A contestant in an international beauty pageant has quit after being told by the owner that she was too fat and would need to skip some meals if she wanted to win.
Arna Ýr Jónsdóttir, who was named Miss Iceland 2015, says the owner of Miss Grand International ordered her, through a spokesperson, to lose weight before Tuesday’s final competition.
“Stop eating breakfast, eat just salad for lunch and drink water every evening until the contest,” according to the message. Jónsdóttir told the Iceland Monitor that the pageant owner, Thai TV show host Nawat Itsaragrisil, passed along the orders because he "likes" her and wanted her to do well in the contest.
Jónsdóttir responded by quitting instead.
“If anyone tells me that I’m too fat or whatever, they just don’t deserve me. And that’s why I left,” she told the organization in a handwritten letter she posted on Instagram. “Miss Grand International doesn’t deserve my face, body, personality or heart.”
The incident recalls another controversy involving a pageant owner who ridiculed a beauty queen over her weight. Alicia Machado, who won the Miss Universe title in 1996, was repeatedly chastened in public by the pageant’s owner at the time, Donald Trump.
The Republican presidential nominee’s treatment of Machado has become a flash point in Trump’s campaign as an example of the way he views and treats women.
Jónsdóttir pointed out in her farewell note to the Miss Grand International competition, which is being held in Las Vegas, that in addition to being told she was fat, she also had “big shoulders.”
She advised pageant organizers to “open their eyes,” particularly if they plan to continue holding global competitions.
“In my country my bodyshape is perfect . And that’s what I’m gonna remember. No one will ever tell me anything else,” she wrote.
Jónsdóttir noted on Instagram that her love for sports and her athletic body is what landed her a contract with Nike.
“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.”
She also noted that while she initially planned to head home immediately, she later decided to stay in Las Vegas through Wednesday to see the sights and “eat good food.”