Miss United Kingdom gave back her crown after being told to lose weight if she wanted to compete internationally.
28-year-old Zoiey Smale was named Miss UK after winning the UK round of the Miss United Continents back in June.
Smale told Mail Online that the national director of the pageant told her that the Ecuadorian directors wanted her to “lose as much weight as possible,” before competing if she wanted to stand a chance of winning.
As a result, Smale dropped out of the pageant and returned her crown to make a stand against the body-shaming that frequently occurs in pageant competitions.
Last year, Miss Iceland also quit an international competition after being told “to eat less'”and that she had “big, broad shoulders”.
Speaking about her reasoning for handing back her crown and title, Smale said:
“I think it’s important to empower women and know it’s OK to be healthy, educated and a good role model.”
“I didn’t hand my crown over straight away. I was going to go out of protest, however what example would that be setting?”
The beauty queen was meant to travel to Guayaquil, Ecuador in September for the pageant, but now works in the sports industry.
“I’m not big at all I’m just bang on average,” she said. “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.”
When recalling the phone conversation with the director who told the size-10 model she was too big, Smale said:
“I asked her to just tell me exactly what was said.”
“[I was told] ‘she needs to go on a diet plan as she is too big’. “At this point I was so shocked and needed a moment to compose myself.”
In a now viral Facebook post, Smale said she was ‘saddened’ by the pageant’s belief that “the only way to be successful is to be thin.”
“It saddens me that even still, there are pageant directors who believe you must be skinny to be beautiful,” she concluded on Facebook.
“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.”