May 24, 2019

Indian beauty contest winner booed for being blonde

How Indian does one need to be to win an Indian beauty Pageant?

Jacinta Lal, a 21 year old actress and model from New Zealand was subject to complaints and booed by some of the audience when she won the Central District pageant of the Miss IndiaNZ beauty contest.

Her crime was not being ugly or unworthy, it was that she didn’t look ‘Indian enough’. Her blonde hair and blue eyes upset some in the audience who showed their disapproval. Some complained to organisers.

Ms Lal, whose father is a Fiji Indian and mother a New Zealander, won the contest in April, but it was kept quiet only coming to light following the Indian race row incidents with broadcasters Paul Henry and Michael Laws. Henry made insulting comments about Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and New Zealand Governor General Anand Satyanand. Laws added joined in, insulting the Governor General.

Festival organiser Dharmesh Parikh said he had received complaints questioning Jacinta Lal’s eligibility to be in the pageant. Ms Lal’s supporters say they are disgusted at the way she was booed.

Mr Parikh, who has lived in New Zealand for 24 years, said “it is a little bit sad, but it is unfortunate for Jacinta as well because she should be accepted into this Indian world as well because she is a beautiful Indian girl.”


  1. jacinta lal says:

    My name is Jacinta Lal and this article is suppose to be about what I expereienced in which very little of it is true. Here is my side of the story!

    My overall experience of the Miss India New Zealand competition was a positive one. I was fully supported by the organisers of the pageant and indeed encouraged to enter, and also had the full support of the Indian community as winner of Miss India New Zealand Central.

    I was not aware of any booing.

    I believe the media are “mischief making” and have made a “mountain out of a molehill” thereby taking the focus off the inappropriate and offensive comments Paul Henry made on national television.

    • Hi Jacinta, Thanks very much for taking the time to comment. It look as though some people connected to you have made some comments. One small part of what they have said then gets quoted in isolation, and a story built around it. It is fantastic that you had such a positive experience in the contest. All the best for your career. I hope you get some positve benefit for your acting and modelling aspirations even if you are not happy with the slant put on some of the stories. Some seem to have used it as a story that counters the negative publicity of the Henry/Laws comments. I deliberately left that angle out because I think it is a smoke screen for defending some of the old style colonial attitudes that obviously still seem to exist in some peoples minds. All the best Griff.