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Megan Young apologizes after receiving backlash for fixing Miss Botswana's hair

By Yoniel Acebuche Published Mar 11, 2024 3:37 pm

Megan Young, the Philippines's first Miss World, apologized on social media after pageant fans criticized her for fixing Botswana's Lesego Chombo's hair during the question and answer portion of the recent Miss World 2024.

In her Facebook account, Megan clarified that her gesture was to "offer a helping hand" to Lesego. The beauty pageant titlist also personally admitted that she "failed to oversee the bigger picture."

"Last night, during the final, I fixed Lesego Chombo's (Miss Botswana) hair on stage. I wanted to offer a helping hand but I failed to oversee the bigger picture. This could have caused distress during that moment and I have been made aware that culturally, this is unacceptable," Young began, adding that she already apologized to Chombo.

"We have spoken privately last night at the hotel and I have apologized to Lesego in private."

The Filipina beauty queen also apologized to pageant fans who experienced discomfort and confusion towards the beauty queen's "thoughtless and disrespectful" action.

"To those who witnessed the incident, I also want to apologize for any discomfort or confusion my actions may have caused. It was a thoughtless and disrespectful act, and I take full responsibility for it."

Megan then concluded her public apology by assuring that she meant no harm and that it wasn't her intention to invade personal space or make anyone uncomfortable during that time.

"I assure you that it was not my intention to invade personal space or make anyone feel uncomfortable. I deeply regret my actions and will strive to be more mindful and respectful in the future," she said.


In the said pageant, Megan, one of the hosts called Lesego to deliver her winning speech on why she deserved to be the next Miss World. But before Lesego answered, Megan fixed her hair, saying, "Looking beautiful tonight, I'm just going to fix your hair a little bit," which offended others.

According to some Africans, Megan was "rude" to Lesego because "she was trying to ruin the confidence of the candidate."

"In my view, the incident at Miss Works wasn't a simple hair fix; it appeared more like an attempt to diminish Lesego's confidence and possibly question the authenticity of her appearance. This raises serious concerns about cultural sensitivity and respect for individual autonomy," a social media user wrote.

Others said Megan's gesture is a form of witchcraft, hence showing "the judges that Chombo is not wearing her natural hair."

"Why did you touch her hair? What business did you have to touch her hair? You have hurt us and you have no shame," another user said.

"So for her to publicly 'fix' Lesego's hair extensions, she was psychologically planting in the heads of judges that something is 'wrong' with Lesego, given her past experience in Miss World," said another.

Lesego, meanwhile, reacted to the issue, and reminded her fans to be "kinder" and not "bring other people down in my name or for my sake."

"Batho bame, I appreciate that you are all looking out for me, but it really doesn’t make me feel good when you bring other people down in my name or for my sake. Please be kinder, please to Krystyna, to Megan, be kinder," she wrote on social media.

Odele Beauty explained that in prehistoric African communities, hair was a significant cultural and spiritual emblem. Braids and other elaborate hairstyles, for example, were historically used to denote wealth, standing in society, age, religion, and marital status.

Additionally, hair is believed to be a source of spiritual and personal strength. Some African societies felt that because it was the highest portion of the body, it brought them closer to the divine. For instance, in Yoruba culture, a West African ethnic group mainly inhabiting parts of Nigeria, Benin, and Togo, individuals braid their hair to communicate with the gods.