By Alastair Himmer
Tokyo (AFP) – Ariana Miyamoto entered the Miss Universe Japan beauty contest after a mixed-race friend committed suicide. And she endured abuse after winning the crown because of her skin color.
Far from being put off by the backlash, Miyamoto resolved to use her new-found fame to help fight racial prejudice — in much the same way British supermodel Naomi Campbell broke down cultural barriers in the fashion industry a generation ago.
“I’m stubborn,” said Miyamoto, the daughter of a Japanese mother and black American father, who turned 21 on Tuesday.
“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.