Photo: Anderson Cooper
If you were in Peru reading any of the dailies you would think there were no more wars or world hunger, because all you would read about is the audacity of CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
His crime? Insulting the national costume of Miss Peru 2013.
Cooper ridiculed Miss Peru, Cindy Mejia’s national custom as she competed for Miss Universe, making mention of it on the ‘RidicuList’ segment of his ‘AC360’ show.
The costume depicts the traditional garb worn by Peruvian women from the Mantaro Valley region. The region is known for its intricately woven tapestries, blankets and sweaters. The award-winning designer Ricardo Avila Cherres, who is known for incorporating native elements into his fashions, designed the colorful ensemble.
Cooper found it hilarious that Mejia was carrying a baby, albeit plastic, on her back much like the indigenous women of Peru do. He opined that the faux baby looked like a “little old man baby.” Mejia was carrying a manta that is a large rectangle of woven fabric folded in half and tied in a knot at the mother’s chest now known as the baby sling.
Unfortunately Cooper was not the only one making fun of the costume. It made it to the Telegraph’s Worse Costume list noting it looked like someone “robbed an entire Andean village of souvenirs.” iVillage, meanwhile, called the baby doll creepy,
Comments in Peru’s media have ranged from outrage to indignation to calls for an apology. The majority are upset that Cooper appeared ignorant on the traditions of Peru.
It was a night of pride for the region that saw 20 contestants of Latino descent compete and four out of five finalist being Hispanic. Venezuela’s Gabriela Isler won the crown. Latin America also won for the Best national costume and no it wasn’t Miss Peru, it went to Miss Nicaragua, Natassja Bolivar.