ARIANNA Quan, the Beijing-born Miss Michigan 2016 winner who was vilified for months on social media for being “ugly”, failed yesterday to come up tops in the Miss America 2017 contest.
But the gutsy Quan, no stranger to making headlines, did not leave Atlantic City in New Jersey entirely empty-handed.
According to mLive, she won a preliminary talent award earlier in the week – a US$2,000 scholarship – for a piano performance that earned her a standing ovation from the audience.
The report said Quan “dazzled the crowd” with her “terrific” rendition of Mily Balakirev’s transcription of Mikhail Glinka’s “L’Alouette” (the Lark)” during the talent competition.
The win was to have helped her performance in the overall competition – the talent component accounts for 30 percent of each contender’s overall score – but Quan did not make it through to top 15.
— Miss America Org (@MissAmericaOrg) September 9, 2016
USA Today’s report said Miss Arkansas’ Savvy Shields claimed the 2017 Miss America title, while Miss South Carolina’s Rachel Wyatt was runner-up and Miss New York’s Camille Sims was second runner-up. At four place was Miss Washington’s Alicia Cooper and fifth was Miss Mississippi Laura Lee.
— Miss America Org (@MissAmericaOrg) September 12, 2016
Quan, who entered the competition on the platform “Being American: Immigration & Citizenship Education”, has had to fight off criticism from her former countrymen for months after she clinched the Miss Michigan title in June. She was the first Asian-American to bag the title.
Instead of praising their compatriot, Chinese netizens rained unkind words on the beauty queen, mostly focusing on her looks. Some called her “ugly” while others said she was not fit to represent the Chinese people.
Shanghaiist in July translated some comments on Chinese social media with one user saying “She’s ugly AND she isn’t Chinese,” while another asked: “Is this competition for picking the ugliest person?”
Other insulting comments hurled at Quan read : “She’s ruining the reputation of Chinese people,” and : “This is probably the American standard of beauty. She looks exactly like Mulan in Disney.”
But Quan took in all in her stride and chose instead to capitalize on the hate, using it to prop up her Miss America platform. During media interviews, she said she was glad her achievement was opening up such a discussion.
“I see it as a part of my job as a state title-holder and potential Miss America,” she was quoted saying in Cosmopolitan recently.
“My goal is to just drive the conversation in an important direction, because there are so many things we have to discuss about immigration and diversity in this country right now.”