Arianna Quan, crowned Miss Michigan in July, is no stranger to cyberbullying.
The 23-year-old Chinese-American’s victory has been slammed by Chinese netizens themselves by calling her ugly and claiming she looks like she’s in her 40s.
Recently, Quan spoke of the kinds of responses she’s received. In an interview with People, she expressed how “polarizing” feedback had been:
“A lot of people have reached out to me, both extremely negatively and positively. It’s been a very polarizing response. It’s been really interesting to see the discussions that have been erupting from just me being crowned, and it’s been an extremely humbling experience to be a part of those conversations.”
Quan recalled the disagreement:
“All this negativity came out, especially about my appearance and how I’m apparently unfit to represent the Chinese population because I’m ‘ugly.’”
While acknowledging criticism, Quan’s eyes are still set on accomplishment:
“I see it as a part of my job as a state title-holder and potential Miss America. 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.”
Quan is the only Chinese-American competing for this year’s Miss America. The pageant is set on September 11 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Born in Beijing, she became a naturalized U.S. citizen at the age of 14. She is passionate about immigration and citizenship education, and this has become her platform issue.
Quan explained that victory in the upcoming pageant is not just about her:
“[Winning] would mean being able to represent a population of people in this country that are underrepresented right now: the immigrant population, the first-generation American population, Asian-Americans.”
Check out the rest of the candidates here.