Miss France may have won Sunday’s night’s Miss Universe pageant, but Miss Canada Siera Bearchell took home the competition’s body positive crown, with the help of Ashley Graham. Graham, who served as the pageant’s backstage host, interviewed Miss Canada backstage after the swimsuit portion, a part of the competition where social media trolls have been critical of Bearchell.
“To the haters I say, we are confident with who we are, because we’re women…we’re confident with ourselves and love ourselves and that’s what’s important,” Bearchell said.
“What do you do when you look in the mirror…do you have words of affirmation, to get yourself psyched up?” Graham asked Bearchell. “Because not everyone is as comfortable in their skin as maybe the two of us are.”
“Focus on what you love about yourself, because in our society, we’re taught to look (a certain way),” she replied. “Focus on the things that make you confident.”
Before the competition started, Graham praised Bearchell on the red carpet, exclaiming how rare it is to see a size-six contestant on the Miss Universe stage.
In a series of recent Instagram posts, Bearchell, a 23-year-old lawyer in training from Moose Jaw, Canada, responded to commenters’ jabs about her weight, sharing older pageant pics with deeply personal messages about why her frame may not look the same as other Miss Universe contestants.
“To be truthful, I restricted my food intake intensely at previous pageants and was miserable, self-conscious and I never felt good enough,” she wrote. “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.”