Miss Colombia Candidate Opens Up About Lightening Her Skin Amidst Racist Comments

Lead Photo: Lina María Hurtado Instagram
Lina María Hurtado Instagram
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Lina María Hurtado didn’t win the Miss Colombia crown – but the journalist and Miss Colombia candidate is still making waves, even after someone else won the right to represent Colombia at the Miss Universe pageant. 

Recently, Hurtado confessed to Revista Semana that as a child she tried Clorox bleach to lighten her skin. “I did it secretly from my parents. And I used it because it’s supposed to be a whitener and being white was good. As a girl and in the midst of how illogical it could be, I applied it and rubbed it in. And I did a lot of damage to my skin.”

This revelation might be shocking to some outside of Latin America, but colorism is prevalent in Latine communities. This is especially true for beauty and competitions like Miss Colombia, who only crowned their first Afro-Latina Queen Vanessa Mendoza back in 2001. 

Hurtado has hit back at the racism she experienced as a Miss Colombia candidate with her openness to what Colombia and Latin America, in general, perceive as beautiful because she hopes it “inspires other women.”

She has also done more than just bring awareness to the issue of colorism, one of the biggest problems in Latin America and the diaspora, with her honesty. She revealed that she has committed herself to empowering other women to see themselves as she now does, particularly with her involvement with activism and now with a beauty line dedicated to skincare that she hopes will also come with a message to “love your own skin.”

All of this comes after some truly vile comments on social media about her in the midst of Miss Colombia being chosen for the Miss Universe pageant.

Racist comments like “Ella parecia una candidata al Miss South Africa no a Colombia” and “POR ESO NO GANO, ESTO NO ES AFRICA” are just a drop in the bucket of the very real problem of racism that our communities sometimes want to pretend doesn’t exist in Latin America. 

Hurtado talking about her experience as a child also helps her directly connect with women who have been through this kind of discrimination and think about taking dangerous measures to change the color of their skin. “This is a subject that needs to be talked about,” she said, explaining that she’d received close to a thousand comments from women in similar situations.

“This is evidence of how racism becomes a public health problem,” Hurtado added, proving that Lina María Hurtado might not be Miss Colombia, but her real impact goes beyond a crown.