The recent confirmation that Miss England’s representative to the Miss World Pageant was told to ‘fatten up’ if she hopes to win the title seems comical but ironic to say the least, given the universality that the pageant characterizes.

A fairly well-covered young woman, Miss England’s Georgia Horsley looks healthier than half of Hollywood, yet she was instructed to pack on a few for fear of being considered ‘rail thin’ by the competition judges.

If the word, ‘World’ in the pageant does not signify universal acceptance of women, then we would be hard pressed to find something that does. It is an accepted fact that Miss China, where women are generally small framed, will look nothing like Miss Venezuela or Miss Colombia, where curves seem to be genetic. So why the big fuss now about curvier women?

Georgia is a size 4, which is small, but not outrageously thin considering size 1s and 2s are still appearing on catwalks and in magazines. The instruction for her to eat up came from the Director of the Miss England Competition, a former model and Miss World judge, who is convinced she is too thin for the competition, and since the story broke everyone has weighed in.

The silence of the Miss World Committee can be interpreted as an endorsement of the directive.

The irony of it all is the fact that the Miss World Pageant in its 57-year history has never openly campaigned for women of all sizes to be favoured as representatives, and it has never had a queen who is a size 8, though we could stand to be corrected on this. The women that parade on their stage year after year all look no larger than a size 6, which by regular standards, is still thin. Who are they trying to kid?

Miss England was initially stunned by the instruction, and we are guessing amused too, because if she has already checked out her competition she would have noticed that many obviously skinnier women/girls are in the line-up. Were they told to fatten up? No. But she is now battling with her diet which could do harm or good given that body fat often ends up in the wrong places for some people and not in the desired areas.

A glance right at home would confirm that Guyana’s representative to the pageant is fairly thin. True, she is still young and developing as a woman, but she was selected to represent us and will soon be thrust into the international spotlight. Now she is about half the size of Miss England. Perhaps we are exaggerating, but she does look like a size 2 and could very well be just that.

But on second thoughts, the comparison might be stretching the argument too far, because as harsh as it sounds, many of the women/girls who go to these pageants particularly from developing countries are hardly noticed. It takes a ‘stand-out’ beauty ambassador to get the attention necessary to catapult her to the crown.

There are the usual faces from particular countries who are the media darlings and regular press junkies when they get to the world stage. They include Venezuela, America, India, Russia, Canada, China, Japan, England, Colombia, Mexico and sometimes Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.

It would not be wise for locals to hold their breath in hope that our representative this year somehow makes it into this select group. Truth is, our best shot was with Olive Gopaul several years ago, and they even snubbed her though she stood out among the ravishing South American beauties in the line-up that year. There has not been another queen with Gopaul’s combined grace, beauty, personality and killer smile. (

Around the Web