A mother wants to represent all women of all backgrounds in a special beauty pageant in the US this month.
Anouska Black, 33, has chosen to participate in Royal International Miss Pageant in Orlando, Florida, because it doesn’t on things like age, size, height, marital status, whereas other contests, including Miss World, have strict entry regulations.
The mum, who was crowned the first Ms Northern Ireland last year, said: “The Royal International Miss system is completely different than the few other systems held here.
“I am 33-years-old, a mother and student, I am 5ft 7 and a plus-size model, not what you may think of when you think of a beauty queen representing her country.
“There is no swimwear round, plenty of optional competitions to enter such as talent, national costume etc, with the main competition being held over a week with interviews, stage work and presence being considered.
“You can be married, you can be divorced, you can have kids, there are no rules with regards to that in comparison to Miss World where you can’t be married, you can’t have children, you have to be a certain age.
“This one doesn’t have an upper age limit so there are women in my category in their 50s and 60s. Last year one of the oldest contestants was almost 60 and she placed in the top five, so it really goes to show that it doesn’t discriminate.”
Anouska, a student from Dollingstown, Northern Ireland, wants women to recognise beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.
She continued: “Beauty to me doesn’t come in a one size fits all package, the idea that you have to be a size 6 or 8, or you have to be a certain height and really skinny or slender or athletic, that doesn’t define who you are.
“I have been that girl, I have been tiny and now I’m a lot curvier due to my meds and my condition and everything but I haven’t changed as a person.
“So to think that I would be disqualified in a lot of other systems just because of the size label on my clothes or because of my height, which is something you can’t change your height, so to be discriminated against because of something you can’t change just doesn’t sit well with me.”
The pageant runs from from July 10 to 18.