Torika Watters was stripped of her title because she turned out to be too young to be eligible to win the title or because of wide spread complaints that she did not approximate the look of locals?
A brew in a teacup has been developing ever since 16 year old Torika Watters was first nominated as the new Miss Fiji. At the time when she won it was said that she ought not to have won because her blonde hair wasn’t crinkly enough. Which strikes this author as a kind of reverse discrimination.
What’s interesting to note is that Torika Watters is of mixed European and Fijian heritage but that hardly seemed to matter when organizers asked that Ms Watters was being stripped of her title, coincidentally as widespread condemnation of her winning it took public stage.
Countered the organizers: “Miss Waters failed to legitimately win the competition because she was shy of a few months old of having to be 16 years and 11 months old.”
What though is remarkable is surely organizers knew what Ms Watters’ age was before she participated in the event. It could have hardly been a secret and if there was an oversight it could have hardly been Ms Watters fault. At the time of her entry, Miss World Fiji pageant director, Andhy Blake had made it clear to the young woman that her age would not be an issue.
Torika Watters’ win came at a time where there is wide racial division and unrest in Fiji.
And how does Torika Watters feel about having to give up her title?
‘I’ve agreed to relinquish it. I was becoming very uncomfortable with the situation.’
She told of ‘lies, deception, the lack of transparency and the lack of professionalism’ as reasons for leaving the Fijian capital, Suva, and the ‘entire pageant fiasco’ to return to New Zealand. I would like to state that I have had no involvement in any of this underhand process and that I have been blind to this entire drama going on behind the scenes.’
Underhand process? Who would of thought that race, prejudice and politics should enter the fray of a beauty contest and more conspicuously how did a 16 year old girl find herself the epicenter of a underlying tensions that stretch back to colonial transgressions and discord with the many race nations including English, Chinese, Indian and Indonesian and Dutch locals….?