Reigning Miss Canada Siera Bearchell has a body positive message to those who tell her that she is "losing points" by gaining weight. The Miss Universe contestant took to her Instagram and wrote a post about the importance of self-worth alongside a photo of herself posing in her bathing suit during a competition.
I was recently asked, "What happened to you? Why have you gained weight? You are losing points" This was a reference to my body of course. While I am first to say I am not as lean as I was when I was 16, 20, or even last year, but I am more confident, capable, wise, humble and passionate than ever before. ??As soon as I started to love who I was rather than always trying to fit what I thought society wanted me to be, I gained a whole new side of life. This is the side I am trying to bring to the @missuniverse competition. The side of life that is so rare to find: self-worth and self-love. We always focus on the things we wish we could change rather than loving everything we are.
But Bearchell's message of self love and acceptance didn't stop there. In another post, she revealed that she has stopped limiting her food intake before pageants because strict dieting is "miserable." Instead, she chooses to accept her body the way it is.
"It takes discipline to have the body of a Miss Universe." It also takes discipline to be accepted into Law School. It takes discipline to run a marathon. It takes discipline to be true to ourselves in a world that is constantly trying to shape us into something we are not. People have asked me if I changed my body to prove a point. No. Our lives are fluid, dynamic and ever-changing. So are our bodies. To be truthful, I restricted my food intake intensely at previous pageants and was miserable, self-conscious and I never felt good enough. No matter how little I ate and how much weight I lost, I constantly compared myself to others and felt like I could still lose more. My mental perception did not match the physical body I saw in the mirror. There were days I would eat a protein bar, workout for hours and struggle to fall asleep because I as so hungry. My body is not naturally lean and that's okay. I am healthy. I am fit. I am confident. I am me. This is who I am right now and I'm okay with it, so you should be too. My fellow ladies, remember that true beauty, and validation start from within.
In recent years, beauty pageants have started to make necessary changes to better keep up with the times. As more people are joining the body positive movement, things like beauty pageants seem more and more antiquated and objectionable. In 2016, the Miss Teen USA pageant scrapped the swimsuit portion of the competition in favor for a "fitness wear." Besides widening their narrow beauty standards, competitions are also becoming more inclusive than ever before (though they still have a ways to go). Miss America welcomed their first openly gay contestant. Deshauna Barber, a 27-year-old army officer, won the Miss USA pageant, making her the first military service member to hold the title. Halima Aden, a Muslim Somali-American teenager, competed in the Miss Minnesota pageant while wearing a hijab.
Confidence is good look on everyone—no matter what your body type is.