Bolivia's representative for the Miss Universe beauty pageant is facing severe backlash for making racist and discriminatory remarks on social media against fellow contestants. Miss Bolivia Maria Fernanda Pavisic, 23, could be banned from participating in the Miss Universe contest for making those discriminatory comments in a video that she posted on Instagram.
In fact, she is facing backlash from her own country, with the mayor's office from the southern city of Potosí filing a complaint with the South American nation's Office of the Attorney General, accusing Pavisic of discrimination and racism against fellow contestants. Pavisic may now face strict disciplinary action for her comments.
Not at All Beautiful
The Potosi government is also demanding Pavisic be stripped of her Miss Bolivia title. The backlash came after Pavisic made the comments in a video that she last week shared on her Instagram stories.
In the video, Pavisic referred to the beauty queens representing Ecuador, Aruba, and Curaçao as the "thanks for participating" category and disparaged Miss Paraguay, Miss Brazil, and Miss El Salvador as "old people."
She then said that Miss Venezuela and Miss Peru resembled "transsexuals," and referred to Miss Argentina as "Miss Potosi."
Pavisic will be representing Bolivia in the Miss Universe 2023 pageant, which will take place on January 4 in New Orleans but her comments may not prove costly for her. Although there has been no official statement from the Bolivian government, Pavisic might be stripped of her Miss Bolivia title for making racist comments against co-contestants.
Following the backlash, Pavisic realized her mistake and went into damage-control mode. A Santa Cruz-area native, Pavisic then uploaded a video in which she apologized to the competitors and explained that her initial comments were a part of a "social experiment."
"There have been many Misses Bolivia but my intention was always to generate change, for a long time I have published positive content, self-love, working with my social project and showing my culture," she wrote on Instagram.
According to Pavisic, the point of the movie was to show how people on social media frequently spread offensive stuff rather than positive ones.
"People decide to support the negative but I risked everything to leave a message, I have always said that it does not matter what people say about you, instead what you think of yourself, and this is clear proof that the last thing that what matters are the comments, but I do care about generating a change or at least that people who see this video and start thinking!" she wrote.
Pavisic also tried to clarify by saying that she didn't make those comments intentionally and her point was never to "involve derogatory comments (there are no insults) to try to cause as little damage as possible to the candidates, and again I apologize because I am not the one to judge them, 'make fun' or make them have a hard time (as no one should do)."
However, her apology hasn't helped her much. Authorities in Potosi are now demanding that she be stripped of her Miss Bolivia title.
"She has denigrated the Potosian woman, she has no merit or morals to represent Bolivia in an international contest," Potosí mayoral advisor Richard Alejo told AP.
The Miss Universe franchise in Bolivia is run by Promociones Gloria. Roxana Graz, the chair of the Potos municipal committee, has also requested that Pavisic be removed as Miss Bolivia.