Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin Finally Speaks Out After Being Silenced By Pageant Organizers
Anastasia Lin has finally gotten her voice back.
Not that it was ever really lost.
For three weeks, the 26-year-old Chinese-born Canadian beauty queen and actress was silenced by Miss World pageant organizers, who threatened to disqualify her from the competition, should she speak to news media.
The reason? Her outspokenness on victims of human rights abuse in China.
“That’s what prompted me to run for the pageant,” Lin told FASHION in a phone interview, speaking on allegations of the Chinese government harvesting organs from religious prisoners to fuel its transplant industry. “[A victim] came to our [‘Bleeding Edge‘] film set with bruises on her legs and she told me all of the things that happened to her, and I listened to her story.
“Her way of telling the story was going to Chinatown and handing out flyers. That wasn’t effective,” the 2015 Miss World Canada winner explained. “So I ran for pageant to speak out for the people.”
And there, Anastasia learned an interesting thing.
“People listen to women in ball gowns.”
Using the Miss World stage to criticize the Chinese government didn’t go without consequence, however, especially since the pageant is sponsored by Chinese corporations. Last year, Lin, who emigrated to Canada as a teen with her mother, was denied entry into China when she tried to travel there to represent Canada in the 2015 Miss World contest.
“I have every right to be at that event,” she told the New York Times in November 2015. “It’s kind of sad. I mean, I’m just an acting student and a beauty queen. What could they possibly be so afraid of?”
Lin’s father was also barred from leaving China because of his daughter’s activism.
Not being able to see her father was part of the reason why Anastasia chose to abide by pageant organizers’ requests to stay silent.
“I didn’t want to get disqualified because I wanted my dad to see me on Chinese TV,” she told FASHION. “And I wanted Chinese people to see me. I was determined to stick it to end.”
Pressure from international media is what finally prompted the pageant to let Anastasia speak.
“It was very scary and startling,” Lin said of her silencing. “I now feel more for the people who can’t speak up in repressive countries.”
As for her pageant career, the University of Toronto grad says she’s “totally done” with it.
“It destroyed me,” she told FASHION. “I’m moving on.”
Instead, Anastasia will focus on her acting career, and continue to raise awareness on human rights issues.
“My next step is to start from the grassroots, so everyone in the world is aware of it,” she said. “I might start something similar to the ice bucket challenge, so stay tuned!”