Beauty pageants may not be known for their all-embracing diversity of women's body types, but the degree to which these competitions have clung to a narrow definition of physical beauty proved to be too extreme for one participant.
After being told that she had to lose weight if she wanted to win, Miss Iceland, Arna Ýr Jónsdóttir, quit an international beauty pageant in a blaze of glory.
According to Jónsdóttir, the owner of Miss Grand International contest, Thai TV presenter named Nawat Itsaragrisil, had told her that she was too fat to win, The Daily Beast reported. The beauty queen alleged she received a message that read:
Stop eating breakfast, eat just salad for lunch and drink water every evening until the contest. [The owner] is telling you this because he likes you and wants you to do well in this contest.
Jónsdóttir responded by pulling out of the Las Vegas pageant. She later shared a photo on Instagram of a letter addressing the incident.
"I am a very strong woman, but sometimes my strength isn't enough," Jónsdóttir wrote. "I come with my passion and hard work to your pageant. 4 days before stage they tell me that I'm too fat for you. Actually if anyone tells me that I'm too fat or whatever, they just don't deserve me. And that's why I left. Miss Grand International doesn't deserve my face, body, personality or heart."
She also spoke about it in a video she shared on social media.
As an industry based on a narrow definition of female beauty, beauty pageants have largely been exempt of the level of criticism directed at the fashion industry. Granted, it's comparing apples and oranges, but the push for body positivity in fashion has seen brands increasingly embrace women of different shapes, sizes and colors.
There may not be the same expectation for beauty pageants to take to diversity, but Jónsdóttir said she does hope Miss Grand International will welcome international beauty standards.
"I truly hope the organization opens their eyes because the year is 2016 and if you are gonna hold an international pageant you have to be able to see the international beauty," she wrote.