Cioma Ukwu was subjected to racism after being named Miss Livorno over the weekend, Il Secolo XIX reported.
A student and aspiring lawyer, 15-year-old Ukwu was born in Livorno to Nigerian parents.
Ukwu responded to the racist comments by saying she was “proud to be a BLACK person from Livorno!”
“If someone judges me for my appearance because outwardly they don’t like it, that’s fine because I’m aware it’s not possible to be liked by everyone.
“But when someone begins to judge you for your origins or similar things, for me these people will always stay full of ignorance!” she was quoted in Il Secolo XIX as writing online.
Local politicians also rushed to the teenager’s defence and criticized the online racism.
“I ask for forgiveness from Cioma and her family, in the city’s name, for this serious episode of intolerance,” Mayor Filippo Nogarin was quoted as saying, adding that the racists were “certainly not representative” of Livorno.
Enrico Rossi, president of Tuscany, expressed his “support” for the beauty queen. “The Tuscany I like defeats ignorance with inclusion and beauty,” he said.
At national level, the first back contestant for Miss Italia was Sylvie Lubamba in 1992, followed by winner Denny Mendez in 1996, the newspaper said.