An Icelandic contestant in a Las Vegas beauty pageant has quit the competition in protest after being told by the owner that she was too fat, and should skip meals to lose weight if she wanted to win.
Arna Ýr Jónsdóttir is now being hailed a hero on social media by supporters around the world.
Jónsdóttir, who was named Miss Iceland 2015, claims she was told to lose weight on the orders of the owner of the Miss Grand International beauty contest, Thai TV presenter Nawat Itsaragrisil.
The controversy recalls Donald Trump’s treatment of beauty queen Alicia Machado, who was the first Miss Universe winner after Trump bought that pageant franchise, but later became the subject of Trump’s ridicule. He ordered her to do sit-ups and paraded her working out in front of journalists.
Jónsdóttir says she received a message saying, “Stop eating breakfast, eat just salad for lunch and drink water every evening until the contest. [The owner] is telling you this because he likes you and wants you to do well in this contest.”
Jónsdóttir responded by quitting the competition.
She told the Iceland Monitor, “If the owner of the contest really wants me to lose weight and doesn’t like me the way I am, then he doesn’t deserve to have me... Yes, my shoulders are a bit broader than the other girls, but that is because I was a member of the Icelandic national athletics team and I am proud of that.
“Of course, I don’t take these comments to heart, but to do my best then hear this… Personally, I think I’m fine as I am.”
According to the contest’s own website, the Miss Grand International is one of the world’s five major international beauty pageants.
As news of the body-shaming incident spread, Jónsdóttir was inundated with support on social media.
“It’s a big disgrace how they threated you. Not only for you, but to a lot of other younger girls. Wrong signal. You’re beautiful and please never change! We love you just like you are,” wrote one fan.
Jónsdóttir wrote on Instagram: “My past has made me who I am today. I’m proud to be one of the faces for Nike and if I did not have my sporty body I would never have gotten this huge opportunity to work with Nike.”
Although Jónsdóttir initially declared she was going to be heading straight home, she subsequently announced she would stay on in Las Vegas until Oct. 26.
Her plan? To explore the city, and “eat good food.”
Now that’s a very fine revenge.