Rehema currently works as a health technology consultant, working with healthcare professionals on electronic patient records (Image: Studio NI Photography / SWNS)
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Newly crowned Miss England Rehema Muthamia today stands defiant against the trolls who gave her racist abuse following her win.
Rehema, 25, had held the title for just seven days when event organisers were bombarded by sick messages.
The genetics graduate, who has marched for Black Lives Matter, says she is dismayed but not shocked by being targeted – and even expects it as a black woman in a public-facing role.
Londoner Rehema told us: “I was saddened. I’d love to think we live in a world where racism doesn’t exist, but it does. It’s the black experience in the UK.
“When I go to places outside London I sometimes get a few stares and shouts. I have had to suffer the N-word a lot especially if I’m in a different country where there may not be many people of colour. I don’t expect it to ever go away.
“I almost expect it’s going to come with the territory of being Miss England.”
Remi volunteered at Midlands International Aid Trust
(Image: Tristan Potter / SWNS)
Rehema Muthamia was crowned Miss England by NHS Doctor Bhasha Mukherjee who held the title for 2 years
(Image: Studio NI Photography / SWNS)
One message on the event’s Instagram account referred to “darkies” and called Rehema’s win “propaganda… to throw blacks down our throats”.
Another troll left organisers a voicemail asking how an “African” could be crowned Miss England. Rehema was born in London to Kenyan parents.
It comes in a week when one of the Queen’s senior representatives told how she and the Royal Family support BLM and “care passionately about making this one nation bound by the same values”.
And former England football star Rio Ferdinand told the Joint Committee on the Government’s Draft Online Safety Bill how he had to tell his children what the monkey emoji meant to racists after being trolled.
The genetics graduate, who has marched for Black Lives Matter, says she is dismayed but not shocked by being targeted
(Image: Elite Media / Miss England /SWNS)
Born in North West London, Rehema spent part of her childhood living in Kenya
(Image: Studio NI Photography / SWNS)
England’s black players received appalling abuse after the Euros final and in World Cup qualifiers this summer.
Now Rehema, a consultant at a health tech firm, hopes to speak to other black pageant winners, such as former Miss England Rachel Christie, about their experiences of trolling.
Rehema has avoided reading the hateful messages, but aims to address racism in her capacity as Miss England.
She said: “At some point I will have to… be a voice for women and men that look like me – even people who don’t look like me – just to give them an understanding of what it’s like to be a black or ethnic minority person in the UK.”
She has already suffered frightening abuse of a different sort – after she was hounded by her ex, Lorenzo Dixon.
They met at Sussex University and dated from 2017 but split in 2019 over his “coercive control and emotional abuse”.
She said he bombarded her with calls, letters, flowers and teddy bears. Once he followed her into a train carriage and travelled alongside her for 100 miles.
Rehema reported Dixon in 2019 and he was given a verbal harassment order. But he continued to harass her.
Her plight inspired her to enter the new Miss All African Colours contest in June 2020. It was set up to improve diversity in the wake of the BLM movement.
Rehema said most women of her age group won’t talk about abuse but added: “I thought if I have a platform I’ll be able to do something about it.”
She spoke of her ordeal in the Miss All African Colours presentation round, and beat eight others to win her heat and qualify for Miss England in February. The final was in Coventry last month.
In April, trainee lawyer Dixon, 27, admitted stalking and harassment. Brighton magistrates gave him a 12-month community order, a restraining order and 30 hours’ rehabilitation.
Rehema said: “He got away with it scot-free. It was absolutely nothing.”
But she says winning Miss England left her “overwhelmed”.
She is already using her platform, welcoming Afghan refugees in Walsall, West Midlands.
She will travel to Puerto Rico to compete in Miss World on December 16.