June 11, 2014 at 10:48 AM ET
A pageant contestant praised for her "normal" body is in the middle of an ages-old controversy: Is super-thin the new normal?
Miss Indiana, Mekayla Diehl, drew social media applause Sunday night after appearing in a bikini that flaunted curves many described as "average" and “normal.”
But on TODAY Wednesday, Miss USA Nia Sanchez said Diehl is no different than the other athletic pageant contestants she competed against.
“I felt like this year we had a really healthy class of girls, and that’s what the pageant is about, not being skinny and having the clothes fall off your bones, but being fit, healthy and active. And Mekayla is,” she said.
“We were at the gym working out together. She was telling me how she does different sports. We all do.”
Sanchez, 24, has trained in tae kwon do and currently holds a fourth-degree black belt.
“Someone else did hockey and we had girls who were wrestlers," she said. "It’s an active year.”
Sanchez was crowned Miss USA on Sunday night in the annual pageant, held this year in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The controversy has also created some backlash from people wondering how someone like Diehl, who told her hometown paper she is a size 4, be considered “normal” when the average American woman wears a size 12 or 14.