Miss America is ending the swimsuit competition portion of its pageant and a former Miss Universe competitor from Saskatchewan has mixed feelings.
Moose Jaw’s Siera Bearchell competed in the Miss Universe 2016 pageant, where she finished in the top nine.
At first, Bearchell indicated she thought it would make sense for swimsuits to be eliminated in all pageants, both from the teen side to the Miss America or Miss Universe sides. But thinking about it further, she believes pageants can be enhanced by the competition.
“It does add to the show. It’s fun, it’s exciting and the thing that I do like about it is that it does show, for the most part, that women are different shapes and sizes,” she explained.
Bearchell — who graduates from law school Wednesday —has called out body shamers on social media in the past. On Instagram she posted, “there is beauty beyond size. There is beauty beyond walking on stage in a bikini. There is beauty beyond looking a particular way.”
She said what people see on TV is only just a small snippet of the pageant. Bearchell explained sometimes the contestants are judged for weeks on not only their appearance but also on interviews, character and how they treat people they interact with, like volunteers.
“People are often quick to judge that ‘Oh, it’s just a competition, it’s just this beauty pageant, women parading on stage,’ and it’s just so much more.”
She said inner beauty is judged behind the scenes.
Ultimately, judges are looking for someone with the total package Bearchell added.
“Beauty is defined by everyone differently.”
With so much focus on the external, it's no wonder we suffer so much internally. 💭 I've seen the photo on the left circulating through media online (the changed image). The photo on the right is directly from the @missuniverse Press Website (the real, raw image). It's so sad that us women face this kind of criticism and hatred in a world that needs positivity now, more than ever. We need to uplift the women in our lives rather than belittle them for their appearance. We need to celebrate the diversity and uniqueness that we all exhibit. There is beauty beyond size. There is beauty beyond walking on stage in a bikini. There is beauty beyond looking a particular way. It's time to realize that true beauty, self-worth and validation start from within. #beautybeyondsize #bodydiversity #confidentlybeautiful #misscanada #missuniverse