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Who is Miss France winner, Eve Gilles and why is her win causing a debate on social media?

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20-year-old Eve Gilles from Nord-pas-de-Calais took the Miss France crown while rocking a pixie cut.

The French beauty pageant has been actively working on increasing diversity in recent years. Online, critics slammed the results as pandering to “woke culture

For the first time in the 100-year history of France’s top beauty pageant, Miss France has short hair.

20-year-old Eve Gilles, who won the competition over the weekend sporting a pixie cut, hailed the achievement as a “victory for diversity”.

We’re used to seeing beautiful Misses with long hair, but I chose an androgynous look with short hair,” she said. “No one should dictate who you are… every woman is different, we’re all unique.”

There were plenty of people celebrating the choice of winner online, pointing out the Ms Gilles follows in a rich tradition of short-haired French fashion, from Mistinguett to Coco Chanel.

The Miss Universe organization showcased their support for Eve, while also shining a light on how they want contestants to stay true to themselves.

There is no one way to be Miss Universe or Miss France, and we embrace every look that comes across our stage,” a spokesperson for Miss Universe said in a statement to People. “We represent the times, and being your confident unique self is the one thing we see being reflected in all of our winners.”

Alexia Laroche-Joubert, chief executive of Banijay France which owns the Miss France brand, defended the pageant as a symbol of “success” and a “social elevator” for contestants who have later become “businesswomen, doctors or film directors.”

The contest’s criteria have been “modernized,” she said, in that there is no longer an age limit for participants, who can now also be married or transgender.

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