Modeling and pageant competitions are notoriously strict professions to get into. We have all heard the horror stories before—an already thin model is told to lose even more weight. But due in no small part to some of the brave women who refuse to accept these shameful practices, things are changing.
Still, it was quite a shock when, after 28-year-old mother Zoiey Smale was crowned Miss United Kingdom on June 28th, she says she was told by a pageant supervisor that she was “fat” and she had to lose “as much weight as possible” for the international competition.
With these words, the elation at her latest win, the culmination of ten years of dedication and hard work, was erased in an instant. But her inner strength and beauty gave her the courage to stand up for herself and all women, and now the internet is rallying behind her.
Smale, who had struggled with eating disorders since she was 16 years old, was told to lose weight by pageant officials.
Maybe another person would have broken down and submitted to the pressure. Maybe another would have acquiesced immediately.
But Smale, who is a UK size 10, was different. She had been afflicted by eating disorders since she was 16 years old, and after this latest attempt to shame her into losing weight, she refused to take it anymore. Instead, she handed over her crown and resigned as Miss United Kingdom.
Afterwards, she posted her story onto her personal Facebook page to explain why she did it, and she encouraged other women not to be shamed due to their weight.
“I was branded ‘fat’ because I am size 10. I actually believed that I was so disgusting that no one would ever love me. How sad is that?”
“I love me and will not change for anyone. My body has carried me through my 20+ years of being on this earth, allowed me to have a career I am very proud of, carry a child and the best thing of all, my body has never given up on me. I have had some really amazing experiences through being in the pageant industry and made some lifelong friends and memories. However I don’t believe anyone should be able to manipulate you and dull your sparkle.”
“All in all we never know when our time on this earth is up…so love yourself, eat a bit of cake and laugh until your belly hurts.”
You can read the full posting on Smale’s personal Facebook page here.
Her story went viral, and now thousands of women around the world are showing their support.
“You might have suggested they have their eyes examined… GOOD FOR YOU,” wrote one commenter.
“You are beautiful,” wrote another commenter. “A role model to women of all ages around the world. Go as you are.”