Who is Kathy Zhu

The pageant said she doesn't live up to good character requirements.

A beauty queen has lost her crown after the organization that sponsored the pageant discovered that her old, racist tweets violated the terms of her contract with them.

Kathy Zhu was Miss World Michigan until the director of the organization sent her a letter noting that past social media posts violated the contest requirement that she be “of good character.” The Miss World America contest has not made any public remarks but Zhu has been blasting them on social media and in interviews. She claims that they are discriminating against her because she is politically conservative.

Who is Kathy Zhu and why did she lose her crown? Read on for all the details.

1. She is an immigrant

Zhu was born in Qingdao, Shandong, but emigrated to the US with her family when she was five years old. Her family settled in Kissimmee Florida, where her parents are small business owners according to reporting by The Heavy. She initially enrolled at the University of Central Florida to study political science but transferred to the University of Michigan in 2018.

Zhu grew up in Florida. 

2. Conservative

Zhu' Twitter bio says she is an "lndependent Thinker” and a “Political Commentator.” She claims to be politically moderate but more right-leaning and she is an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump. She was even featured in an article on the website NextShark titled "Meet the Chinese-American Teen Who’s Donald Trump’s Biggest Fan” on the website in which she said “In today’s society, I feel like everyone tries to not offend anyone else. So I think that having a president who’s not politically correct is a really good way to show the real side of what’s happening in America".

Zhu she is now a Vice President of a campus Republican club at the University of Michigan. She wasn’t always so conservative, however. She said she used to be more liberal but changed her mind. She went on to tell NextShark that saying that she talked her parents out of supporting former Secretary of State Clinton in 2016 in favor of game show host Trump. She said at the time: “It’s a bandwagon trend. They hear something from one person and they’ll just automatically believe it because a large number of people believe in the same thing. I noticed I was being fed into that too.”

Zhu is an officer in her college Republican club.

3. Pageant

The Miss World Michigan title is a precursor to competing for Miss World America and the Miss World International title. The Miss World America website says: “Miss World America is the USA national preliminary into Miss World International contest. The United States has continuously sent a representative to Miss World since its inception in 1951. The United States has won the Miss World crown three times in 1973, 1990 and 2010. Currently, America’s Miss World is the official national pageant that selects the contestant from the United States to Miss World.”  Unlike other well-known beauty pageants, this one does not come with scholarship money as part of the prize package. While there is no information listed specifically about the Michigan competition, presumably, Zhu had been eligible for the Miss World America contest for 2019, but with the loss of her title, she may no longer compete.

The pageant is not a scholarship competition.

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4. Character issues

In the letter stripping her of her title, the New York Post reports that the director of the organization said: “It has been brought to the attention of Miss World America 'MWA' that your social media accounts contain offensive, insensitive and inappropriate content.” The letter went on to say that Zhu failed to meet the requirements that she maintain "good character..." Therefore, and effective immediately, MWA does not recognize you as a participant of any sort or in any capacity as it relates to any and all events of MWA.” They also directed her to remove any public-facing images of herself wearing the crown and sash related to the pageant.

Zhu has made her correspondence with the pageant director public. 

5. Posts

Zhu has a significant social media present and her Twitter account is called Political Kathy. She is not shy about sharing her views and she often retweets conservative posts. She seldom writes original posts as she prefers to share other tweets that appeal to her. She believes that the posts that fell afoul of Miss World Michigan policy were some old tweets, one of which was a post where Kathy talked about crime and said: “Did you know that the majority of black deaths are caused by other blacks? Fix problems within your own community first before blaming others." Newsweek reports that she did not include statistics or other evidence to back up this claim at the time.

The other tweet in question said: “There is a 'try a hijab on' booth at my college campus. So you're telling me that it's now just a fashion accessory and not a religious thing? Or are you just trying to get women used to being oppressed under Islam?" She tried to explain the second tweet this weekend by claiming that "a Muslim woman tried to forcibly put a hijab on my head without my permission," according to Newsweek. That account differs from one published in the Orlando Sentinelat the time of the incident, in which one of the women running the booth said Zhu refused to engage with them, tweeting: "I invited you to try one on and you said ‘no thank you,’” the woman wrote. “You didn’t take the time to even ask questions or try to understand what hijab is. That’s ignorant of you. You literally sprinted after taking the photos. That’s pathetic.”

While Zu and her supporters say this incident shows that the pageant discriminated against conservative thought, it appears that the Miss World America organization wasn't concerned with her tweets regarding conservative positions domestic policy or foreign relations. It was only the tweets that relate directly to issues of Zhu endorsing racial and religious discrimination that were mentioned as being in violation of their code of conduct.

The pageant was uncritical of a photo Zhu posted of Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. 

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6. Resonance

This isn’t the first time a beauty pageant winner has fallen under fire for comments that smacked of discriminatory attitudes. In 2009 Carrie Prejean Boller was first runner up in the Miss USA pageant. Some thought she was denied the crown due to her answer to a question about marriage equality. She responded "...in my country, in my family, I think that, I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offense to anybody out there. But that’s how I was raised and I believe that it should be between a man and a woman." Critics called for a review of her eligibility to hold the title but pageant owner Donald Trump stood up for her.

Trump has not yet commented on Zhu’s situation.

Zhu is campaigning for Trump.

Zhu remains a student at the University of Michigan and, since this doesn't seem to be a scholarship competition her ability to attend school won't be compromised. She has not indicated what she plans after she graduates.

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.