After competition organizers reportedly told her to lose weight, Zoiey Smale has returned her Miss United Kingdom crown, and has withdrawn from an international beauty pageant.
In a post to her Facebook page last week, Smale, who won Miss United Kingdom in June, said that she had enough of international pageant directors "bullying young aspiring girls into believing the only way to be successful is to be thin."
Smale explained that she had been excited after winning her Miss UK title, but what was meant to be a positive experience turned toxic after she says she was "asked to lose weight and go on a diet plan" for an international competition.
"I don't think it is the right to have my face representing a pageant ethos I do not believe in," she wrote. "I will be handing back my crown and wish the new title holder the very best of luck."
Smale told the Mail Online that the national director of the Miss United Continents pageant told her that the Ecuadorian directors wanted her to "lose as much weight as possible."
"It was one of those things, in the 21st century you don't actually expect people to be that blunt," she told Mail Online. "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."
Though it was a difficult decision, Smale has dropped out of the pageant and returned her crown in order to make a statement against the body-shaming that can happen within pageant competitions. Just last year, Miss Iceland also quit an international competition after being told to lose weight.
"It saddens me that even still, there are pageant directors who believe you must be skinny to be beautiful," she wrote 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."
Refinery29 has reached out to both Smale and Miss United Continents for comment, and will update this article when we receive responses.
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