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Finnish Miss World contestant's fake Sámi costume causes outrage

Beauty pageant competitor Carola Miller will not be wearing fake Sámi traditional attire purchased from a cheap costume shop to the Miss World finals in China owing to criticism received from Sámi representatives and non-discrimination leaders.

Kuvakaappaus: 1.12.2015
Miss World contestant Carola Miller Image: 1.12.2015

Finland’s Miss World 2015 beauty pageant competitor Carola Miller, 23, caused a stir when a photograph of her wearing a cheap copy of traditional Sámi costume circulated on Friday. The Sámi are the only indigenous people of Scandinavia recognised and protected under the international conventions of indigenous peoples. Only the Sámi wear Sámi attire.

Though Miller's final costume decision for the Miss World World Dance final in China on December 20 remains undecided, she won’t be going in the fake costume says Sunneva Kantola from Finnartist, the company specialised in beauty pageants that represents Miller and is the official representative of Miss Universe and Miss World beauty pageants in Finland.

”We have not yet decided on Miller’s costume, but it won’t be the fake costume. We apologise for the controversy this caused," says Kantola. Although Finnartist has previously received critical feedback for inappropriate attire, "unfortunately Miller didn’t clear her costume choice with us and a big mistake was made,” says Kantola.

Finnartist says it has a Plan B for Miller’s pageant costume. But Kantola says they would also welcome help from the Sámi.

”We’re open to advice. There’s still nine days until the competition, so the Sámi can offer us a real costume for the pageant. The broadcast of the finals has about one billion viewers, which is great visibility,” says Kantola.

Though there’s no official word on why the fake outfit was chosen, a potential clue lies on Carola Miller’s Miss World contest web page: “She has roots in Lapland.” Having relatives in Lapland, however, is not the same thing as being Sámi.

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