A size 10 beauty queen has given back her crown after allegedly being told she needed to slim down to compete in an international pageant.
Zoiey Smale from Nottinghamshire was awarded the Miss United Kingdom title in June this year and was looking forward to taking part in the international competition in Equador.
But after Miss United Continents’ organisers allegedly told her she needed to “lose as much weight as possible” in order to stand a chance of winning the international finals, she decided to hand back her crown and withdraw from the competition.
After getting a call from the national director who was supporting her through the final stages of the competition, Zoiey was told that the Ecuadorian directors were keen for her to lose weight.
“She said to me: ‘They want you 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 mum-of-one, who now works in the sports industry, was left feeling hurt and confused by the comments.
“I’m a size ten; 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 from 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 says.
Zoiey now wants to raise awareness about certain beauty pageants as she feels they could be affecting the self-esteem of young women taking part.
“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 explains.
“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.”
Yahoo Style UK has contacted Miss United Continents for comment and are awaiting a response.
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