A size 8 beauty queen recently returned her crown after allegedly being told she needed to slim down to compete in an international pageant.
Zoiey Smale from Nottinghamshire in England was awarded the Miss United Kingdom title in June and was looking forward to taking part in Miss United Continents in Ecuador. But after organizers reportedly told her she needed to “lose as much weight as possible” in order to stand a chance of making it to the finals, she decided to withdraw from the competition and give up her title.
According to Smale, the national director who was supporting her through the final stages of the competition said to her that officials wanted her to go on “a diet plan and they want you to lose as much weight as possible for the finals,” she told Mail Online. “I was like, “Pardon?” It was one of those things, in the 21st century you don’t actually expect people to be that blunt.”
The mother-of-one, who works in the sports industry, was left feeling hurt and confused by the comments. “I’m not big at all. I’m just bang on average. I just think to be told to lose as much weight as possible for a competition, why would people say that? It’s horrible and it made me feel so rubbish about myself for a long, long time,” she confessed.
The 28-year-old, who has been taking part in beauty pageants since the age of 18, explained that after thinking about it, she decided to politely decline to participate. “I said to my director, who was really supportive, that I don’t think someone should say that to girls. It’s awful and it’s horrible and it’s wrong. I don’t think to be a good role model you have to be stick thin and I explained my reasoning that way,” she said
Smale now wants to raise awareness about certain beauty pageants as she feels they could be negatively impacting the self-esteem of young women. “They’re not real pageants, they’re damaging young girls by telling them they’re fat. Ten years ago, I would have taken that completely to heart,” she explained. “I handed my title back because I’m not going to support a competition that can do that to people. I just think it’s so, so wrong. People wonder why there’s a stigma behind beauty pageants and this is not really helping the matter.”
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