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Monday, June 16, 2014

Hooray For Curves: Miss Indiana Mekayla Diehl Compared to "Average"

 Mekayla Diehl, Miss Indiana, a "normal" beauty at size-4

The annual Miss USA pageant on Sunday night crowned Nia Sanchez, Miss Nevada, as the 2014 pageant winner. But it was Indiana's Mekayla Diehl that has captured everyone's attention even though she didn't make the top ten finalists. Diehl was only on stage in a bikini and heels for 30 seconds, but it was enough time to get the attention of more than 10,000 twitter users.

The 5'8", size-4 beauty queen, Diehl is gathering so much praise for her "normal" figure. And, she claims it just blows her away by all the attention. Even though she knew she was competing against much taller and less shapely professional models, Diehl confessed she was "very confident in her own skin, and she didn't obsess over being too skinny or not being tall enough."

Diehl is being called "curvy." And, maybe that's because of the shape of her competition. Some are saying all the attention Diehl is receiving is a victory for "average" and "normal" beauties. But, these words might not be the most appropriate terms here. Mekayla Diehl is a striking beauty, but according to the Center For Disease Control, the average sized woman in America is 5'3.8" and wears between a size 12 and 14.

How about a depiction of a model, 5 foot 8ish, to see what an average CDCP contestant with Diehl's height might look like? That would be her -- the third from the left, the woman in the middle position.

Now, for comparison, lets see two very successful models that are considered "plus size" beauties. Here they are in their swimsuit photos.

1. Swedish Model Erika Elfwencrona

Standing 5'9" with a 34DD bust, a 31 inch waist, and 41 inch hips, this blonde, blue-eyed beauty is also an actress. She says she was discovered by a Swedish agency when she was 17 years-old.

2. American Model Lizzi Miller

The 5'11", 180 pound, size 12/14 model is in her mid-20s now, and she caused a major stir in September, 2009, when she posed for Glamour Magazine. From then on she became known as “The Woman on Page 194." Miller is now a plus-sized model star.

The over 9 Billion Worldwide Impressions she received as a result of that un-doctored photo were a far cry from Lizzie’s modest beginnings as a “California Girl," born in San Jose.

As a young girl Lizzie struggled with her weight but applied herself to eating right and exercising, losing a dramatic 60 pounds in exchange for a strong sense of self. Drawn to the world of plus size modeling, she entered a Model Search at 13 years old and was immediately signed by the prestigious Wilhelmina Modeling Agency in New York.  Shortly thereafter, she moved to New York to further pursue her modeling career.

"When I was young I really struggled with my body and how it looked because I didn't understand why my friends were so effortlessly skinny," Lizzi told me. "As I got older I realized that everyone's body is different and not everyone is skinny naturally--me included! I learned to love my body for how it is, every curve of it. I used to be so self-conscious in a bikini because my stomach wasn't perfectly defined. But everyone has different body shapes! And it's not all about the physical! If you walk on the beach in your bikini with confidence and you feel sexy, people will see you that way too."

 Lizzie Miller -- undoctored

This is Lizzie Miller in the infamous photo from the September issue of Glamour Magazine on page 194. Lizzie Miller’s natural beauty inspired Glamour readers and women everywhere. A simple photo of what a real woman looks like started a “body image revolution”.

My Take

I don't really know what is "average" for a beautiful woman, but I do know a beautiful woman when I see one, and I know Mekayla, Erika, and Lizzie are beauties, no matter their size or their comparisons to Centers for Disease Control standards. I am in favor of women with curves who do not starve themselves to become beauty queens or models. And, I believe young girls should be encouraged to exercise and watch their weight but not to conform to ridiculous standards of skinny body types and supposed "beautiful, thin figures."

When all is said and done, a woman's beauty radiates from her entire persona. Great eyes and lips often provide a female with alluring qualities that make other attributes secondary additions to the total package. And, of course, the reverse is also true -- the right curve can be so appealing that a guy never remembers facial features. Any guy will tell you that beauty is shimmering, allusive, and indescribable.

Besides, beautiful girls are like ice cream. Who wants to commit to loving just one flavor when the variety of great tastes and looks makes life so much more interesting. When a woman is confident and knows how to use her charms, she becomes so much sexier, a delight for the senses.  

 All sizes and shapes and features can attract.

 Nia Sanchez - new Miss USA
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