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Miss Universe Contestant Claps Back at Body Shamers Who Criticized Her Weight

Miss Universe pageant contestant Siera Bearchell took to Instagram after she was recently targeted by social media trolls, apparently for a slight gain in her weight. While the aspiring pageant queen is no stranger to this kind of negativity, she decided to address the issue head-on. (Read: 10 Badass Women Who Made 2016 Better By Clapping Back at Body Shaming Haters)

 

I was recently asked, "What happened to you? Why have you gained weight? You are losing points" This was a reference to my body of course. While I am first to say I am not as lean as I was when I was 16, 20, or even last year, but I am more confident, capable, wise, humble and passionate than ever before. As soon as I started to love who I was rather than always trying to fit what I thought society wanted me to be, I gained a whole new side of life. This is the side I am trying to bring to the @missuniverse competition. The side of life that is so rare to find: self-worth and self-love. We always focus on the things we wish we could change rather than loving everything we are. #missuniverse #bodydiversity #IMG

A photo posted by Siera Bearchell (@sierabearchell) on

"I was recently asked, 'What happened to you? Why have you gained weight? You are losing points,'" she wrote in the post. "This was a reference to my body of course. While I am first to say I am not as lean as I was when I was 16, 20, or even last year, but I am more confident, capable, wise, humble and passionate than ever before."

"As soon as I started to love who I was rather than always trying to fit what I thought society wanted me to be, I gained a whole new side of life," she continued. "This is the side I am trying to bring to the [Miss Universe] competition. The side of life that is so rare to find: self-worth and self-love. We always focus on the things we wish we could change rather than loving everything we are."

While her response is both graceful and admirable, it's understandable these hurtful comments weren't conducive to her personal struggle with body image. (Read: How Fat Shaming Could Destroy Your Body)

In another post, Siera opens up about how she went on strict diets while preparing for pageants and how that just wasn't something that was good for her physical or mental health.

 

"It takes discipline to have the body of a Miss Universe." It also takes discipline to be accepted into Law School. It takes discipline to run a marathon. It takes discipline to be true to ourselves in a world that is constantly trying to shape us into something we are not. People have asked me if I changed my body to prove a point. No. Our lives are fluid, dynamic and ever-changing. So are our bodies. To be truthful, I restricted my food intake intensely at previous pageants and was miserable, self-conscious and I never felt good enough. No matter how little I ate and how much weight I lost, I constantly compared myself to others and felt like I could still lose more. My mental perception did not match the physical body I saw in the mirror. There were days I would eat a protein bar, workout for hours and struggle to fall asleep because I as so hungry. My body is not naturally lean and that's okay. I am healthy. I am fit. I am confident. I am me. This is who I am right now and I'm okay with it, so you should be too. My fellow ladies, remember that true beauty, and validation start from within.  #confidentlybeautiful #missuniverse

A photo posted by Siera Bearchell (@sierabearchell) on

"'It takes discipline to have the body of a Miss Universe,'" she begins. "It also takes discipline to be accepted into law school. It takes discipline to run a marathon. It takes discipline to be true to ourselves in a world that is constantly trying to shape us into something we are not."

"People have asked me if I changed my body to prove a point," she continues. "No. Our lives are fluid, dynamic and ever-changing. So are our bodies. To be truthful, I restricted my food intake intensely at previous pageants and was miserable, self-conscious, and I never felt good enough. No matter how little I ate and how much weight I lost, I constantly compared myself to others and felt like I could still lose more. My mental perception did not match the physical body I saw in the mirror. There were days I would eat a protein bar, workout for hours and struggle to fall asleep because I as so hungry."

Thankfully, over time and after learning the importance of self-love, Siera says she has learned to accept her body just the way it is.

"My body is not naturally lean and that's okay," she says. "My fellow ladies, remember that true beauty and validation start from within." Preach.

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