Beauty queen Zoiey Smale was crowned Miss United Continents UK back in June, but just two short months later, she’s handed back the title — and she had a very body positive reason for doing so.
The trouble came when she began prepping for the next round of competition set to take place in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The national director informed her that the Ecuadorian directors weren’t happy with her weight. As she told the Daily Mail, “Out of the blue, it was really random, she rang me and said, ‘I’ve got some feedback from the international director.’ I was like, okay, fine, I’m always open to new ideas. She tried to put it tactfully, but I knew exactly what she was getting at.”
Eventually, she says the director came right out with her request: “They want you to go on a diet plan and they want you to lose as much weight as possible for the finals.” The pageant winner was stunned. “I was like, ‘Pardon?’ It’s one of those things in the 21st century you don’t actually expect people to be that blunt.”
The 28-year-old, who had won her recent title after coming out of pageant retirement after years of body shaming within the pageant industry, was not about to take the criticism lying down. “I was branded “fat” because I am a size 10. I actually believed that I was so disgusting that no one would ever love me. How sad is that?” she shared in a Facebook post. “It was supposed to be a positive experience as pageants have really changed in the last decade,” she wrote, but seeing that it wasn’t, she made the decision to give back the crown.
“After being asked to lose weight and go on a diet plan for an international competition, I have withdrawn,” she explained via social media. Some of you may think this is cowardly, however, I don’t think it is right to have my face representing a pageant ethos I don’t believe in. I will be handing back my crown and wish the new title holder good luck.”
She also went on to share the outlook on body positivity that led to her decision. “I love me and I will not change for everyone. My body has carried me 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.” Since penning the post just over two weeks ago, the former Miss UK has been flooded with support from fans all over the world.
In a response to the backlash the organization has received, the director stated that the feedback she had given from the organization was quite different than the feedback the young woman said she had received. “What’s really disappointing in all of this is that the feedback we’ve received was, and I quote, ‘She looks beautiful, has a great height, and we recommend that she prepares herself by following a healthy diet and regular exercise to the best of her ability’ was totally misinterpreted… the feedback was given purely based [on] the bikini shots taken at the UK finals in June 2017.” She also condemned what she called “extreme dieting or the like,” calling such practices outdated.
However, Smale will not be deterred. The former pageant titleholder took to Facebook once more to say that she would not “be bullied into silence.”
“I am proud of who I am and I will stand by my statements,” she continued. “I love that people feel empowered by knowing that they are not alone. You will never break me, ever!”
Do you think Zoiey was warranted in her decision to turn in the crown? Tell us over @BritandCo.
(Photos via Zoiey Worlds/Facebook)