Miss UK, Zoiey Smale, has abdicated her throne after being asked to lose weight to compete at international level.
Zoiey had hoped to compete in the Miss United Continents competition in Ecuador after winning Miss UK in June, but has now handed back her crown and is taking a break from beauty pageants after being body shamed by the directors of the competition.
Despite being a slender size 10, the 28-year-old pageant star was advised to ‘lose as much weight as she could’ if she wanted to be a serious contender in September’s Miss United Continents in Ecuador.
Hardly supportive advice…
Speaking with UNILAD, shocked Zoiey explained how the competition didn’t reflect her own body positive values, leading her to quit:
After my national director gave me negative feedback from the international directors I took a few moments to really think about what I wanted to do.
The final straw for me was having a form to measure every inch of my body. I then decided this was not a competition for me.
Zoiey has previously had positive experiences in the pageant circuit, stressing how some pageants are a force for good, promoting charity work and body positivity:
I loved the campaigning and charity work. Political debates were also a favourite of mine. There are two sorts of pageants in the industry. I have always opted for the ones that are positive.
Honoured to be crowned Miss UK at finals this weekend. Roll on September for the internationals ❤️?? pic.twitter.com/mkPqRrGwJk
— ♛Zeezus♛ (@Zo13y) June 12, 2017
Zoiey has also opened up about how competing in pageants has helped her overcome an eating disorder, explaining:
Puberty hit me like a brick in the face and I grew to 5ft 11. Pageants were a way I felt comfortable being tall.
This unhealthy and dangerous let down is therefore particularly disappointing on a very personal level.
— ♛Zeezus♛ (@Zo13y) August 6, 2017
Zoiey is now using her experience to tackle body shaming, and doesn’t regret her decision to become a whistle-blower:
By sharing my story it has unleashed a portal to which people have sent me personal experiences and feel they can relate and talk.
It’s both soul destroying and positive. I hate hearing how people have been made to feel bad about themselves, but I am happy they can reach out to me and discuss things.
Plenty of people have come forward to express their admiration for this woman who refused to be pressured into submission, and Zoiey has been ‘overwhelmed’ by the positive response she has received.
@GMB Zoiey Smale is such a strong role model to all females out there – she should be so proud of herself ??
— Heather (@xo_Heathuur) August 31, 2017
#zoieySmale can't believe what they said to you. You are Ms Universe in my eyes. ??
— Julia Del Olmo Leal (@LealOlmo) August 31, 2017
Hopefully, Zoiey’s story will encourage beauty pageant organisers to make sure competitions are positive, encouraging environments.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.