ll be able to meet.”

“She has such a good heart,” Hunterton explained of her mother. “We exchange occasional emails and texts and holiday niceties. But the good thing is, I have a mom. I don’t need to put any unfair, unrealistic expectations on her. I just give her permission to be exactly who she is and it’s perfect.”

“She’s now giving herself permission to live her life and it’s actually pretty beautiful,” Hunterton went onto explain of her biological mother. “She says, ‘All my hopes and dreams are in you. I never thought that anybody that looked like you could come from me, somebody that’s poised and eloquent and successful. Those are just things that never happened for me. But here you are.’ So now she’s living her life, and it’s pretty beautiful to watch her heal and kind of come to life… I think that was a really beautiful way for the story to unfold, that in the end, it flowed so beautifully, both through my mom, myself and my birth mother. It really kind of unified all three of us in different ways. But it was all I could’ve ever hoped for to hear from her.”

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A Mexican Beauty Queen Has Landed In Jail On Kidnapping Charges, Why Does This Keep Happening?

Culture

A Mexican Beauty Queen Has Landed In Jail On Kidnapping Charges, Why Does This Keep Happening?

The pageant world is popular in communities all over the planet. From Russia to the U.S. and across Latin America, beauty queens (and kings) strut their stuff on runways and display their many talents. But the pageant world is also known to suffer from a more sinister side that often lands itself in the headlines.

In Mexico, beauty pageants have long been connected to organized crime and international human trafficking rings. Now, one former beauty queen has landed herself in jail in connection to these terrible crimes.

A former Mexican beauty queen has been jailed in connection to a kidnapping ring.

A former Oaxaca beauty queen has been jailed without bail on suspicion of being part of a kidnapping ring operating in the Mexican states of Veracruz and Oaxaca.

Laura Mojica Romero, 25, was Miss Oaxaca in 2018 and the 2020 International Queen of Coffee in Colombia, a beauty pageant at which she represented Mexico. She was arrested Thursday with seven other people in a raid conducted by a federal anti-kidnapping unit after two months of investigation.

A judge on Saturday ruled that Mojica and the seven others will remain in prison for the next two months while authorities continue to gather evidence. Members of the group each face up to 50 years in prison.

Romero had tried to position herself as unique among beauty queens in the country.

Laura Mojica Romero defined herself as “more than a pretty face” during a interview she did in 2019. The 25-year-old, who at that time had just won the Miss Oaxaca contest for the second time, said that the contest had taken an important turn because it highlighted aspects that went “beyond” the contestants’ own beauty.

She put herself out there as an example when remembering that she participated in the delivery of supplies (sweaters, blankets and coats) in remote Indigenous communities and announced that among her future projects included support for the musical education of children from impoverished communities, as well as the formation of women’s entrepreneurship cells; a strategy that she claimed was to combat gender violence.

“We cannot stand idly by, we have to eradicate violence against women, through campaigns and talks that make men aware of this problem,” said the also graduate in Business Administration from the Universidad Veracruzana (UV) to Newsweek Mexico.

Mexico is an international hub for human trafficking.

In its most recent report, the organization Alto al Secuestro warned that the states with the highest incidence of kidnappings are the State of Mexico, with seven; Veracruz, with 12; Oaxaca, with six; Guerrero, with five; and Tabasco, Sinaloa and Mexico City, with four respectively.

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