When she competed for the title of Miss Italy, 22-year-old Paola Torrente won second place. But that didn't stop people from body-shaming her. Torrente is a size 14. According to a study published in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology, and Education, that's actually smaller than the U.S. average of 16 to 18. Yet, the mother of the third-place contestant said that Torrente should "take part in the Plus Size Miss Italy contest," The Daily Mail reports, implying that plus-sized women shouldn't be included in the main pageant.
On top of that, model Nina Moric accused Torrente of having "too much flesh," in an Instagram post translated by The Daily Mail. In a more recent post, Moric has denied the comment, citing translation issues. The beauty pageant's organizers actually called Moric on live TV and had her apologize. "I embrace my curves at 360 degrees, and I'm never ashamed of them," Torrente told The Daily Mail. "I want to tell young women to accept themselves and to understand that feeling good and being happy is the most powerful thing to fight people's words and thoughts." She also says she thinks the beauty standards in the pageant world are improving. "Now, a lot of girls that don't fit the beauty ideal of tall and skinny compete. That's a really good thing, it means mentality is changing," she said.