2018

Are More Body Sizes Acceptable At the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants?

October 13, 2017

Are More Body Sizes Acceptable At the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants?
Like many of you, I have been a fan of the Miss Universe organization for many years. I
have seen a myriad of contestants walking the Miss USA and Miss Universe stage. The first
Miss USA and Miss Universe I have seen crowned was Shandi Finnessey and Jennifer Hawkins
in 2004, respectively. I always inspired by the contestants by the way they carry themselves, the
way they look, and the way they can articulate their opinions and beliefs. As a pageant fan, I
always visit the popular websites and blogs to find out the latest news about the pageant
contestants. I did not really pay any attention to the size of the contestants until the 2016 Miss

Universe pageant.

During the pageant, Miss Canada Universe 2016, Siera Bearchell, was body shamed for
her weight gain between her national pageant and the Miss Universe pageant. She stated in
interviews that she kept her weight down due to only eating a half of protein bar per day, and
when she started to eat normal again, she expectedly gained weight. To many people surprise,
she made it past the swimsuit round during the final competition at Miss Universe.
I was shocked that many people were surprised that she did well. I thought that she had a
healthy figure for her body type. However, there were pageant fans and experts who stated that
she was too curvy for the Miss Universe stage. But through reputable resources, it is noted that
Siera Bearchell is a size six, which is still below the average size of women in the United States,
which is a size fourteen.
I hope that through the changes from the Miss Universe organization that there will be
more acceptance of wide variety of body shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, there is a
misconception that smaller a person is the healthier and in shape that person is. Siera Bearchel
ran an entire marathon, and there was an episode from the Tyra Banks show that compared a
smaller woman and a larger woman running on a treadmill over a length of time to display the
misconceptions of the appearance of healthiness of an individual.
More than ever now, there are more plus-size models who are displayed on magazines
and runways. For example, Ashley Graham, who is a size fourteen, is a commentator of the Miss
USA and Miss Universe pageants. And, there are more stores that either cater to curvier women
or have added more sizes to their stores, such as Torrid and Forever 21.
In conclusion, by being the first contestant who represents the small town of Cumberland
County and is always physically active, I hope that I can inspire other women who are more
curvier to be confident in who they are and to continue to dispel the misconceptions of fitness
and healthiness of curvier women. I hope that in years to come, there will be more women of all
sizes who can be confidently beautiful in the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants.
Courtney Reed
Miss Cumberland County USA