I smiled and nodded because I genuinely believe he meant it as a compliment and I always want to recognize good intensions.
But giving credit to any of my accomplishments to what I look like is actually a bit insulting. It diminishes all the hard work I put in by attributing it to a characteristic that is unrelated.
Society still has us believing that the best compliment you can pay a woman is physical attractiveness. That we are defined by desirability and beauty sums up our worth no matter what our accolades.
While I am overwhelmed with gratitude by what happened last weekend, I also realize that in the 70+ years of this contest, there has been a total of only 4 women who have ever won the title of The World Championship of Public Speaking. I also found out I was the first woman from Founder’s District and first Korean American woman to ever place at the world stage.
Given that history, kind sir.
I would argue that I placed despite being a minority woman.
Not because of it.