culture

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

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