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Papua New Guinean Beauty Queen Holds Her Head High Despite Racist Shouting ‘You’re Black and Ugly’ During Pageant

Beauty queen Leoshina Kariha said she refuses to let a “nasty” comment from one person deter her work going forward. (Image courtesy of Miss Pacific Islands / Facebook)


A Papua New Guinean beauty queen says she’s undeterred despite being pelted with r*acist insults during a pageant on the South Pacific island of Tonga over the weekend.

Miss Pacific Islands Leoshina Kariha, 19, addressed the “painful” comment in a video posted to her Facebook page Sunday, but said the i*ncident did not overshadow that fact she’d been “welcomed” and “embraced” by the Tongan people during her time there.


According to New Zealand outlet RNZ Pacific, the teen beauty queen was in the island’s capitol of Nuku’alofa for the Miss Heilala pageant Friday when she was subjected to a r*acist s*lur from the audience. Kariha was concluding her speech when someone from the crowd yelled, “You’re black and u*gly — d*isgusting.”

Several Pacific media outlets have reported that the s*lur came from a prominent Tongan politician, Yahoo News Australia reported. Others alleged the remark was shouted from a VIP booth, not the audience.

In her video, Kariha thanked the Tongan people for their support and said the “nasty” i*ncident wouldn’t discourage her work going forward.

“I will not let one comment from a single person destroy the very good relationship that the Kingdom of Tonga and my people of Papua New Guinea have,” she said. “And there really should be no division amongst Melanesians, Polynesians and Micronesians; we should be one united Pacific.”

The r*acist remark wasn’t the only controversy surrounding the Miss Heilala pageant, however. Conflict erupted after event organizers allegedly tried to silence the reigning Miss Heilala, Kalo Funganitao, as she gave an impassioned speech highlighting alleged mistreatment by pageant officials.


During her remarks, Funganitao described her time as the reigning beauty queen “tormenting” and was f*orced to shout after pageant organizers cut her mic off. Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Semisi Sika then reportedly told staff to play music in order to drown her out, Yahoo News Australia reported.

“Enough is enough, and I won’t tolerate any more fakeness,” Funganitao, a law student, screamed from the podium.

She also spoke of the isolation, cyber b*ullying and lack of support she’s received since being crowned Miss Hielala last year, adding that she and family had been “cheated, lied to [and] backstabbed.”

“If you have the guts to a*ttack a person, as a group, in such a cowardly way, then you can deal with the consequences,” Funganitao continued, her family standing by her side. “It’s truly a miracle I did not give up this title a long time ago.”

Funganitao eventually left the stage and her successor, Yehenara Soukoup from Hawaii, was ultimately forced to crown herself.

Watch more in the video below.


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