Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Miss BBW 2012

Earlier this month I was invited to be a blog reporter for a plus size beauty event called Miss BBW 2012. The event was the final of a plus sized International beauty pageant, and celebrated the notion that big can be beautiful too. I was excited to be invited and jumped at the chance to celebrate curvy women and share it with all my lovely blog readers. :-)




The organisers say:


"Miss BBW International is a groundbreaking plus size beauty pageant open to big, beautiful women throughout the world.



Miss BBW International is a competition where plus size women and their admirers can come together to celebrate the beauty of size in a non judgemental environment and show that some of us do actually appreciate our curves! Most importantly, we show that we are comfortable in our own skin and not intimidated by the continuous pressure from the media to fit into a certain size label to be deemed acceptable in society. We proudly recognise that a great many plus size women do hold down high powered jobs and lead perfectly normal and happy lives. Not everyone wants to be a size zero and we are here to prove that there is life after a size 18!



Larger women are often rejected by other beauty pageants and we are here to change the perception of the world; which is that you can only be beautiful if you are slim. We need to let the world know that it is possible to be plus size, intelligent, and beautiful.


We at Miss BBW International do not encourage obesity, we purely provide a platform for the plus size women of the world to showcase their beauty on the catwalk that has previously been reserved for our slimmer sisters!"



Being a plus size lady myself I think its vital that we understand that just because you're a bigger lady, it doesn't mean that you can't be 'beautiful', or don't deserve to be beautiful. I have worn size 20, 18 and after my more recent slimming a size 16, and have battled a long time with body issues, food and eating disorders, and have travelled a lengthy journey to achieve a healthier body image. So it was refreshing to be a present at such a ground-breaking event.

I truly applaud all of the contestants for being confident enough to show off their curves with pride, and it was lovely to see how well most of the women dressed. The pageant showcased casual clothing, swimwear, and finally the beautiful dresses pageant-stylie! The girls were asked why they wanted to be crowned Miss BBW 2012, and talked about their own journeys of self-acceptance and confidence in their own skins. 


The Finalists in their swimwear. Image from 'The Sun' newspaper.  

The audience were treated to performances from the awesome plus-size Diva Dolls, four beautiful singers from Ireland who had bags of talent as well as bags of style! (Find and listen to them at www.thedivadolls.co.uk @thedivadolls on Twitter). There was also a funny comedian called Junior Simpson, (@juniorsimpson on Twitter) who coincidentally was from Bedfordshire (my neck of the woods), and gave us in the audience a lot of laughs! The whole event was hosted by the lovely Alison Hammond, (from Big Brother and presenter on ITV's This Morning). Alison is known for being honest, upfront and celebratory of her plus size figure, so she was the perfect woman for the job! Her lively and bubbly personality shone through and she really put the girls nerves at ease when interviewing them on stage. 


Alison Hammond - Copyright BECCABARRMANAGEMENT

The pageant judges had a tough job on their hands, but they eventually crowned the lovely Gemma Cruickshank as Miss BBW 2012, and a worthy winner she was. She was elegant throughout the pageant, she showed her body-confidence and spoke earnestly about her own struggles with her body-image over the years. I'm sure she'll be a fantastic ambassador for Miss BBW, and hope she helps to encourage more plus-size women to embrace their curves and celebrate their beauty, no matter what clothes size you wear. 


Gemma Cruickshank, Miss BBW 2012

The 19 finalists! 

My only criticism of the pageant, would be that as a plus-sized woman myself, I would have liked to have come away from the event feeling truly inspired by the outfits the women wore, and with a nice list of shops, stockists, designers or online stores who provide beautiful plus size fashion. This didn't happen. 

I did think some of the women didn't dress in an overly inspiring way, and some of the outfits did not encourage me to flaunt my curves, but instead made we wince a little! I must say that some of the contestants were dressed beautifully but I felt like the organisers didn't concentrate as much on what the contestants wore as perhaps they should have done. Maybe this was down to budget? Or maybe they need in future to secure some big clothing sponsors so we, the audience can see where the clothes are from and where we can buy the items for ourselves. 

I did however meet an inspiring plus-size clothing designer in the audience at the event called Syreeta Badu (find her website here). She had designed and made a dress worn by one of the organisers of Miss BBW which I absolutely adored. Emma Walker who wore the dress is a plus size lady herself and looked absolutely breathtaking in the dress. I believe it should be designers and clothing lines like this one who should be on board with Miss BBW, and provide future outfits for these plus size beauties. 

C for Chickah dress by Syreeta Badu, very flattering dress, this picture doesn't do it justice! 

It is time to break down boundaries and promote plus size women as beautiful too, and I'm well and truly on this band wagon! Size 16 is the UK's average clothes size, and we need to 'get real' in the media and promote healthier images for young people to aspire to. Yes, being obese isn't 'healthy', but neither is being an underweight size '0'. We need to find some middle-ground, and personally I'd like to see the media full of curvy size  12, 14, 16, 18 women, instead of being inundated with unrealistic body images. Miss BBW is leading the way, and with some ironed out creases will continue to be a wonderful platform for plus size women around the world. 

For more information on Miss BBW, or to apply for Miss BBW 2013 please go to their website - Miss BBW 

And please watch the documentary filmed at Miss BBW 2012 'PLUS SIZE BEAUTY PAGEANT' - on TOMORROW Wednesday 28th November on BBC3 at 9pm. 

8 comments:

  1. "I'd like to see the media full of curvy size 12, 14, 16, 18 women"
    I so agree. I dont even bother going into places like topshop anymore because I know I know those skinny jeans would never fit! I used to go shopping and come home depressed. I wouldn't ever want to try anything on. (recently gone down from size 16 to 8 :) )

    (although, handy tip - new looks skinny jeans, the ones in all the crazy colours, and actually river island have elastic in their skinny jeans!!)

    I would love to walk into a shop and see the same outfit on three different sizes. Or at least a normal sized mannequin! They should just pull someone off the street and make a full body cast of them!!

    Thankfully this 'vintage' trend is bringing back more flattering styles too!

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  2. You're so right Han. Vintage styles are usually much more flattering for bigger girls. Wow, what amazing weight loss.. well done you! What's your secret? I recently lost 3.5 stone, took a year of hard work, and lots of exercise, but i'm now laid up with a slipped disc, and finding exercise a struggle. I went from size 20 to size 16. But would still like to drop another dress size. You're so right about seeing differently sized mannequins/models, it would just make the world of fashion more 'normal' and reachable for the majority of women who aren't size zero. Even just a size 12/14 would be a huge step in the right direction. xxx Mrs B xxx

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  4. hey i really wish am one of the peageant of Miss BBW.. Guys, u're beautiful!!

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  7. I would just like to say how much I enjoyed reading this blog and this is coming from a 32 year old woman who weighs 7.5 stone and is a size 6 in clothing. I would do ANYTHING to have curves and put on a few dress sizes. I have had countless people tell me how "lucky" I am to be so skinny but the truth of the matter is I HATE IT!! I feel that the women WITH curves are the lucky ones and desire so much to be like them. Sometimes I look in the mirror and see a woman in her 30s trapped in a 12 year old's body, I don't find being this thin attractive or sexy at all. Some days I feel disgusting, and so frustrated with the fact that I find it almost impossible to put weight on. I very rarely buy dresses as I feel that to look good in a dress you need to be able to fill it. Sometimes I find wearing skirts and tops makes me look bigger so I normally stick with that look if dressing up for a night out. I love the 50s pin-up look that has become so popular in recent years but feel that I just don't have the figure to pull it off, again, frustrating to say the least. So, just to finish off, curvy women of the world - I salute you and INSPIRE to be like you. Your curves are beautiful - embrace them!! Jules xx

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  8. Thanks for your lovely comment Jules. I think women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful - and firmly believe we can't always choose our shapes, we are stuck with them & should make the most of our best and most attractive features. I try to celebrate my curves, although I would prefer to be a dress size smaller, I still try to be positive about my body & encourage women to be happy & healthy in their own skins xxxxx

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