Why I Am Not Competing at Miss International 2017

Last October, I was working for the US House of Representatives and living on Capitol Hill in D.C. I was at work one day and received the call I had been selected as Miss Massachusetts International 2017 to pursue my platform GIRLS: Gals In Real Life Succeed, educating and inspiring young women to become active political participants- an extension of my Girl Scout Gold Award.
I’ve thought long and hard about how to address my absence at the Miss International 2017 competition this week. As all the other amazing ladies arrive in Charleston, West Virginia today, I will not be there.
I’ve never in my life let my dress size dictate my self worth, success, or opportunity, but in this case I had no other choice. I have run my life as a public spotlight of self love and always hoped my energy inspired other young girls to love themselves no matter what they look like.
I will not go into specifics, but I am a confident size 16/18, which was clearly stated in my application as Miss Massachusetts International 2017. However, I hadn’t known at the time that I signed the contract that they would choose an opening number dress (uniform for all contestants) that was a Sherri Hill 2 piece that only went up to a size 12. On top of that- the fitness wear only went up to an XL (one that would not fit me).
After tear filled days and phone calls trying to fix this situation, I was given an option to buy a second dress and have a seamstress combine them. I contacted a few seamstresses and said what I was told- to which they said that was not a fair or even possible option- especially because of the bust size, it just wouldn’t look right.

I started to question that maybe I needed to lose more weight to fit into that 12 dress, workout way more than I already was, eat way less than I had already cut down to. Wondering why this menial part (that isn’t even scored) of the competition was giving me so much stress, and without any viable options or help, I made the decision to withdraw. It wasn’t the point of losing the weight. It was the fact that I refuse to change myself to fit a mold that is required. I have competed in 2 Miss America local pageants in MA, winning People’s Choice both times while strutting a swimsuit in front of hundreds of people. I am not ashamed of who I am, and I never will be.

I had told the other Miss Contestants that I wasn’t attending because of this. However, there were others given the option of wearing the Mrs. International contestant opening number dress because the size had run out. I had NEVER been given that option. This is not to attack anyone, I just wanted it out there why I chose to not go.
I truly wish the rest of the contestants the best of luck this week, and will be watching from the sidelines. I am so grateful for the outpouring of support I have received over the last 10 months, especially those who helped me through this difficult decision.
I wanted nothing more than to represent my home state of Massachusetts and sharing my platform of getting more young women into elected office, but I will just have to find another avenue for this.

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