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Who is Nova Stevens? Canadian Miss Universe contestant slams pageant fans for racism: 'Beauty not exclusive'

'Your hate takes away the fun and enjoyment from this once in a lifetime experience. Is it really that difficult to spread love instead of hate?' asked the Canadian of Sudanese origin in an Instagram post
Nova Stevens came to Canada when she was four after her family fled the civil war in South Sudan (Instagram)
Nova Stevens came to Canada when she was four after her family fled the civil war in South Sudan (Instagram)

Miss Universe Canada 2020 Nova Stevens received racist and nasty comments online from some Filipino pageant fans. The Miss Universe 2020 contestant urged the public to spread love and positivity, in her long Instagram post. "Here we go again. I’ve been receiving this picture in my inbox a lot lately, With all that has been going on in the world ‘black lives matter' ‘Asians are human’ you would think this would bring us together. Instead, looks like some people are still stuck in their ignorant and racist ideologies. I’m really disappointed with some pagaent fans from certain countries," she said at the start of her post. 

She added, "Your hate takes away the fun and enjoyment from this once in a lifetime experience. Is it really that difficult to spread love instead of hate? No one is saying you HAVE to support all contestants, all we’re saying is that you support your delegate without bringing others down. You don’t need to dim someone’s light in order for you to shine." She continued, "The world is evolving, people are realizing that beauty is not exclusive to one specific group of people. The definition of beauty applies to all; because beauty can be seen in different shapes, shades and sizes. Please see the beauty that is in this world. We don’t need to look the same, we just need to treat each other the same."


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After receiving more than 10,000 comments, she added a note to the post, saying: "Hi everyone, thank you for the kind comments and messages. Please know that I am ok. This post is not a generalization, which is why I said 'some'. Also I was not sure of the language these comments are from until reading some of the comments. In case it’s not clear. I don’t think all Filipinos are racist. That would be ridiculous to say. This picture with texts was constantly being sent to me recently which is why I shared it. I’m well aware that there are multiple countries that think this way. I’m sharing this as a teaching moment so that we can make Pageants fun and enjoyable for all. All the girls competing have worked hard for this moment and deserve to have the best experience. Cheer for your girls with love and respect for the other delegates because they too are deserving of the ‘Miss Universe’ crown. Spread love not hate."

After she posted on Instagram, her Filipino fans came to her support with heart-warming messages. To which she replied saying: "Let’s end things on a positive note. To my Filipino fans: I’m sorry if my previous post caused you any harm."

She added that her post was not "intended to incite more hate". She wrote: "The last thing I want is for anyone to experience hate so please don’t bash or generalize the Filipino fans; not all are racist. Some of my closest friends who also happen to be some of the nicest people I know are Filipino. In every group of people; whether black, white, green, yellow, red, purple, there are always a few bad apples."

She ended on a hopeful note, saying: "I know for a fact there is more good than evil in this world; Which is why it’s important to shed light on the darkness so that our collective light can illuminate the world. Please let this be the last post I or other queens have to post regarding hate. Let’s get back to spreading love, celebration and making Pageants fun for all! Root for the girls, they deserve to be celebrated and spoiled with lots of love. They’ve worked so hard. Give them the best gift you can give anyone; if you’re not sure what that gift should be, I’ll help you out. Give them love. Nothing else. Just love. I love you all. Sending you all lots of love and light"


Who is Nova Stevens?

Born on May 25, 1994, Nyawal Bukjok known as Nova Stevens is a Canadian model, activist, and beauty pageant winner who was crowned Miss Universe Canada 2020. She was born in 1993 in Kenya to South Sudanese parents. Her family fled the civil war in South Sudan. In 1999, when she was 4-year-old she and a cousin were sent to Canada while her mother was left in a UN camp in South Sudan while her father and siblings went to Ethiopia. When she was around 15, she went to New York, where she started her career as a model. In 2011, Stevens became the manager for the Youth Transition program in Alberta, Canada, which helped her finish school.


In 2014, she moved to Vancouver, Canada to pursue her career as a model and an actress. The same year, she competed in Miss Universe Canada for the first time and she made a place in the Top 12. In 2015, Premiere Talent Management started representing her and in 2018, she again competed in Miss Universe Canada, representing Vancouver, she wore her natural hair, won Miss Photogenic and got a spot in the Top 20.


She is not only a known face in the modeling world, she played a witch in 'See' Season 1 episode named 'Fresh Blood',  which aired on November 1, 2019. She played the character of a Visigoth witch in 'The Magicians' Season 5 episode 'Magicians Anonymous', that aired on February 5, 2020, and a team leader in 'Motherland: Fort Salem' Season 1 episode 'Citydrop', which aired on May 6, 2020.


On June 19, 2020, she made news after she along with actress and activist Shamika Mitchell organized a peaceful Black Lives Matter march in Vancouver.  Representing Vancouver, she competed in Miss Universe Canada's 16th edition, marking the third time she joined the beauty pageant. And on October 24, 2020, she was crowned Miss Universe Canada 2020 at the John Bassett Theatre at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. At Miss Universe 2020, which will take place on May 17, 2020, she will represent Canada.


She will be the first woman of Sudanese origin to compete at the Miss Universe. Apart from being a pageant diva, Stevens is also a model and activist for Black Lives Matter.