Late last year, Flora Coquerel, a beautiful half-French, half-Beninese 19-year-old, was crowned Miss France 2014 in Dijon. An international business student, Coquerel conquered French people’s hearts with her words — she stated a desire to represent a cosmopolite, modern France claiming 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”.
Coquerel’s statement came at an important time, after the country’s latest racist incidents targeting French Minister of Justice Christine Taubira. Recent moves against Taubira include a far right politician comparing her to a monkey because of her skin tone. The events forced the United Nations to take action with Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, stating “This utterly unacceptable abuse of a prominent politician, on the basis of her color, is a stark manifestation of the rising racism, xenophobia and intolerance aimed at members of ethnic and religious minorities – as well as migrants – in many European countries.” (France 24)