Khadija Ben Hamou made history over the weekend when she beat 16 other hopeful contestants to take home the Miss Algeria 2019 crown, becoming the second black woman to ever win the annual beauty pageant— the first was Nassima Mokadem in 2005. She will go on to represent the North African country at Miss World 2019., reports Vogue Arabia.
The newly-minted Miss Algeria hails from Adrar, the second largest province in the country and which is situated around the Sahara Desert. Though her well-deserved victory received support from many, her coronation on Saturday also resulted in a barrage of racial abuse from trolls on social media targeting her for her appearance. The shocking comments, which reflect the deep misunderstanding many Algerians have of the cultural and ethnic diversity of their country, compelled the organizers of the pageant to condemn the online trolls, while sharing two stunning, unseen images of Ben Hamou.
“The Miss Algeria organization deplores the racist behavior and comments of several people,” said the statement. “We give you two photos of our lovely miss Algeria 2019 waiting for others who will follow soon.”
The beauty queen also spoke out about the abusive and racist harassment she faced during her first televised apperance as Miss Algeria. Ben Hamou appeared on local El-Djazairia One Channel for an interview where she was asked about her thoughts on the controversy that followed her victory. “To those who criticize me, I ask Allah the Almighty to bring them back to the right path. On the other hand, I thank those who encouraged me,” she stated.