Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Phat and a Beauty Queen....

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Later this year, Chloe Marshall and her wobbly bits - of which there are a few, she cheerfully admits - will stand in line with an army of potential beauty queens in bikinis, high heels and tiaras, and invite public scrutiny.
She is a good size 16, and possesses the sort of physique that my old PE teacher, harridan that she was, used to applaud as "splendid for the shot putt".
Chloe is quite beautiful, with a wide smile and luminous skin, but not traditional Miss England material.
Predictably, though, most of her competitors are. I ask her what sort of girls she will be up against and she waves an elegantly manicured hand. Beanpoles, you know, size 8s, maybe a few 10s, tall, blonde. That sort of thing."
Frankly, I feel a bit faint just thinking about what awaits her. It's the sort of scenario that would have most of us, of whatever size, running shrieking from the room.
But then Chloe, at 5ft 10in and 38DD, is not most of us, and perhaps we should thank God for that.
I try hard, shame on me, to get her to admit to some deep-seated loathing about her body - but she simply won't do it.
Instead she comes out with lines like "I love my body", which I always thought no real women ever said, unless they were auditioning for a Dove advert.
She will admit to only a few tiny jitters, mostly about that hideous bikini/swimsuit/sarong dilemma.
"Next month we have a day where we have to meet the Press," she says, talking me through the excruciating Miss England selection process.
"We have to stand round in bikinis and whatnot, talking to them. I'm opting to wear a swimsuit for that one, because I'm all about dressing to flatter my figure. And if I wore a bikini I wouldn't do that.
"But when it comes to the actual pageant, I am going to wear a bikini.
"I don't want to walk out there and have people say, 'she's not confident about her body,' because I am."
However, with both swimsuit and bikini, she will wear a sarong. Because, even though she is a wannabe beauty queen, she's not daft.
"If I was on the beach, say, I'd run around in a bikini on its own, no problem. What's to be ashamed of? ""But at the end of the day, I want to win. So I have to do all I can to give myself the best chance. So a sarong it will be!"
When Chloe secured her place in the Miss England final last week, by being crowned Miss Surrey, it sparked something of a media furore.
You might imagine that we wouldn't be shocked to learn anything about wannabe Miss Whatevers these days.
Over the years, scandal has stalked beauty pageants. Beauty queens have turned out to be single mothers, porn stars, even men, for goodness sake.
But this was something else.
Not that Chloe uses the F word. In our interview the word "fat" never passes her lips.
"It's because I'm not," she explains. "I'm curvy, big, plus-size, if you must, but I don't like that either because I'm actually an average size.
"Fat means someone who is obese, who doesn't take care of themselves, who never does any exercise and lies around all day, being a slob. I take care of myself.
"The only thing that is different about me is that I refuse to starve myself to turn my body into something it was never meant to be."
In truth, she's annoyed that the media coverage has not been all positive.
"Most people have been lovely, saying, 'You go, girl', but some people have been sniping about how it isn't a good thing that I'm in this competition.
"That makes me very cross. The whole thing about me being here is that I want to show other teenagers, younger than me, that it's OK to be a bit curvy, because you can still be beautiful.
"If they read people slagging me off, they'll think it isn't OK, that to look like the girls in the magazines they have to starve themselves. "All I was wanting to do, by entering this pageant in the first place, was to send a message out to young girls that it is fine not to be a size zero."

Here is my 2 cents. Why is it that because someone is out of the norm that they can't be considered to be a beauty queen. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Why is it that this continues to be the same issue over and over and over again. Get over it people. There are beautiful Phat people in the world and for all I know you may be one of them. Look in the mirror first and if you think of yourself to be any less than a Phat beauty queen or king then you need to re-examine yourself.