Iranian-born mother, apameh schoenauer, challenges beauty standards as miss germany.

Apameh Schoenauer, the newly crowned Miss Germany, stands out not only for her age, nearing 40, but also for her Iranian heritage. However, these distinguishing characteristics have subjected her to a barrage of online abuse. “I anticipated some backlash, but nothing of this magnitude,” Schoenauer, 39, shared with AFP.

Despite facing hateful messages targeting her appearance and ethnicity following her coronation in February, Schoenauer remains undeterred. She acknowledges that many of these comments were superficial but underscores that it was precisely her unconventional profile that motivated her participation in the contest. “I entered Miss Germany because I wanted to catalyze change,” explained Schoenauer, an architect and mother to a toddler, who migrated to Germany at the age of six.

The birth of her daughter propelled Schoenauer to strive to be a role model for young girls. Drawing inspiration from her Iranian roots, she was deeply moved by the resilience of Iranian women protesting for their rights, particularly after the tragic death of Mahsa Amini in 2022. Schoenauer’s activism extends beyond beauty pageants; she is the founder of the Shirzan network, advocating for women’s rights.

Despite the online vitriol, Schoenauer’s triumph resonates positively within the Iranian community, serving as a beacon of hope. “Most Iranians feel pride in seeing an Iranian woman making a difference in a foreign land where she has resided for over three decades,” she expressed.

The Miss Germany pageant, revamped in 2019 to prioritize character and achievements over physical attributes, has further amplified Schoenauer’s platform. The backlash she faced underscores the urgency of her mission to challenge conventional beauty standards and promote inclusivity.

Reflecting on her journey, Schoenauer emphasizes the importance of self-assertion, especially in male-dominated fields like architecture. Her tenure as Miss Germany is dedicated to inspiring young women to embrace their uniqueness and strive for excellence. “While honoring your roots, it’s imperative to focus on shaping your future and maximizing your potential,” she affirmed, embodying resilience and determination in the face of adversity.