• France's news in English

New Miss France proud of 'mixed' country

AFP/The Local · 9 Dec 2013, 08:59

Published: 09 Dec 2013 08:59 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Franco-Beninese student Flora Coquerel has said she is proud to represent a "cosmopolitan" country after being crowned the new Miss France in a lavish ceremony.

Coquerel, a 19-year-old from Orléans, beat 33 other competitors to take the title in the nationally televised competition in Dijon on Saturday night.

Her victory came amid concern over a series of racist incidents in France, including slurs against the country's top black politician, Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who has been compared to a monkey several times in recent months.

In her first post-pageant press conference, Coquerel suggested her victory was evidence of France's acceptance of different backgrounds.

"I am very proud to represent a cosmopolitan France," Coquerel said, adding that she hoped to use her title to promote literacy and the integration of women in the workplace.

Before the competition, Coquerel, whose mother is from Benin in West Africa, told France 3 television that she believed her mixed heritage was an advantage.

"It shows that today's France is a mixed France, where there is every culture, and I think a lot of people will see themselves in me," she said.

Coquerel was chosen by a combination of votes from the television audience and from a jury of celebrities.

The jury was this year headed by French Canadian singer Garou, after movie star Alain Delon quit as honorary president for life in October in a row over his backing of the far-right National Front party.

Organizers of the contest had berated Delon for comments supporting the anti-immigration National Front, its founder Jean-Marie Le Pen and his daughter, current party leader Marine Le Pen.

Coquerel's victory will be welcomed no doubt by, Louis-Georges Tin, the president of the CRAN (Representative Council of Black Associations), who last year lamented the lack of contestants from France's African and north African communities.

"The failure to represent the contemporary French population in an event such as this is obviously serious," Tin said in a statement at the time issued jointly with Fred Royer, the creator of Miss Black France.

"It amounts to denying the very existence of French people of African origin." 

Of the 33 finalists the 2012 contest, eight were from ethnic minorities with six of those coming from France's Pacific or Caribbean territories.

"In the antiquated world of Miss France, blacks apparently can only come from overseas departments," the CRAN statement said.

"As for Frenchwomen of north African heritage, they were 'represented' by only one candidate who was quickly eliminated (too Muslim perhaps?)."

France is home to around five million Muslims, most of them of north African origin.

The statement went on to express regret that "Miss France is as white as the end-of-year snow on the steeples of an eternal France."


AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
Rust and Bone. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

The newest French films you need to see before you die (or alternatively when you get some spare time).

Election Watch
Presidential hopeful reckons a pain au chocolat is 10 cents

So France happily takes the pastry out of him.

French ministry of defence officials die in plane crash
Screengrab: eddydeg/Twitter

The French Ministry of Defence officials were killed on Monday when a light aircraft went down on the island of Malta.

Revealed: The ten most stolen cars in France
A Smart car in Paris. Photo: JR_Paris/Flickr

Thieves in France are getting a taste for luxury cars, it seems.

Analysis - France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie 'to sell their French chateau'
All photos: AFP

Want to live where Brangelina got married?

How Paris is rapidly becoming Europe's 'City of Innovation'
Photo: AFP

If you want to start a company then Paris is the place to do it, it seems.

'Jungle' clearance: Migrants begin to leave Calais camp
All photos: AFP

The "Jungle" clearance is underway.

France's 'Jungle' children arrive in UK
Authorities will start to clear the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp on Monday. Photo: Denis Charlet / AFP file picture

The first group of children from the French "Jungle" migrant camp with no connection to Britain have arrived in the country, the Home Office said Sunday, ahead of the camp's planned demolition.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
jobs available