STYLE

Miss Universe Canada Receives Backlash For National 'Totem Pole' Costume

12/21/2015 03:11 EST | Updated 12/22/2015 12:59 EST

By now you've probably heard about Steve Harvey crowning the wrong contestant Miss Universe on Sunday evening. But there's another Miss Universe controversy that has to do with Miss Universe Canada, Paola Nunez.

On Wednesday, the 24-year-old beauty participated in the pageant's 'National Costume' round, wearing what many have deemed to be a "culturally insensitive" costume: a totem pole. (And here we thought Miss Universe Canada 2014's costume was bad...)


The offending outfit was designed by exclusive Dominican Fashion Brand, Keyther Estévez Studio, and featured plenty of feathers, an ornate eagle headpiece and a rhinestone-embellished, oversized totem pole loin cloth. (Note: Headdresses, eagles and totem poles are all sacred symbols to First Nations peoples.)


Many took to Twitter to express their distaste for the costume, calling it "offensive" and "insulting" to Indigenous heritage.




Blogger Natalie Ast, of natalieast.com writes, "In a year where Canada has moved a step in the right direction towards the goal of reconciliation, an organization that strives to support the goals of education and charitable initiatives, this is deplorable and incredibly insensitive to our First Nations peoples."

And considering Nunez is not Indigenous, but rather from the Dominican Republic, her choice of costume is just bizarre. Add in the fact that it was created by a Dominican designer, and you've got the perfect example of cultural appropriation.

At this rate, we like the hockey costume better.

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